See the World Through My Eyes

Posts tagged “Marriage

Working Late – Part 1

The clock struck six and Makena heard Dan’s chair move and his shoes shuffle. She tensed and waited for the door to open. The hair on her arms stood stiff and her mind went blank. It’s funny how she had never gotten used to it despite the numerous number of times he did it. Then a familiar knock. Three times and then a slow turning of the knob. She got up from her chair and unbuttoned her blouse and sat on her desk. As she leaned back she felt the warm trickle of her tear racing down to the back of her neck.

“One minute!” she gasped as she quickly snatched some tissue and wiped her face. She didn’t want him to see her crying. She felt horrible but convinced herself it would only take a few minutes.

Dan walked in and without saying a word he locked the door drew the blinds. He then grabbed her by the waist and slid her off the table and turned her to face away from him. He was aggressive. The kind of aggressive displayed by a person taking back property that belongs to him. He unclasped her bra and lifted her skirt almost ripping it along the seams. Using his right foot he kicked her legs apart just above the ankles and pushed her head down on the table like a policeman apprehending a suspect with the intent of finding a concealed weapon. He undid the buckle of his belt as he held her down and dropped his pants this time with his hand tightly gripping the back of her neck.

She felt pain as she felt him enter. More tears. She couldn’t close her eyes while he pushed in roughly. As he grunted and heaved behind her, Makena let her mind wander off by looking at the windows on the building across the road. She watched the people busy moving about their offices as they worked overtime to meet their deadlines. It was interesting how everyone was so engrossed in their tasks that there was definitely no chance that they would look her way.

Her mind wandered off to her husband and kids. How earlier in the morning they all had breakfast in the master bed and laughed their hardest when the youngest child kept missing her mouth as she tried to feed herself like the rest of the family. She made a mess and everyone was happy. The parents had been working hard lately and the kids were ecstatic to have a much needed but rare unwinding occasion as a family. She recalled how her husband dropped her off at work as he started his Uber shift. He was really trying and the fact that he had had better days made her love him more for not giving in to frustration. The last couple of years had been tough financially and both man and wife had to make it work with their meagre incomes.

Makena felt him shake like an old car running out of fuel. He let off a deep guttural sound as his grip tightened on her hips. She could smell his cigarette breath as he contorted forward on her back. He was sweating and for a moment it felt like leaning on a wall of slime in a dirty, humid bathroom. She felt sick, ashamed and worthless. Moreso because it was Valentine’s day and she would later have to pretend to be horny for her husband.

Her boss pulled up his pants and tidied up his shirt. He pulled out his wallet and slipped her two one thousand shilling notes.

“Now you can’t say I didn’t give you a Valentines day gift,” Dan said in a low voice as he walked out, “And don’t come in late tomorrow”.

She could feel the triumph in his voice and how confident he was that this arrangement was permanent and that she had no power to stop it. More tears.

As she cleaned up and put on makeup she couldn’t help but acknowledge the hopeless emptiness she felt. She picked up her back and hurried out to the elevator. She took in three breaths of air and forced a smile as the doors slid open.

She desperately wanted it to stop but she couldn’t figure out how. She badly needed this job and since this had happened in her two previous workplaces, she had accepted that it is normal. Most of her friends were going through the same experience and even though this didn’t make her feel any better, it added further to the hollowness she felt in her being.

As she sat in the bus on her way home she couldn’t stop tidying her blouse and skirt. She felt uncomfortable and insecure as if everyone around her knew what she had been doing a few minutes before. Across from where she sat was a pregnant woman holding her bump as the bus hurtled down Valley Road towards the city center. Her heart skipped a beat and for a moment she couldn’t breathe. Earlier in the day she had taken a pregnancy test in the ladies bathroom. It came out positive.

•••

This is a #TrueStory dedicated to the women and men in Nairobi who are subjected to sexual coercion every day at their places of work.

 

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Oh This Woman!

