Friday, March 14, 2014

The Reneeissance

My blog title Reneeissance is a portmanteau of my name Renee, and the word renaissance both of which carry the same meaning - Rebirth. Two words with the same meaning put together to form one word - I couldn’t stress the point more if I tried. This is the place where I manage to undergo several resuscitations. Where my thoughts are regurgitated to a point of cognizance, my attitude towards life reconsidered, my role as a mother reevaluated. My whole being; who I am (lover, sister, daughter, employee), what I believe in...all go through some form of reinvention from time to time. That is what life is about, isn’t it?

There comes a time in life therefore, when you take a pause from the daily hustles of life to ask yourself; what was I put on this earth to do? Why am I here? What is my purpose in this life? I have been asking myself such questions lately. Though the answers are not forthcoming yet, I know for a fact that I am not the same person I used to be. That I have undergone a reneeissance is in no doubt. If you hadn’t caught on already, then this blog post was the adumbration (I finally get to use that word!)

Don’t go getting confused now; I am still Hailey and Heidi’s mother. Still MD’s wife. Still D.R.E (You know what I mean) But lately, I feel like that is not all. I believe there is more. I am Mr & Mrs Murrey’s daughter, my siblings’ sister. I am Renee.

But still, there is more!

What is my destiny?

Why am I here?





All these questions seek to be answered. I know for a fact that I will be restless until I find those answers. I am restless right now.

Have you ever had that feeling that someone was standing outside your door even before you saw them? Have you waited and anticipated a knock on the door and by some miracle or something, the knock came? Sometimes you hear approaching footsteps before the knock. Sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you just feel someone or something approaching, and you know that they will be knocking on your door any minute. True to your suspicions, you get the anticipated knock!

And then it is up to you to open the door.

Or not.

Should you choose not to open the door, you maintain your status quo. You hang onto your comfort zone. Everything remains the way it has been; familiar, routine, predictable, safe. Your life does not get interrupted by the ‘intruder’. Maybe that is how you prefer it?

Should you open the door, you open yourself to possibilities. You forego your comfort zone for the unknown. It exposes you. Builds you. Challenges you. Pushes you to the limit even. The ‘intruder’ could make demands that might inconvenience you. Either way, once you open that door you will never be the same again! You will say goodbye status quo and hello joie de vivre!

I am in that place where I just heard the footsteps outside my door. I knew the knock was coming even before I heard it. The knock came and I am now heading towards the door. You know me, I have to open the door! See what’s out there. Something bigger than me is urging me to leave my comfort zone and see myself for who I really am. For what I am meant to be!

When I open the door, then I will get the rest of the answers to the why? When? How? Where?

It will all make sense then.

Fear is what stops many people from opening that door. Fear of the unknown. Fear that you will not be able to deal with what stands out there. Fear that you will face the challenge and fail.

Am I afraid?

Of course I am! But I will not give fear a chance. I will not let fear dictate how I live my life. So when I ask: What if I fail? I will counter that question with; What if I succeed beyond my wildest imagination? What if I don’t like what’s out there? But what if I finally get something I have wanted all my life? What if the challenge is too much for me to take on? BUT what if I finally get to live the life of my dreams?

What if?

I think the heavens prepared me for this even before I ever thought of it. See, I took the rocking chair test and I finally got the courage to give notice of resignation from my current job. What is it they say: When you want new things to come into your life, you have to make room for them.

I am making room for my family. I am making room for my creativity. I am making room for growth. I am making room for wisdom. I am making room for love.

I am quitting my job because the rocking chair gave me a grasp of what is important in my life right now.

I’m quitting because you really only live once.

Because my dreams are valid.

I am leaving behind the old. I am reinventing myself. I am undergoing a rebirth.

This is THE Reneeissance.

Wish me luck!

Friday, March 7, 2014

We almost didn’t cry

There is a place Heidi escapes to when she needs soothing or when she is sleepy. She finds that place as soon as she puts her index finger in her mouth and sucks on it as she runs her other hand on any nearby fabric.

I haven’t told you about Heidi’s first day at school have I? Alrighty then, there’ll be no further ado...

Date: Monday 6th January, 2014. Place: Nairobi, Kenya.  

I wake up at 5am as usual and I sensed, even before dawn broke, that it would be a long day.

The day started at a slow pace with me taking a slow shower “So much time in my hands,” I foolishly thought. I went to the kitchen to prepare tea then heated the kid’s bathing water before ransacking their wardrobe for their uniforms.

