I am sitting up in my bed, in the dark breastfeeding and writing, contemplating my life, my child, the last two years. The candle light tonight is so different to me. I am literally watching it’s flame dancing. I have made a habit of lighting more candles than usual since daddy died, it helps me focus. Sometimes I really hope, if it’s dark out there, his spirit will look for my candle in the window and remember to come to me. Amari, in a few minutes you will be two, and you have seen me light these candles everyday for almost a whole year. Every night you look at the candles and say ‘Goodnight Bampa’, I still can’t tell you how it makes me feel, because I have not identified the feeling yet. A week ago I was a horrid mess, and I still do not know what to call this feeling. I will think about it and let you know.
Yes, you read right. It is the eve of your second birthday. 23:40 to be exact, and I am breast feeding in the dark. It has been a weekend of excitement and love, pain and intensity, happy and sad. Everyone came to sing happy birthday to you yesterday, and all it has really boiled down to is me and you, breast feeding in the dark. Nanny is sleeping now, she pretty much held your whole party together by making sure she not only bought, but cooked enough food for the 80 or so people who showed up for you. She is exhausted, and after baking 4 cakes and all that cooking, I think she deserves a sleep. I am struggling to imagine where I would be without your gran.
You are a little restless tonight, and you keep crying a weird cry. You are tired, but don’t want to sleep. You have clung to me for two days. I am trying to focus on you but am distracted by your Gogo Marge and Sekuru Petros arguing over something- spices it sounds like. I can imagine your dad is in the lounge watching and chuckling. I cherish these moments that I see these siblings, in their old age, bickering. We really do not have it often, and I am just happy that we have a home big enough for all these personalities to co exist, albeit for a few days. I wonder if Uncle Kudzi and I will end up like this. And if you and Muvaki will sit and laugh… I also want to sit and chuckle, but I am also so overcome by gratitude right now, that in truth, I just want to share with you.
I am thinking about my life before you. I have had a pretty good life Mambo. It was not bad at all. I had what I needed, I was a good student, I haven’t made it where I want to be yet in my career, but we are moving. I found out I was pregnant with you in 2016 and I knew that the trajectory I was on was about to change. To enhance itself, through you. I remember asking your dad not to tell any parents just yet. I needed a chance, a little time to think. To feel your presence and understand what was about to happen. I never knew what I was getting ready for, I only knew that what Tatenda and I had done was epic. I did not know you, but I knew one thing, I was about to do something that I was chosen for, and it was not going to be easy.
In 10 minutes, you will be two and I have been on the move so much in the last few weeks at work that I have not even taken the time to sit and think through what is about to happen. What changes are coming. I am trying to cram all the last few weeks worth of thought into one night. To try to just think, the way I did when I was preparing myself for your arrival.
You have just removed yourself from my breast. And in 6 minutes, you will be 2. That was the last milk you will drink as a 1 year old. Good God.
Really. God has been good. Maya. I am grateful.
At 2 years old, you are counting to 20 and going through A to Z. This evening I paraded you around the whole house because you wrote your first letter and numbers. On your hand, you wrote 7, followed by 6 (facing the wrong direction) and a capital A. You announced them as you wrote them, and your grand mother’s, Sekuru Petros and dad all saw. I have a fuzzy picture to show you one of these days. I am so proud of you, of your growth. Of who you are. You will count all day long if given the chance, you love it. You love to sing the ABC song too. I hope you continue your love for numbers and letters in the future.
You communicate so clearly right now ‘Mommy, Maya, food’ and immediately I know you are hungry. You are absorbing so many words and you are saying them more and more. The most impressive is when you give someone something, if they do not acknowledge, you remind them by telling them ‘Say thank you’. I am so impressed.
You are still not potty trained, but you are making progress and you are the most determined little girl I know.
We had a really big birthday party for you that I wish more of your cousins could have been at, but not to worry, we did the most and I remember thinking when I went outside the gate, that all these people came out to spend their Saturday with you, because of love. You chose your own outfit. A beautiful checked blue and orange dress that your Gogo Marge bought you and sent to you, a. Your bright red Wellington’s that your Nanny Lynette bought for you. A perfect match, you were so styling. I was amazed at how you knew exactly what you wanted to wear and I did not need to hell except for being the things to you. I am just happy I am still of some use to you.
I am still in the dark, crying new tears. I remember when you were born Mambo. When I came out of the theatre with your dad by my side, I cried when I saw Nanny and Bampa rush to me. Uncle Kudzi and Mama’s Dodo and OT and Tete Kiki all there, armed with some fierce love and already protective. Cameras all around us. I wept because I could not believe what we had done. I could not believe how much love I could see in my parents eyes. Love and adoration from your aunties and uncle who would not have been anywhere else but by my side as a I took these new steps. They all dropped what they were doing, to be with us.
I could not believe that your dad and I had the honor in partaking in this creation. God gave us some creative rights and you were absolutely perfect. You came through for us Mambo, not just for me and your dad, but for all the tribes that we represent. You came through for us. You stayed with us too, and you are still here and believe me when I say, there are not enough prayers in my life that I can pray, to thank God everyday for every breath you take, for every time you blink, for every smile I see, for every cry I comfort, for every sore I kiss better… I will never be able to empty my cup of prayer because for you, my beloved daughter there is more and more and more where that came from.
Thank you to everyone who has seen us into 2 years.
The clock had just struck 12. Our daughter is 2. And you have just read her last monthly update. Thank you for staying the course of two years with us. This is not the last blog post, but it is the last monthly update. Why? Because her age is no longer in months. She is a big girl now.
Mambo, we are doing it. You are doing it. It’s the 20th of May now. Happy birthday, mommy loves you.