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I have always been a spoilt kid. Apart from reading me story books at bed time (oh yes she did until I was 10!) my mother has been the voice in my head all my life. Despite our ups and downs as a family, she has been our rock and the strong glue that holds us together. This woman happens to be a thousand years old in wisdom. She passes wisdom in a way that is funny, reflective and unimposing. I credit her for installing in us this ever present homing instinct that guides us back to consciousness every time we get caught up in life’s complexities. I’ve been in serious trouble a couple of times in my life and it is her words that brought me back. I have deep respect for all mothers and the role they take in shaping who we are. Everyday is Mothers Day.

On Humility
She said “My son, to work is worship God. Even the lowest of jobs has to be done by someone. You were born a prince but also a servant. Let no title be too big for you and let no humble task be too low for you to carry out because humility is an expression of confidence and gratefulness. A humble man is a powerful man. He can stand confidently before Kings and be trusted to lead by the poor”

On Love
She said “Love is first an attraction then a choice. If you find someone you truly love, hold on to them. Love is loyal despite betrayal. Love forgives despite hurt. When you love someone you stand by them unconditionally. Love is what you make it to be. You can be happy if you choose to be happy. You can never be sure of the character of a person you love as it takes time but in the meantime you can trust. But look for a person who loves God because only a person who loves God can truly love another human being. The rest are details. You will fight over the tooth paste tube and the socks you left at the door but you will never fall out of love.”

On Being a Man
She said “A man is only as good as his word. The character of a man is built of his action. A man never complains, he finds solutions. He takes care of those he loves and offers help to those in need. A man is honest and industrious. A man does not give up. A man is not scared to love and to say sorry. In the face of adversity, a man stands his ground. A real man knows that sometimes to win he has to lose. A man is the high priest of the house. A protector and warrior who lays down his life for his family.”

On Industry
She said “As long as you have breath and are of sound mind, God has given you everything you need to succeed. From the deepest holes on the ground come the rarest diamonds. Never work for profit because this type of gain does not last. Work to fulfill your purpose because real wealth comes as a by product of a passion fully lived. Do not spend your gains on eating like a King but spend them on the moments that count. After all they are the most eternal of all investments.”

On Sincerity
She said “To be sincere is to conquer yourself. To conquer yourself is to conquer the world. Know what you like and what you dislike. Know what you want and what you need. Know thyself. Be honest with yourself and you will know the reason why you are here. Be sincere with everyone especially the ones you love. Sincerity is the deepest and most profound expression of love.”

On Frugality
She said “ Son, the pain of work should be a reminder that nothing comes easy. Take care of the little you have. Water it and let it grow but most of all use it wisely. The bible says ‘A fool and his money are soon parted’. Thriftiness shows gratitude and it is the ultimate sign of responsibility. To be frugal is to be the master over money and not a slave to it. Before you spend, think. Do not spend your hard earned money to please others who add no value to your life. Every coin you spend should be an investment. Remember the story of the servants who were given talents?”

On Selflessness
She said “I would be sad if I heard that you did everything just so your own belly would be full. I would be ashamed to hear you saw suffering yet you turned a blind eye when you could have ended it. We are all here to take care of God’s Children. God gives you strength and wealth to take care of others. You my son are just a tool that He uses. You can never be too good to serve others. I love you but I would be proud to hear that you met your last day giving up your life so that another would live. After all, what is it in this world that I cannot give up for you?”

On Devotion
She said “ If I was laying on my death bed today waiting for my last breath, I would only have one instruction to give you. Love God and devote your life to Him and you will receive measure beyond your wildest dreams. It is only a fool that says God  does not exist. There are many questions that make you doubt if He is really there so devote your life to seeking Him. God is not on trial so as to be expected to prove His existence. Pay attention, look close and in your silence you will find Him. I have felt his presence and I have seen his work and I am still in awe of his greatness.