All set, I woke up Heidi - better to start with the youngest, right? Wrong! Let’s just say that this is where the rush officially began! Heidi did not wonder why I woke her up early because she knew from the previous day that today was D-day. Waking her up was not a problem. The problem was that she was too excited, therefore playful and fidgety. Bathing an excited child! The rocket science of bathing and dressing an excited child! Has any of you ever tried it? It is messy and exhausting. It involves spillage...lots of it. It requires patience (loads and loads of patience!) and excellent persuasion skills.

I bathed Heidi for what seemed like hours and had trouble applying Vaseline on her. She giggled at every touch “You’re tickling me!” she shrieked. I swear I wasn’t! Tickling her was the furthest thing from my mind. She wouldn’t stop laughing though. She was slow in putting up her arms as I passed the dress over her head. I pleaded, cajoled and begged her to cooperate. I couldn’t blame her - it was after all her first day of school!

I was exhausted even before I started on Hailey. Lucky for me, Hailey was more cooperative and I finished with her in record time. Breakfast out of the way, we made for the door. Rushing like mad!

No sooner had we gone outside the gate, than Heidi’s shoe snapped and the strap came off. Murphy’s law was at work! We had to rush back to the house to get a different pair.

By this time, we were at the epitome of the rush. The eye of the storm - so to speak. The rush was on us like white on rice. We practically ran to the school and funny thing is that the girls enjoyed the run. I think they enjoyed watching me run more than anything else.

You know about school opening days and queues right? They sorta go together like githeri and avocado :-)  (I am writing this post over lunch hour so bear with me) We reach Hailey’s primary school section and there is a queue from here to theeeeereee! The genius in me reasons that we should start with Heidi’s baby class section. I asked Hailey to wait for me at their registration hall as I rushed to take Heidi to her class.

Heidi’s section was also packed. What’s worse is that here, the children are yelling for their mommies and so progress is at a snail’s pace! I decide to stick it out all the same. We got to queuing and our patience eventually paid off. Soon, Heidi and I were strutting from the administration office to her allocated class to meet her new teacher. I crossed my fingers, hoping she wouldn’t cry. She didn’t. There was no sign of a tear. I cautiously bid her farewell and seeing how well she was taking it all, I sprinted to the primary section to find Hailey.

I found Hailey. A different Hailey than I remembered. She was seated with her new friends, chatting away quietly. Happily. No worry or anxiety in her face. I looked at her and it hit me! Like a thunderbolt it hit me: My girl is all grown up! I had never seen her act so mature and independent! Some sort of epiphany was happening; I don’t know whether the sharp contrast between the primary and baby class sections exaggerated things a bit but it was enough to stop me on my tracks. Hailey smiled and waved at me when she saw me approaching.

I really don’t know what I expected. I expected to find her anxious, for her to run to meet me and ask me why I took too long to get back. I expected some kind of childlike reaction, you know? Not the calm, waving, smiling, chatting-quietly young girl I found seated, surrounded by a bunch of pupils. I had to take a moment to take it all in.

Sometimes you think you are watching them as they grow only to realize that they’ve been growing, but you haven’t been watching!

After Hailey’s registration, I decided to pass by Heidi’s class to check on her one last time. You know, see if she is getting along fine with the other kids. I am utterly ashamed to announce at this point that this takes the biscuit for being the biggest mistake of the day, on my part.

Heidi was doing fine alright. Until she saw me. “MUMMY! She was so excited to see me back. “Twende?” she asked. The clever girl thought that 20 minutes of class was enough and it was time to leave!

She came to where I stood talking to her teacher and held onto the hem of my dress. Her index finger swiftly found its way to her mouth. When I tried to convince her to take a seat next to the other kids, she shook her head vigorously. This was promptly followed by frowning. Then the creasing of her face. And then...SWASH! She turned on the waterworks! Seeing my helplessness, her teacher carried her and tried to distract her. At that point I was dying to sweep her in my arms and carry her with me.

When my child cries, I cry with her. She screams and gets tears smeared all over her face coupled with a running nose to boot. Her crying is evident, for all to see that she is unhappy. When this happens, I cry too. Inwardly. Discretely. I cry with my heart. Until her tears stop, only then can my tears dry up as well.

Heidi and I both needed to grow out of this interdependence. So I walked away with tears in my heart. I too was yelling and screaming. I was just as afraid as Heidi was. While she wondered how she’d get through the day without mummy, I thought “Will my precious cope with the new environment, the new faces?”

So yeah. We cried. We yelled. And screamed. But we braved day number one like champs! And now we are doing much better. We almost didn’t cry. Almost. You should be proud of us.