As I turned the pages of the book called ‘LIFE,’ I wondered what life had to offerand what it had offered, so far. Chapter one of the book remains untold……the time of conception until the time of birth. I assume it would be the same for him, her, you and me. The difference would only be parentage and the place, time and year of birth. Some of us arrived by natural birth whereas others arrived by assisted birth. I can’t remember the first rays of light that illuminated my world or the first touch of the human hand on my back as I screamed for the first breathe of air. All I treasured was the warmth of my mother who stroked and cradled me in her arms. At each cry, I remembered her attending to my beck and call and fussing all over me to see that I was fed and made comfortable. With each tick of the clock, I was moving forward, taking each step in development as a learning experience and a lesson in life. Soon I was crawling, sitting, standing and then toddling. Learning was hard work but not without its merits. I remember my father’s praises when I achieved something and his pats of approval as he guided me through passages I feared to tread. I heard that my first birth anniversary was a great occasion. Relatives and friends bestowed gifts and well wishes on me and one of my photos taken on that day was framed and hung up on the wall for remembrance.
As I flipped through the pages of ‘LIFE,’ I saw myself changing in shape, form and size while my experiences gradually overturned childhood innocence and ignorance with rational and critical thinkingas maturity progressed. The transformation was irreversible and unavoidable. Every day was a new awakening with its excitement because there was so much to explore and learn. I wondered why the sky was blue and the grass was green. I wondered too why the sun shone for part of the day and disappeared as the birds returned to their nests. I kept questioning and demanding answers until I learned to read and write. Then I became independent to learn on my own with guidance from my school teachers. Schooling was not without its ups and downs. Homework and examinations took their toll. Peer pressure too began to loom over me as I wanted to be accepted. At times rejection and a feeling of hopelessness robbed happiness from my life. I cried in silence keeping deep secrets within me waiting to explode. But I controlled all my passions and desires so as to prevent anything untoward happening in the family.
My mother had other children and she was pressured with a lot of housework. I was no more the centre of attraction and concern. In fact, I did what I could to shoulder some of her responsibilities and left much of my own worries and dissatisfaction to the wind. With time, I realised I was attaining womanhood and slowly some of my earlier pastimes and childhood games and retreats became unimportant. I spent more time in personal improvement such as maintaining my ideal weight and improving the way I appeared. I wished I had more money to spend on clothes, toiletries and diet programmes. Anyway, I made do with what I could have and asked for nothing more. I thanked God for my good complexion but was always unhappy with my height. I was short!!!! I couldn’t do anything about it, except wear shoes with heals that made me appear taller. I compared myself with my peers and sometimes felt ashamed of my weaknesses and lacks. Though academically I was good, I was not the best and in appearance too there were those who outshone me. I was a disaster!!! There was no hope for me and my future appeared bleak….
Teenage years fleeted like a dream, with little time for leisure or rest. I had to juggle household chores with schoolwork and examinations. Being the second child and the first daughter, in a family of eight siblings, there were demands on me to perform well in whatever I did. I had to set an example for my younger siblings to follow. At times, I had to play roles beyond my age, for my younger siblings looked up to me as a mother figure. There were times when I felt that life was not worth living, especially when I was pressurised. But on the other hand, I felt that God puts obstacles in front of us and we had to make the right choices and moves. I had to pass God’s test and should not allow trials and tribulations to lower my dignity and strength. Today, I feel great for making the right choices and moves and I feel that I have passed some hurdles without a fall!!!!!
With the end of schooling, I entered University and that phase of my life too had its choices. I met men and women from all corners of the world. My mind began to experience a new beginning. The world is to be explored not only physically but mentally as well. I felt like a new person in a new world waiting to unfold. I fell in and out of love, not only with people but with the surroundings. Upon graduation, a new direction in life had to begin. I thought of taking up teaching as a career and hence I am still teaching today. But times have changed. Teachers no longer command the respect they used to, today. However, I still honour the profession for its nobility and its contribution to society. Hence I harbour no regrets for the choice I had made many years ago.
I met the man of my dreams while teaching and after a couple of years decided to tie the knot. We now have a daughter whom we cherish and love deeply. Now our attention is all centred on her and her future. No doubt, we still have our good times and bad ones but there is nothing much to complain. My husband had to undergo a heart bypass surgery and I almost died from a severe asthmatic attack but with God’s grace I still have a few empty pages in my book of LIFE to unfold. I hope I will be able to pen wonderful happenings in the pages to come and that its ending would be worthwhile remembering and entering into the annals of future generations to be cherished and honoured. Till then, I pray that God gives me the patience and strength to endure the pain and suffering that accompanies the wonderful world of ‘LIFE.’