On Dreams
She said “In your time, life will be tough. Misery and hopelessness will be the order of the day. But you my children are special. You have the world under your feet. Write your dreams down and make it a prayer to God to bring them to life. God will grant you the desires of your heart but first you have to be clear of what you want. Dreams do not come to us by chance. They are the distant echo of destiny. It is sad for a man to die without fulfilling his purpose. Let your dreams be devoid of boundaries and let no one tell you that it can’t be done because it hasn’t been done before. Dreams become thoughts and thoughts become things.”

This woman is amazing. 


TO CHEAT OR NOT TO CHEAT?

BY PATRICK WANYOIKE
The last blog post by Michael Ngigi really created a furor and got me thinking. Although the actual blog was not about cheating, many people judged the blog by its title and thus lost a very important message on self-love. Many thought that the author needed some sort of intervention, well if you just read the first few paragraphs and never really bothered to read the whole thing. Cheating it seems, is a very sensitive topic although it’s very prevalent. So this blog post is ACTUALLY about cheating. Let me first reiterate that I am not encouraging anyone to cheat. I thought about this topic and I enlisted quite a number of people who wished to stay anonymous (for obvious reasons) to give their opinions on this topic. What I got back, were a myriad of reasons that was too long to list. They gave reasons for and against cheating; here are some of the reasons they gave as to why people cheat…

1. Boredom
This was the most common reason. Most people felt that once you put time in a relationship, you lose the spark. The chemical high wears off; the sex becomes dull and infrequent. Same position, same person, and only the adrenaline of an affair can bring back those feelings of excitement. Some people just enjoy the thrill of running around and trying not to get caught. Long-term relationships have the annoying habit of making people lazy. They settle and once they do that, boredom sets in and cheating might follow.

Nobody will bring back the spark in your relationship unless you work on it. How about you try investing that time you use to cover your tracks, sneaking around and cheating to go out on a few dates and keep that spark alive? Better yet, get a hobby or work on your bucket list

2. Revenge
So he/she went and cheated on you. You ‘forgave’ them and now it’s payback. You feel betrayed, wounded and want to give them a dose of their own medicine and even the playing field. So what do you do? You go and cheat

People do dumb shit. (Pardon my French) This is one of them. When does the vicious cycle of an eye for an eye end? All this ends up doing is leaving everyone blind.

3. Because They Let You
This was a reason given predominantly by the men who felt that once they cheated, and were forgiven; felt that no matter how many times they did it, they would be forgiven. After all, you did let them get away with it the first time.

Maybe it’s time to take a stand and don’t allow anyone to take advantage of you and your generosity

4. Self-Esteem
Sex can be an instant pick-me-up; that makes women feel sexier, more beautiful and more loved. And if you are ignoring her, not giving her compliments, some other man might be doing just that. For men, who need their ego stroked constantly, nothing does that better than discovering that other women still desire you sexually. And when this happens, sometimes the temptation proves just a little bit too much

Pay attention to her, ask her questions and don’t hold back on compliments — a little flattery goes a long way. And for the ladies, it’s your job to make your man feel like a man. Or someone else will…

5. Exit Strategy
Instead of breaking up with you, they cheat on you. That way they don’t have to deal with the broken relationship, which is much harder to fix. An affair is the easy way out — or at least that’s how they see it.

Don’t be a coward, man up. If you want out of a relationship, say so. Don’t cheat.

6. Its Genetic
A report came out a few years ago that said, “In what is being called a first of its kind study, researchers at Binghamton University, State University of New York (SUNY) have discovered that about half of all people have a gene that makes them more vulnerable to promiscuity and cheating. Those with a certain variant of the dopamine receptor D4 polymorphism — or DRD4 gene — “were more likely to have a history of uncommitted sex, including one-night stands and acts of infidelity,” according to lead investigator Justin Garcia. DRD4 is the “thrill-seeking” gene, also responsible for alcohol and gambling addictions. The gene can influence the brain’s chemistry and subsequently, an individual’s behavior. The desire to cheat or sleep around seems to originate in the brain’s pleasure and reward center, where the “rush” of dopamine motivates those who are vulnerable, the researchers say.

