Monday, September 8, 2014

The Reward

We are doing breakfast, my sisters and I. My dad did something interesting with our names. He named his first two daughter names beginning with (I), the last two he gave names starting with (V) then for the middle daughter, who sits smack in the middle of the I’s and the V’s he distinguishingly gave a name starting with ‘R’. Granted, this must have been a coincidence since there is no way he could have known beforehand that he would have five girls in succession. But still, the coincidence is uncanny.

Breakfast it is, at my sister’s place. Now such gatherings are normally very interesting because there is laughter, there is madness then there are the arguments. Part of the fun of having siblings is for the fights right?

I see how Hailey and Heidi do it. One day they are the best of buddies, throwing in the ‘sister’ word here and there in their sentences. “Mum, sister yangu anataka maji ya kunywa” Heidi says as she comes to fetch drinking water for Hailey. Or Hailey insists on giving Heidi a piggyback ride, and when I try to warn her that they might both fall down, Hailey reminds me “Si Heidi ni sister yangu?” – Like that has anything to do with anything. On other days however, the sisterhood is thrown out the window and they scratch each other’s faces, and a stern “Hauna miguu?” is shot when one asks the other to bring her something. That is what siblingry (if such a word exists) is all about: Fighting with love.

Ever watched the series Brothers and Sisters? You get to witness typical sibling behavior in this series; the gossiping of a sibling by the others to a point that it finally reaches the gossipee and all hell breaks loose; the formation of alliances against one common ‘enemy’; the silent treatment of yet another sibling for a reason they have no clue about, and so on. I seriously need to catch up on this series from season 4 onwards.

This post is going somewhere, I promise.

Breakfast at my sister’s. I am charged with preparing Sandwiches.  All five of us have a thing about well cooked, adequately spiced (masala) tea that has enough milk. I therefore steered away from tea preparation because the pressure my friend. The pressure! No, sandwiches were much safer. Every time we visit each other, we  prepare tea with precision. We just don’t take kindly to mediocre tea. You will be forgiven for forgetting to add the key ingredient to your recipe; say, pilau masala to your pilau, but not for serving ill-brewed tea. Be forewarned.

I swear this post is not about tea. Nor is it about food.

So, breakfast. Me, sandwiches. Others prepare sausages. A brave soul takes on the tea while my older sister is busy attending to her 7month old baby. We are chatting about the most recent series. In between this flurry of activities, we mention the series Scandal. Most of us agree that it ain’t all that.  Olivia pope? Meh! There is absolutely nothing phenomenal about Olivia pope. We decide.

“Which series is that again?” my eldest sister asks

“Scandal” all of us reply

She shrugs “I don’t know about movies or series anymore. I don’t watch them”

We all nod in understanding. We all assumed that her little boy is taking most of her time. I remember how it took a while with Hailey and Heidi for my life to become ‘normal’ again. It took months to finally get some alone time or even manage a trip to the hairdresser’s. Between her job and taking care of the baby, we understood how hard it was to squeeze in a few hours of TV.

“But you need to grab some ‘me’ time whenever you get the chance.”  we offered our advice.

To which she said “No. I wouldn’t do that”

“Why?” we were curious.

“Not now. Maybe a year from now. I don’t know… I consider it as rewarding myself for a task I haven’t even completed yet. ” she replied.

 “Wow!” “Deep!” “Aaaw!” we all said in unison.

 “See, I look forward to his first birthday. In fact, his first birthday will not be about him. His first birthday will be about me. I will then reward myself. But not now” she continued

I had a tear in my eye which I swiftly wiped away.

That was the most beautiful thing I heard someone saying that day.

That was a mother putting a part of her life on hold to deliberately focus on her young son. I found that utterly profound. I Still do.

He is a beautiful boy, my nephew. He is a happy child. When he grows up, I will rat on her mother. I will tell him what his mother did for him. How she took care of him meticulously.

Make no mistake; Mothers. Are. Awesome!

Have an Awesome Week?