THE JOYS OF FAMILY

At various points in my life, I remember the past.

I vaguely remember myself and my sisters trying to stick our tiny fingers between the mattress and bedframe in the name of making our parents bed. An adult must have been somewhere nearby actually getting the job done. I recall when our dad taught us to sweep the compound in layers turning the chore into a game – the goal was happily achieved.

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I remember a time when we put long sweaters as our hair or sold our table mats in exchange for paper pieces as we played make-believe. We sang many songs giving them our own lyrics (the song writers would have been shocked if they had heard our version); we even made up a song or two. We sang our individual songs when we were pissed trying to out-sing each other and waiting to catch the other if any attempt was made to steal ‘my song’.

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I remember the times we laughed, played, sang and seemed happy for no particular reason. How about the jokes and riddles shared with dad, mom, aunties and uncles resulting in the nickname, ‘I am Something’.

Can you remember the times we played hard at our grandparents with cousins who helped to hide us when we heard the dreaded phrase “Children, it is time to go home” or times when the littlest of the bunch ran around the courtyard singing “Fire, fire for fire” – another made up song? It’s a wonder no passer- by came to our rescue. I remember holidays spent with cousins and how we wished those times would never end. Board games, singing, dancing and catching up on lost time.

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I remember getting introduced to the world of music and movies by aunties. Can you remember getting candy and dessert treats from uncles? We knew not to tell, we definitely did not want an end to sugary fun.

I remember a wonderful grandma who took care of everybody; I still wonder where she got the strength. I remember a grandpa who smiled while he watched the grandkids play; “the joy of a grandpa are his grandkids” he would say simply when I caught him smiling at us. Can you remember us picking sides while we watched Sunday wrestling shows with him?

I remember my first fight and the pointlessness of hand to hand combat. All quarrels were settled with words from then on no matter how annoyed we got. How about our attempts at malice which were poor attempts as we were stuck in the same room?

I also remember how an insult to one was an insult to all. The others took it even more personal than the one who was actually snubbed. There were times spent convincing each other about the futility of worrying and pushing our self-esteem through the roof. There was also time for tickles and teasing.

I remember when the scales fell from our eyes when we found out that our family was not as perfect as we thought. The good thing though was that no matter the disputes, we knew that hugs would be exchanged no matter how long it took.

I remember the people we met who were so special that they became family; ‘supposed’ cousins we grew up with, a nice lady who lived down the street, a truly kind Sunday school teacher, a funny but efficient lesson teacher, a wonderful look alike whose class was up the stairwell. They were lovely people who we just seemed to really connect with and now life without them is considered absolutely unimaginable. A friend to one became a friend to all. Some friends pushed boundaries and became family.

These moments are engraved in my heart. I treasure them deeply as I look forward to making more beautiful memories with my family and other members that would join in along the way.

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