I guess they better come up with a test for this in order we can all get tested. The science is sound but whether it affects you is a totally different matter. Look at the term used “more likely.”

Patrick Wanyoike studies Organic Chemistry at the University of Iowa.

Till Bed Do Us Part

Today’s publication is a sequel to The Bed which remains one of the most read articles in my blog’s short history. A big thank you to the reader that chose to ask my opinion on this issue. I won’t say your name.

I will tell you two storiess. The first is heart breaking while the second is just a natural case of happenstance. We spend a whole lifetime planning and painting fantastic imagery of our future but sometimes [if not always], fate has a different plan. Some call it Murphy’s law. I call it life. One will never be experienced in matters of the heart. The script changes constantly and heartbreak is the constant threat that always lingers in the dark episodes of our existence.

My friend Lilly got married at 25 on a sunny friday morning. It had just rained the previous week and the landscape everywhere looked beautiful and colorful. Her parents were very happy and proud. By then, it was an open secret that Lilly had fought the ‘good fight’ and was now being betrothed a pure and virgin bride. To cap it all off, Sam, her boyfriend of 5 years was also ‘pure’ and free of scandal. If this marriage was a garment, the tag must have read MADE IN HEAVEN on the collar.

You see, they’d both met at church and had similar tastes in almost everything. They both believed in the sanctity of a romantic relationship. They had made a covenant with God, their parents and themselves never to engage in sex before marriage. On this morning of their wedding day, tears rolled down the cheeks of almost all that were present at the plush, well manicured gardens. It was a sweet union. When the minister pronounced them man and wife, they kissed romantically and it was evident they had ran out of breath in the tight grip their love, diligently earned. And as the young maids showered confetti and rice on the love birds, the young ladies present at the wedding fell into a swoon and could not hide their envy. It was beautiful.

It’s been 6 months now and Lilly is crying in the kitchen while making dinner. On the kitchen table lies the lovely red roses that Sam sent to her office earlier during the day. She’s crying because she doesn’t know what to do. Sam has always been a good man. He makes her feel special and Lilly is sure he loves her. But this is not the reason why she is crying. She is sad. There is something about Sam that she can’t get out of her chest. Since they got married, they’ve only had sex 3 times and they both hated it. It was short, painful and devoid of all emotion that should ideally come with making love. Sam preferred to turn of the lights while they were at it and cautioned her against making any noises. Needless to say, the sex was over in the blink of an eye and he was snoring at the far end of the bed in no time. He seemed not interested in making love and this made Lilly feel inadequate and worthless. In the morning’s after, he wouldn’t touch her or kiss her good morning and was out of the house before first light. It felt like she disgusted him after sex.

She feels wasted for all those years she kept herself pure for marriage. According to Sam, sex ‘is not everything’. He prefers to cuddle and watch a movie over a nice meal. What I’m trying to say is, Sam has never had a chance to ‘practice’ and is therefore not confident with himself. He is a proud man and will not pause at the possibility of learning the art of making love. What a classic case of marriage made in heaven and a bed made at the carpenter’s. For now,  Lilly is holding on.

“It’s only been 6 months” she consoles herself. She shudders at the thought of living like this for a lifetime. Meanwhile, onlookers look at Lilly and Sam with envy wishing they too, had a marriage as blissful as this one. They look so cute together! MADE IN HEAVEN.

Meanwhile in downtown Nairobi,there’s a couple fighting at the bus stop. It’s Sharon and George. They call each other names and cuss loudly and in a short while, they are arrested by city council askaris and bundled in a waiting ‘cage van’. They’re charged with disturbing public order and fined a hefty amount each. After working together to contribute the sum, they’re let out in an hour. Once out, they kiss and make up and are laughing in no time. It’s been 10 years on and off in their  relationship so they’re used to this. Marriage is an issue that none of them wishes to discuss. They both believe that once they get married, the fights will get worse and they might end up splitting for good. In their opinion, marriage just complicates things.

