By Gloria Mwaniga
Whoever said that parting is such sweet sorrow obviously never got to host guest families during the festivities. You enjoy having them around, but with an equal amount of joy coupled with sore limbs and eyes reddened by lack of sleep, you wave off the last batch of them, namely Uncle Joe, and watch as he scuttles off with his offspring. Like the Christmas commercials he did arrive too early but like fruitcake, went ahead and stayed too long after the other guests had left.
This has seen you not only dig deeper into your already sunken bank account but also, now your teenage son is no longer speaking to you, because you failed to keep your promise and let him have his room back in two days, but how were you to know that the visits would take longer than expected? Nobody said parents double-up as prophets, right?
As you settle down on the sofa and choose to forget the utensils in the kitchen sink which your teenagers had promised to wash but never got to it as they decided to drive off to uncle Eddies’ till the new year, you begin to wonder exactly when the word mother will be replaced with its true synonym, martyr.
Your brain replays events of the past week which light up your otherwise beat face. The recaptured beautiful and magical moments cannot let you sleep.
Your mind goes back to Aunty Ruth who in your words is all over. Her aggressiveness, which can be somewhat exasperating, really does pay off because it takes her half the time it takes the rest of you to have a job done well. Her children are well disciplined and clean and her house is always speckless. Family members respect her and she seems to be the one called upon whenever someone has a task they need done fast. Instead of dwelling on her niggling character, choose in the New Year, to emulate her and become a one stop shop for tasks that you can handle. It will be to your advantage if your boss believes that giving you a task is as good as having it done well. This will win you the trust of those around you.
Then there is dear Uncle Joe. His motto in life seems to be, don’t take life too seriously, after all no one comes out of it alive’ and he does live it. You will find him always enjoying himself when the rest of the folks are busy trying to create impressions. He even cracks jokes that get everyone reeling with laughter. No wonder all the children flock around him and no one can imagine a holiday without Joe-Jokes. Next year, awaken your sense of humor by learning to laugh at yourself more often. Good humor keeps life simpler, lighter and more humane.
No matter how badly you offended granny Jane last holiday, you know she will welcome you with a big smile and a huge plate of cookies. Her memory, they say, is like that of a goldfish but her heart is twice as big to make up for the memory-loss. Her motto is ‘always remember to forget the things that make you sad, but never forget to remember the things that make you glad.’ Embrace this motto in the New Year and you won’t have to dread going back to work because you cannot stand the colleague you fought with at the company party or even the spouse who ran off to visit her family even after you told them you wanted a private holiday together .Remember, forgiveness is a choice.
Your heart beats a little faster as you think of ‘grandpa’s army’ as he likes to call them. These are the high school boys who are seem to have grown very tall and broken their voices at a go. They spend all their time on their phones and put them down only when they are competing on the play station which belongs to Paul, the nephew who used to be your favorite, until he scored a whooping four hundred and twenty three marks, joined a national school, completely forgot Swahili, picked up annoying repetitive phrases like ‘usiwahi tense’ and is treated like royalty by his parents whenever he throws a tantrum, which is quite often. This should remind you of the changing wheels of time, and the reality that the passage of time takes away some of the precious moments wish to hold onto and even in your tired stature, you whisper a prayer…Lord Help me to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Amen.