Sometimes I arrive home expecting her to be all smiles and happy to see me, I have endless questions for her, just to know how school was, I even have some amazing strange snacks (we like to carefully try out things we don’t know). There comes a stage when children stop running to their parents when they come home, and it’s now the parents turn to locate them. That is where we are, I am smiling from ear to ear running where she is with all my joyful spirit, but the feeling is not mutual. She seems not to notice me, I grab her forcing a hug and all I get from her facial expression is an expression of pain. I read the signs, written all over, that it’s a bad time, so I leave and encourage myself in the Lord.
The opposite has also happened severally, I am tired and not ready for a very long conversation, all I need is rest, quite peaceful rest, preferably alone. But hey, the girl comes to open the door for me, so jumpy and bubbly, endless stories, of who did what in class, she reminds me of promise deadlines, suggests what we should cook, brings out books to show me difficult questions that need answers. (By the way it is so embarrassing when I can’t remember class 5 stuff, and she looks at me ready to write an answer, like why should I keep the four stomachs of a cow in my mind? Why? ) Where were we now? So I look at her excitement and decide I have to enjoy this. We end up doing things her way, her fun way, cooking pink rice and green ugali.
She has several other faces too; my worst is the blank one. Not happy, not sad, not sick, not hungry, not tired, not bored, no one has wronged her, she doesn’t need anything but stares at space as though she has received a fully paid for trip to the moon and is wondering if she really wants to go. Then there is another face, a disgusted face, she suddenly feels like everything around is just too below her standards, even her own bed! On such a day, there’s no favourite food, everything is just tasteless and she eats as though she hasn’t been paid to. There is no remedy to this one, I just put my foot down, make sure what needs to be done is done and wait for the face to fade away.
You should also know about two other faces, a very childish one, where she even wants toys that are meant for 3-year-olds. She totally becomes a baby, sometime I play along and other times I wonder, really? You want me to carry you? Or, really? You want us to play hide and seek, at our age? And my favourite, especially in public, is the mature face, everyone says ‘she is behaving like an adult’ and I go like, ‘yes, she is such a responsible adult.’ I like it when she makes me shine! She doesn’t interrupt, doesn’t argue with me, has all the table etiquette and even reads newspapers!
The best part of being her mother is at that, I can’t remote control her depending on how I feel. I wake up and pray for the best and grace if anything shows up. Above all, wisdom to handle the faces of the day. She is a whole human being, she has feelings, desires, likes and dislikes, and again, she will never be me. God knew why she gave her to me and I can’t change the reason to suit me. So what do I do, I accept and allow God to use me in moulding a strong woman out of the girl.
This cuts across all areas of life, some parents tend to shape children, they have drafted out a plan and want the children to blend in. when parents are happy, the children should automatically smile, when sad, the children should not come near. It’s like the parents dictate the moods and feelings without allowing children to be themselves, go through the feelings and learn to handle their emotions too. Not easy but possible. Every face shows a phase they are learning to handle. Allow them to learn.