Do you have those days when you wake up and you’re just looking for feels? You want to watch or read something that will tug at your heartstrings and pierce through your deepest emotions. Remind you of your humanity. That’s me, ever so often. My guilty pleasure is sad movies which star a kid as the lead. Pay It Forward, The Lion King and recently I added Kubo and the Two Strings to that list. I like sappy things because a lot of sappy shows are extremely relatable to me. They are more than just an hour and a half of adrenaline or thrill. These shows trigger me to think about myself in depth. About my relationship with others. About my relationship with my folks.
Parents are made of some really strong stuff. I find being a mid-twenty-year-old adult hard enough as it is right now, then I imagine if I was responsible for another human. Now that’s a full time job. I applaud all parents, I really do. Sometimes I look back on my most ungrateful moments; my most disrespectful, some of the unnecessary battles I picked with my old man and I just wonder if he was made up purely of an armour of patience.
I remember in the year 2003 when my dad ventured into a new career, how he had this whole plan panned out. He mapped out everything: where we would move to; where he would send his kids to school; the business he would take up etc. Looking back, I can’t help but quote Woody Allen: If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans; and as we may have it, things didn’t go exactly as planned. I was transferred to a boarding school in Nairobi that would send us home every public holiday -even Moi Day- and at any other time they deemed fit. Be it midterm, the Agricultural Shows, KCPE among other impromptu closing days. My father had relocated to Meru and he found this all too stressful. I personally didn’t understand it then, but I understand it now, years later. At any point of any day, you might receive a phone call prompting you to pick your child from school. Not a phone call from the school but from a parent that I had to beg to call my father for me (the Administration Block guys apparently did not make phone calls on behalf of boarders). By the time we closed for the April holiday, my father had had it. So as any wise parent would do, he opted to transfer me to another school.
I. Had. A. Fit.! What?!! I was so upset that just as I was getting to know the ropes of the new environment and bonding with new friends, I was suddenly being forced to switch schools – again. For 2 weeks straight, I would wake up in the middle of the night and knock on my father’s door. I would knock until I heard him grunt a response. Then I would dive into this whole rant on how he was disrupting my life and how he was unfair and inconsiderate. I remember I said firmly how I wouldn’t go to that school. I swore it! For two weeks I screamed through the door and for those two weeks the poor man did not sleep peacefully. Needless to say, I of course ended up attending the new school which I can admit is to date the best learning institution I’ve ever attended; and this is also where I met my closest friends (hey guys). My Papa’s paternal judgement was right; the man had called it.
Fast-forward to four years later. My father and I were having a row. It was pretty much the most heated argument I‘ve ever had with my pops. It was a battle based on grades and laziness and he compared me to another kid who always came out as the ‘perfect child’; perfect grades, helps at home, not interested in boys, goes to church and so on and so forth. She was a sweet child, but ugh who enjoys being compared to someone else? More so as an adolescent… yelp. The argument ended with me yelling at him, saying how he should go on and adopt her and then later storming out of the living room. It was on that day that I really reflected on how bad my behavior was, towards a man who has sacrificed his own happiness for me. The profanities I had used were really unnecessary. Actually, the whole argument was unnecessary. I still believe his judgment was wrong, and it hurt my feelings, but it also occurred to me that he is a human being, he can be wrong sometimes.
I was reading a romance novel by Mary Balogh a few weeks ago. It was coincidentally just around the time that I was thinking about this post. The main female character had a see-saw relationship with her father. But at the end of the novel, she realized he only always had her best interests in mind. Here is an excerpt from the book:
‘…But parents, she supposed, were not the pinnacles of perfections their children thought and expected them to be. They were humans who usually did the best they could but often made the wrong choices.’
I was intrigued to see my thoughts dancing on the paper right before me. I was in awe of how exactly what you need can be presented to you, exactly when you need it. Deep in thought I felt prompted to create a list of at least 10 things that I learnt from my father, both directly and indirectly:
- Parents are not perfect. They are human beings who have their own lives, shortcomings, egos and emotions. They are sometimes wrong and sometimes (read most times) right. They need love, they are not immune to hurt or illness or the pressures of the world.
- You cannot learn everything from school, just from the classes you attend. In fact, there is an array of skills that you learn exclusively from your social experiences.
- To survive, you need to be ambitious enough to strive for your own goals. A silver platter handed to you could also at any time be pulled away. You also need to find a way to relieve stress that may arise along the way.
- Boys (people) will lie. Don’t let them deter you from being your greatest self. Be wise, prioritize.
- Keep your wits about you, read, add onto your knowledge, use your common sense (which for the most of my teenage life he was convinced I lacked in totality- he wasn’t very wrong, lol).
- Even when you turn the legal age to partake in alcohol, you are really not old enough to drink – until you can afford to buy your own drinks.
- A lot of grief, embarrassment and damage can be spared if you hold your tongue and think before you speak.
- “Women are always crying in movies. Perhaps it is because of the demographical ratio 10:1 (women to men). The competition must be tiring.” – Mberia, B. N. (2009)
- “Your parents (people) are not monumental stones, they won’t be here forever.” – This he actually wrote in a note to one of my sisters.
Parents are capable of making unimaginable sacrifices for the sake of their children. If you pay attention, these stories will be brought to your knowledge without you having to ask. We often may think our folks are too hard on us, that they don’t understand us, that they don’t care. Many times we are far from the truth. We are perhaps the greatest stressors of our parents lives. Most cannot rest if they feel their children are going astray. Even when their children are cast away by society. I do not speak for all parents or children. I will not pretend that this is the case in all relationships. The parental figures in our lives can teach us two things. How to be a parent or how NOT to be a parent. Each story is unique. But each plays an integral role in our lives that we should be grateful for. What are you grateful for?
~Dedicated to BNM & EWM