Talk about New Year’s resolutions, I finally made one that I committed myself to seeing through, and guess what guys? I saw it through and reached my goal, with flying colors I might add! Of course, you already know, the journey consisted of some splitting migraines, long endless nights, dragged out quiet days, and more than a pinch of the wonderful hormones. Being pregnant was quite the ride and I am happy to now say, I got to my light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel ya’ll!
First, I had to make the decision to myself that I was prepared to go on such ajourney to begin with, which involved some serious reflecting time with myself. It’s an amazing change of perspective when a woman decides to make that leap; a leap into the unknown realm of motherhood, a scary yet very beautiful leap into the nature of creation. It was not easy to confidently take the next step in my life. It required me to really consider all that I had learned at AWiB, as far as my femininity goes. Everything I learned from all the self-development classes I attended on those Saturdays came in handy, preparing me beyond what I could have imagined I could achieve.
I live for,
That rare moment when you instantly connect with someone through
The grip of genuineness that strips you both of preconceptions
Stripping each other of stereotypical connotations
eroding in a silent inflation of candid injections
making way for deeper exchanges
“When you hit the nose, the eye cries.”
~ Amharic Proverb
My daughter and I went to Switzerland to visit with a friend about two years ago. Walking around, we reached a place where we saw a statue of a broken chair in front of the UN office. We asked what that was about and learned that “The Broken Chair” is a monumental sculpture in wood constructed of 5.5 tons of wood and is 12 metres high.
The sculpture was erected by Handicap International in front of the main entrance of the United Nations, where it was intended to remain for three months, until the signing of the Ottawa Treaty in December 1997 in Ottawa. Following ratification by 40 countries, the Treaty became effective as an instrument of international law on 1 March 1999.
Recently, a friend of mine sent me a link to an essay on feminist parenting by the excellent Chimamanda Ngozi Aditchie (1). The piece impressed me so much that we had it sent out as reading to the Setaweet mailing list and it came up on the next discussion of the Setaweet Circle which coincidentally focused on the topic of 'Being a Mother and a Feminist.' A writer leaves her mark on the mind of her reader when she strikes a nerve, when a certain combination of words hit a chord that chimes long after. I keep thinking of a phrase from that essay, addressed by Aditchie to her friend who had recently become a mother and had asked Aditchie for advice on raising a strong daughter. Aditchie states, "The first is your premise, the solid unbending belief that you start off with. What is your premise? Your feminist premise should be: I matter. I matter equally. Not ‘if only.’ Not ‘as long as.’ I matter equally. Full stop."
I haven't parented like I matter equally. I have given my five-year old daughter, and my three-year old son, everything I have. I think nothing of going to the Pediatrician twice a week to get every cough checked out but my own asthma would some times flare and clear, unattended. I still carry my son on my hip because he likes it even though my back never healed from bringing him into the world and I often ache afterwards. If we eat out, I will order what they like and finish that off as I hate to waste food. Until recently, I could have counted on one hand the number of nights I slept through the night since my son was born.
During such complex times, happening at every level of our lives, how can we respond to complexity, go beyond our challenges, and ‘be bigger than the biggest disturbance’?
When you noticed that the rear view mirror of my car was broken, you asked, kindly, 'Mama, can I fix it?' And when you noticed after a few weeks that the said mirror was fixed, albeit badly, you exclaimed triumphantly, 'Mama, I fixed it!' The world is that simple for you. There is no problem that is too big for you to handle. Life can be hard but you pay it no mind. We have shielded you from harm all your life so you are not afraid of anything. You walk up to strangers to greet them with energy that surprises them and if I let you, you would kiss stray dogs.
Three whole years on this earth, and you, my son, have made every day count. You make me ridiculously happy but you make me work for it. We have had a few challenging days over the last year, haven't we? There was that difficult night at the hospital where your grandmother cried to see you so small on the big grown-up bed but a mere 24-hours later, she was running after you as you took off on a run in the hospital corridor, your illness long behind you. You are strong, and your bubbling joy - laughter like sudden Kiremt rain - is larger than your tantrums.