Sharon and George have a great sex life. They both love exploring and learning new stuff. Weather in public or private, they show their affection fearlessly and passionately. They’re also addicted to what the new world calls ‘make up sex’. So most of their fights have a happy ending and are therefore petty. They play and live as if it’s always their last day alive.  At the bus stop, they were fighting because a pretty girl had said hi to George and Sharon had a hunch that the two had slept together before. Women can tell these things you know. Other than these ‘small’ misunderstandings every now and then, Sharon and George are generally a happy couple. They could live on sex alone, or so it seems. Each one of them has tried a different dish on several occasions but it seems this one still suffices at the end of the day. A wedding can wait. For now, they can love freely and work on their ‘imperfect’ relationship learning and changing. In the meantime,  the bed is the least of their worries. They’re doing just fine.

These two cases are just a a few that caught my eye. I have also seen many instances where both approaches have worked and the couples have enjoyed long healthy relationships. Most of us have been brought up on rules based on morality and religion but somewhere along the way, we get to realize life is real and very practical.

And finally, there are two people somewhere in the world who feel it is time to make a bold move. Be careful what you wish for. Everything has a price. One big question though; will you shop around and test before you buy or will you buy first and test when you get home? In both cases, the shop DOES not accept returns for goods once sold. Both scenarios have advantages and disadvantages but most of all, they are real. For once I hope you will not base your decision solely on religion or hearsay. For this one, just do you. And as for the guardians of religion and doctrine, maybe it is time you engaged your flock in discussion and reason. I believe more lives can be changed positively this way.

Let it be known that there’s definitely more to a relationship than just sex. There is love, work, money and family to consider too. However I chose to talk about sex because it’s what no one wants to talk about in honesty.

Remember, as you make your bed, so you must lie in it.

Happy Valentine’s Day.


Beware of who you marry….

The first time I met Maurice Matheka I couldn’t help noticing how easily he handled women. He’s one guy who always fascinates me in the way he understands the female psyche. He simply knows what women want. So when time comes for you to have a bridal shower just make sure you call this guy. Trust me. Not that I’ve been to a bridal shower but as a guy, I’ve learnt quite a bit from this brother. Go on, have a read and prove me wrong. I dare you. I think he is one brilliant orator and I hope that one day, I will be great enough to share a stage with him. To my readers, happy year one from A Day in Dog’s Life™. Leggo! – Michael Ngigi, A Day in a Dog’s life™

•••

By Maurice Matheka

Dear Maurice,

Where do I begin?

I am a wife and a mother of 5 children, my youngest is 14 years old. I was married at 22 and have been married for 28 years now. In those 28 years I have been through thick and thin with my husband regardless of what he throws at me I have stood by his side not because of the children but because I married for life, I am a big believer in till death do us part and will stick with it as I am not about to break my vows. Now in regards to my husband he has always been a traditionalist and that is something I have had to adapt to but it was not easy especially during our first 4 years of marriage.

When we met I was a very out going woman with plenty of friends and hobbies, needless to say he stripped me of those pleasures of life. He is a loving man who provides for his family and when it suits him he will treat me like the most special woman but unfortunately that is where the good side ends.  On our fourth year of marriage I came to find that he had an affair with my neighbour’s house help and got her pregnant. She was fired from her work and my husband did his part and decided to support the baby, which he still continues to do to date. I was upset as you can imagine and hated him for a while. I moved out to my friend’s place for 5 weeks but I later forgave him for his adulterous actions. Another part of the saga that annoyed me was that he defended his actions stating that in his culture he is allowed to have multiple wives and that I should not fuss about it because I would always be his first wife. Maurice I painfully took his words and despite the hurt I was determined to maintain my family no matter what.

Maurice asks,

It’s probably an obvious question but did you by any chance identify the kind of man you were dating before you married him; did you sense his traditionalist character?

