Friday, January 11, 2013

ENJOY YOUR NOW....you will miss it. by ENA OFUGARA

 Can you imagine as a sperm wishing if only you could fertilize that egg, totally disatisfied with being in the scrotum. And when your mother obliged your dad, can you imagine how fast you swam beating billions of others to that egg.

And then you find that you are in a strange place and your freedom as a swimmer is shackled by a fallopian tube that forces you to eat stuff that made you grow bigger and you swore to be there for nine months only. And as soon as it was time, you smashed the "water" and forced your head though that tiny expanding hole and you came out to so much noise and strange faces and a weather so much less comforting than the wet warmth of the womb and then you weep and as you weep, every one smiles in joy and you are handed to strangers.

Oh how you hated the carrying. How you hated not being able to move and so you started trying to crawl and walk. Yes, you must be able to move on your own like the people milling around you. So you learnt to walk and then you find that your mommy that was so willing to carry you around makes you walk beside her in malls even when you are tired and needing to be held.

Then you see books and try to tear them enjoying the sound of the paper as you bite and even eat it. Quickly it is snatched from your grasp and you see that others stare at it and it makes meaning to them and you swear to yourself to be able to make meaning of those little letters on the white sheet. So you learn A is for apple B is for boy and then you find as know it the more, the more they thrust new combinations before you and you are expected to read SHOKOLOKOBANGOSHE and if you are unable to, mommy and daddy frown.

You are handed to strangers to teach you better and sometimes they scream and you see so many others like you and you are no longer in the warm comfort of your house but in a kindergarten somewhere. Then you see others bigger kids in primary school with lunch boxes and water cans. You wish to be like them and indeed you become one.

Here you find you are actually spanked by your teachers and sent on errands. You are treated as a kid and given bedtimes and you swear to become a teenager and be able to stay away from home like your elder sister. You see her buying tampons and growing boobs and all the boys in the yard are all about her and buying her gifts. Suddenly your Barbie Doll is no longer good enough and you become ashamed of it...that Barbie doll you used to learn how to plait "akara hairstyle" is now a "childish thing" and you sneak and use your elder sisters make up.

And then at thirteen you see the first drops of blood. The first sign of boobs sprouting and indeed the boys begin to notice you. The letters come. "Oh my beautiful angel with eyes like two stars from the distant galaxies" and it begins to annoy you. You can no longer freely hang with Emma your childhood friend without him trying to kiss you. You are made to sit in a proper way, talk like a girl and you can no longer hold a conversation with a boy eye to eye as gravity pulls his eyes down to you boobs.

Your dad becomes over-protective. Your mom would no longer let you go visiting and you wish to be far away from home and the University is the best escape and so you read...read really hard and you indeed get admitted.

Then you miss home. The freedom isn't what you thought it would be. Now you have to manage the money yourself and when broke you are tempted to go with your friends to see that "aristo". The courses are so tasking and you just want to get out of the university. The "Alutas" begin to annoy you. The strikes or lack of it if in a private university. Even the parents can't seem to give you enough money and so you just want to graduate and earn money for yourself.

Indeed your wish to wear the NYSC khakis is granted and you get your primary assignment...in Akure and you get angry because you wanted Lagos. Akure is too quiet. And you just wish the stupid NYSC would end. In the university you made some real lifelong friends now you have been separated from them. The beauty and playfulness of your hostel mates who are sure candidates for ARO MENTAL HOSPITAL is exchanged with teaching some Yoruba children who hardly can speak English, Literature in English. And you just want it to end.

You are tired of these boys breaking your heart and unready to marry. You want a home of your own straight from service. Okay... a good job then a "Mr Right" After a few frustrating months,you get the job. You are a single lady with all the freedom and money but you want a man. It all means nothing to you as "all your friends are married" forgeting that in fact, not all are married.

The parents and everyone bring their own form of pressure and nudging. You have to find a man and indeed you do and you plan a wedding. The pastor comes and blesses the marriage in front of hundreds and you are home with this man. Yes you wanted the marriage so much yet now you really hate that you are married quite often. You find you still like Emeka but can no longer take his calls. You can no longer hang with friends as you used to. Even if your husband is a very liberal man, once you are with males, people ask you while staring at the man "what of your oga? hope he dey fine?"

And then the new pressure for a baby. And you fast and pray and "cry unto the lord for the fruit of the womb" And God grants it and one two three you make them and you look at your body and the firmness in your boobs is gone. Your belly is no longer flat and marks crisscross it. You are kept awake at night and "mommy this, mommy that" is all you hear all day. Your only stress relief now seems to be watching Tonto Dikeh and love-hating her for the freedom she has as a spinster. You even begin to remember the days you and your husband used to walk the house naked without the children and you pray they grow up quick so you and your husband can be home alone again.

And indeed the children grow up and are scattered all over the planet as doctors, lawyers, engineers, nurses. You find you miss their troubles. You pay visits to their houses now that they have homes of their own. But you know being with them for a month is a lot of load on them. Yes they love you and the kids love "grand ma" but you cannot stay. You must go back and they will come visiting at Christmas. The church activities are now what fills your day.

The kids you wished left the house have indeed left. The bones are no longer what they used to be. It takes you three times as long to get up and move. Everyone treats you with respect and care but you know you are no longer the lady you used to be.

Then on that rocking chair you begin to reminisce. You realize that menstruation is indeed something...You wish it as a child, then as you a young girl you cry when you "miss" it praying it is late and not that you are pregnant and as a woman without a child, seeing it bring tears because you know you have to try all over again. You shake your head knowing menopause has stopped that drama for you. Then you shake your head again.

Yes you should have enjoyed your childhood better. You should have held on to your Barbie doll much longer; You should have gloried in your beauty as a young teen; You should have enjoyed every stress piled by the University professors; You should have enjoyed dating and all the heartbreaks instead of crying for a husband; You should have enjoyed the times God gave you before he opened your womb....that time you cried for a baby; You should have enjoyed every diaper change and silly cry, and bad report card with an F and plastered knee and stubbornness of your children.

So like Horace admonished, I say "Carpe Diem" seize, grab, eat, enjoy the moment. Mentally reread and interpret your present moment and situation. try and enjoy it as best you can. and yes indeed YOU WILL LOOK BACK AND MISS IT... yes this situation you think is bad now, you will look back and miss it