She replied,

Yes I knew the kind of man he was and still is. I knew about his believes in regards to the family unit. I knew that his extended family led a certain life style where men married more than one wife so in a way I knew it may affect me however I also thought that he would discuss it with me and not impregnate a house help behind my back. I am very well aware that men who practice polygamy will always consult with their existing wife or wives before they introduce another woman to the family I never got that memo. Living with my husband has been an experience and I have learnt a lot about male unorthodox practices and behaviours.

Maurice’s comments,

You have been married long enough to assess your man and you have clearly accepted his character and the actions that come with that character, you also imply you know men pretty well, so at this point I must admit I am puzzled because I haven’t determined what it is you need from me?

She replied,

Maurice to my horror I recently found out from my husband’s close friend that he has 2 more children with the house help. I then visited her at her upcountry home and she confirmed the same. He built her a 3 bedroom house and apparently over the years he has been visiting her and spending weekends with her. In my mind it all added up because I prodded information from her about dates and she confirmed a lot. He supports her and guess what? His family knew about it, and behind my back she was traditionally confirmed as a second wife and life went on as if I never existed.

But here is the icing on the cake. While we were candidly chatting she happened to mention that in 2008 my husband acquired himself a young 19 year old girl from his home area and she has a 2 year old baby. It is alleged that he is in the process of confirming her. She is currently living with her parents but from what I hear he has received blessings to marry her and educate her through her campus years.

Maurice asks,

I must ask, is your husband wealthy? I mean, in this day and age it’s not easy to keep 3 wives.

She replied,

Well the man has a full time job as a company MD and 2 personal businesses so I guess he can afford the life style he chooses to live. I am a house wife but I also run a successful business which was funded by my husband over a decade ago.

I am lacking companionship, a loving full time husband, a man who only wants to be with me because I never thought I would share my man yet I am doing it everyday.

Maurice asks,

Do you really truly still love your husband or are you there because it’s an easier option to maintain status quo, the devil you know syndrome?

She replied,

Maurice I love that man. Whenever he comes home he finds a cooked meal waiting and I still share a bed with him and we still share intimate moments. During that period I shut out all other thoughts and enjoy every minute spent with him. I know I sound odd but love is a powerful feeling and I can’t ever leave him despite all the things he has put me through.

I want to tell him that I know about his other women and that I don’t care about that part of his life but he now needs to only provide for them and become exclusive to me. I need to feel like the woman he married. I am a very balanced and practical woman I cannot change what has occurred but I would like to believe that I have a future with my husband exclusively. I still have a lot of love and passion for him, so how can I convert him for him to see that I am all he needs in a woman?

Maurice replies,

My dear I would love to tell you that your current irregular relationship status will change in time but let’s review the facts. You have been married for a long time and from the beginning you knew the character you were marrying. Playing the supportive wife you allowed for things to escalate over the years. Your husband got another woman pregnant early in your marriage and in my opinion I believe there was never an honest heart to heart between you to share and establish a foundation of honesty and trust that would limit a repeat occurrence hence the additional kids with his first mistress, if I may call her that, and now there’s a third woman with child.

I believe that your husband suffers from a kind of narcissistic personality disorder. Let me shed some light to this behavior; your husband has worked hard to acquire not only a top management post but also 2 businesses. He craves ‘prestige’ and his wealth gives him that. He also craves to feel like a man which comes in many forms, in his case he has ‘power’ as a boss and he maintains 3 women and unlike the common trend in many men he makes sure that all his women are well catered for. And that he does not do out of the goodness of his loving heart, some may disagree but that’s my opinion. He may be the most loving man on the planet but his compulsive nature drives him to believe that he can love many women. My last hypothesis is that your husband at some stage of his life may have experienced a state of feeling inadequate and formulated a strategy to work hard, acquire what he needed to feel that he has conquered the World and you have been part of that development.

You can try and convert him as you put it, but I don’t see that path bearing any fruit. Your only viable option is to sustain the life you have led with your husband, cherish those moments you described and endeavor to make them as regular as possible. You have chosen to stay with him so as a practical woman it’s now your turn to strategize on ways of keeping your husband occupied.

Follow his blog on http://mauricetherapy.wordpress.com


The Final Jack – Grandma And Her Two Cents Worth

I have no words to explain how beautifully Flo Mwangi has put everything into perspective. I literally feed from her words. She has mastered the art of making sense out of the melee that has become the tipping point of many a relationship. I believe that if she’s not careful, she could end up as an undisputed best seller or with me. I present to you my Final Jack.


By Flo Mwangi
Every time I speak to her over the phone or pay her a visit, I am left reeling in laughter and with plenty of food for thought. This is why I cannot wait to see her over my vacation, plus she made me promise to anyway seeing as how she is in her grace years as she likes to call them; kind of like extra time where that whistle can go off any minute. And this she says with a hint of laughter. I tell her she’ll be around for quite a while. She is a tough nut.

My grandma; I don’t even know where to begin with the phenomenal that is this woman. I am overcome with emotion whenever I think of her; this woman who raised me and to whom I remain forever indebted, who shaped my ideals, who I feel a deep and profound love and adoration for. I am in awe of her sheer strength, her unshakeable Faith, her compassionate nature, her wit and wisdom and her charm. She has lived to see four generations; now that’s a fit and all generations through we appreciate and hold her in high regard. She has touched each of our lives in a special way. We all have a tale to tell as far as this wonderful woman is concerned.

For me it’s the first few years of my life which I spent with her. When my mum was off completing her undergrad studies, my grandma nurtured me. I applaud my mother; having me young did not stop her from pursuing her dreams, and achieving them, she made no excuses, expected no sympathy nor loved me any less. She took it all in stride and pressed on. I am truly proud of her. Those are some wonderful memories -me and my grandma- I still fondly remember this lovely little basket she kept in the living room, especially for me, filled with juicy oranges freshly picked from the garden by her, which I was treated to after a long day at school, and we all know school can be pure torture for a kid.  I remember her dressing me up for church every Sunday and me sitting up next to her at the front pew. She has always played an active role in church; I admire her Faith evident in all she does and passionately stands for. She is an astute believer in God’s overall role in every aspect of our lives from creation, to our daily existence.

Her Faith inspires and rouses all around her and has remained unmoved by the changing tides of time and circumstance. And it has been tested no doubt. She was not bitter at the passing of Grandpa -if anything we all drew strength from her- and as he lay in hospital, those last painful days, no one needed to tell her he was gone. She knew the exact moment he had breathed his last. How many of us can boast of such a connection with their spouse? The love those two shared I’ll be forever in awe of. They were inseparable and in an age where expressions of love or treating each other as equals was not too common, I have to commend those two.

Submission as I have observed through her is not losing oneself rather it is appreciating each other’s role in a relationship and having mutual respect for each other. It’s not about yelling matches but learning to listen -difficult as it maybe- while the other is talking and then stating your case as you would to a friend and finding a middle ground, compromise. And of all else a lifetime partner should first be a friend, because for such a commitment there’s a lot more at play beyond all the temporary fiery passions. It’s not about who ‘wears the pants’ in a relationship it’s about recognizing each other’s strengths and building on them and collectively applying them to build something of value. It’s not about finding fault and playing on each other’s weaknesses but rather compromise; there’s what initially attracts you to your partner, the mistake we make over time is averting our eyes from these wonderful things and focusing instead on each other’s shortcomings and before we know it we no longer feel the same, we become revolted by the sight of each other, we begin to fall out of love. You need to revert your focus back to what drew you to that person in the first place, it’s all still there you just became blinded to it over time. In doing this you will begin to cherish each other more and rekindle the flame once again. We easily loose those that we love because we never take time to make it work.

She was always meek with grandpa; she let him hold the fort while she was run the show behind the scene. He adored her; his respect for her was evident. She was forever at his side, never behind him. He valued her insight. They’d claw at each other sometimes but the love was never lost and in no time they’d be laughing over a joke either of them cracked. They were a vision of happiness those two. Never did they keep in silence or let the sun go down on an argument. And when he was taken ill, she was by his side till the very end.

She is appalled at the sham we have turned the marriage institution into. Women no longer appreciate their role in marriage –we feel so liberated now we want to steer the family ship in complete disregard of the men. Men on the other hand appear to have lost sight of what their role is exactly. A marriage is a partnership, a union, not a power struggle, going about it as such beats the whole point of getting into one in the first place.

Dear enlightened woman -not all men are evil and they do like to be in charge and that’s unlikely to change. Let him reign, play up his ego once in a while. So what if you are more educated? Or make more money than he does? It doesn’t make him any less of a man and there really is no point in rubbing it in, making him feel inferior in the process, that is cold and uncalled for.

Dear man – excessive control over your woman is not how you assert authority, neither is aggression. Take care of your own, always, evading responsibility is a sign of weakness and just plain unacceptable. Applaud your woman’s achievements, complement her, support and protect her and please work in some romance while you’re at it, we dig that. Companionship is human nature. It is possible for two people to share a happy and fulfilling life together so long as they keep their pride and ego in check, and learn not to blow up trivialities. If there’s a problem, nip it in the bud; keeping it in only yields more problems that are even harder to resolve.

They upheld the value of hard work, respect for self and others, discipline, were virtues that were engrained into us from the minute one could walk. I remember we’d all get up early, my cousins and I, and join them as they set out to pick flowers, we just loved running in the endless beautiful fields; picking and laughing and playing our way through. Whatever the tasks we did them together making them less daunting. We might have been up to our necks with chores -that’s inevitable when you’re living on a farm- but we were all content because we understood what needed to be done and everyone’s role in all of it and the whooping one got if they failed to do what was assigned to them. I had quite an early start on all matters work.  At the end of the day when we were all done we ran around in the grass (my grandma’s yard has the softest, forget carpeted) and played in the moonlight till she called us back to the house when it got late. One thing I admired about them is how they treated their workers; feeding them -on a daily- paying them well and on time. It was a valuable relationship they had, one of mutual respect and beneficial to all.

She is a fiery one my grandma, despite her diminutive nature. She needs no amplifier when she needs to be heard. She speaks her mind. She, just like many who watched as the country fought for and attain independence knows the true price of freedom. We should not take democracy for granted; we just need to look at other oppressed states and the turmoil they’re in to appreciate its worth. Allowing ourselves be influenced by our selfish so-called leaders who most times don’t see beyond their noses is truly a sad affair. Stay informed; knowledge is power. Love thy neighbor and seek divine guidance in all you do. On a lighter note she doesn’t get the logic of my prancing around in 7-inch heels which in her view are uncomfortable and worse still might leave me with a damaged ankle. I of course promptly remind her of the sky-high platforms that they rocked in their hey days 🙂

She still went and got me the loveliest boots though, and what do you know, they were high heeled -how sweet. She misses the point in walking around in clothes that are barely there, we might as well walk around naked “oh how times have changed” she mourns. “Didn’t they rock them shorter in the 60’s and 70’s?” I argue, “Well back in those days people were definitely not as blatant or half as wild as the lot of you is today, running around like all the blood done rushed to your heads” she quips. She’s not overly cynical, she appreciates that times have changed, yes, what she can’t stand is how our values have become eroded over time. And I don’t blame her, a shameful lot we have become indeed; self-centered, egotistic. It’s all about self-interest, the age we’re living in; success at whatever cost, self-gain in relationships. Whatever happened to extending a hand to one in need? Most of us have lost sense of direction we live as though we are of no purpose and are more of a burden than of value to those around us. Spirituality has become fourth nature to us; no wonder we’re lost. “God save us all” she pleads.

She is loved and cherished by her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. To live to see 83 and make light of the challenges that come with old age is a reflection of a self-assurance one can only hope for, an amiable strength.

She is blessed. In my eyes she is a legacy and I am proud to bear her name.