Last night, in the wee hours of the morning, after a night spent drinking a cold cider [pretty much the only alcoholic drink I can stand to take], I happened to take a vague trip down memory lane. Truthfully speaking, I have a shitty memory of my life and childhood most especially. Maybe it’s cause it wasn’t all that or better yet, I choose to not think too much into it because most of those memories entail a childhood that felt a lot like someone else’s. I have had this conversation before with my sister on countless occasions of just how much my life before I was 14 years old feels a lot like a hazy dream I had that wasn’t quite my own. Admittedly, a lot of my childhood is packed at the back of my mind together with the memories of my mother. She was in hind site all I remember from my childhood. My mother was front and centre of my life and like for me as it was for many others, I adored her and relished every bit of time I got to spend with her, despite that time being quite short. But before we cue the sadness, this isn’t meant to be about her absence but more of what her presence was like with me. For me to write this is like taking an excursion into my past and most specifically my childhood memories of me and my mum. I predict that it may not be so long but I surely will try to dig deep into my subconscious mind for what I would regard as treasured but forgotten memories.
The amusement park adventure.
If my memory serves me right, I was ten when my mum took me to my first amusement park a town over from where we lived. It was always there but it was an annual occasion that which if I think of now was more of a theme park than an amusement park since its main theme was agriculture. Farmers from around the county would put on display their crops and different entities regarding agriculture. Aside from that, it offered an amusement park for kids who got a chance to tag along with their parents. For those who may be wondering, especially if you are Kenyan, I am talking about the Nyeri show or the most known one, the Nairobi show. I was ten when my mum surprised me with a trip to Nyeri show. On a Saturday afternoon, after we’d both been in tuition, her as a teacher and me as a student, she told me she wanted to take me to someplace nice. She and I were major suckers for surprises. We loved to see each other’s faces light up from doing something we both regarded as special for each other. I remember being ecstatic on arrival at the show. It was an entirely new experience for me because of its rarity. I wouldn’t have guessed in a million years that my mum would take me to such a place because I knew of the impossibility of the chance of ever going to one. I don’t say this because she wouldn’t have loved to take me there or any other fun place, on the contrary, I know that my mum would have given me the world if she had it. The reason as to why it was beyond my wildest imaginations for us to have gone there was because I was aware of how things were financially for my family. I didn’t grow up in a wealthy family. Maybe partly the reason why I often don’t revere back to my childhood is that I didn’t have the best childhood. Things were often too tough and quite heartbreaking for my family, especially because despite it all, we held out a lot of hope that things would get better but they never quite did. So hence the surprise when my mum got to take me to this show when I knew that on other days it never would have stood a chance since I too was well aware that we couldn’t afford it.
It is still quite vague in my head, but I do remember we walked around the park and we could see kids having fun engaging in different activities and running around. I must have felt quite like I’d just walked into a movie that had a carnivore airing and I was quite in awe to be in it. I remember going on my first merry go round there as well as my first horseback ride and camel ride. For a kid who was terrified of a lot, I applaud myself for even agreeing to try those things out. Though, it was on that first ride on the merry go round that absolutely scared the wits out of me. I remember absolutely dreading that ride the minute I got off it. I remember feeling like my heart kept leaping out of its rib cage every time the merry go round would start on another round. It was absolutely dreadful, and I probably swore to myself that I would never get on another ride like that again because I have actually never been on another merry go round since. Apart from that, I remember us walking around the park that was quite vast. It resembled a big ranch of sorts. We walked around, I vaguely recall us stopping and looking at various exhibitions on different agriculturally based things. Those bits of that day may not have been my most favourite but I wouldn’t have changed those moments for anything because, despite everything, I was together with my absolute best friend. I was with my mother.
A graduation party of sorts…
Earlier I recall writing that my mum and I liked throwing surprises for each other. This time around, I threw her one. It wasn’t anything grand or big, it was the bare minimum, but it was entirely from the heart. It was on the 31st of August, 2007. I am aware of the date because I am lucky to have a picture from that day where my mum was receiving a certificate award for a discipleship class she had been taking in the church we used to attend, which technically is still the church that we go to even today. I will hopefully be able to attach the picture beneath this post so you can see just how beautiful she looked on that day. My mother’s beauty was unmatched, both from a biased and non-biased approach. She stood out wherever she went because she was an absolute ray of sunshine. So on this day, she left that afternoon to go pick up her certificate of completion for that course she had been taking in church. I recall being the only one at home that day so I tried racking my mind on how I would celebrate that win for her. I was nine years old and very much broke. I remember wanting to do something special for her before she came home but I didn’t have the slightest clue on what it is I could do for her. I then came up with a small idea of buying her some cakes which were sold at a shop across our house and maybe including a soda along with it. Did I say buying, I meant taking it on credit since I had zero money on me then, funny how it’s still the same case now. So anyway, I went ahead and got the little delicacies I needed and arranged them on a plate on the table alongside the soda and two glasses. I must have that quite highly of myself then because I intended to go all in. I then closed the curtains to the living room and lighting up two candles and setting them side to side from the plate. I knew she wouldn’t be long before she got home so now all I had to do was wait. On her arrival at the gate, I quickly rushed out to meet her so that I’d request her to close her eyes as I guided her to the house. It definitely wouldn’t have been a surprise had she otherwise walked in just like that. Nothing gave me more joy than seeing her elated face from seeing my surprise for her. I wanted her to know I was proud of her for having gone through those classes and having graduated from them regardless of how meagre it might have seemed to everyone else. We got to share that little celebration together and most importantly, she knew that I would always be her number one cheerleader. [cue the tears]
To be truthfully honest, I am quite surprised by myself for even recalling that much about those two treasured memories of my mum and I. I most times try not to recall memories of my mum because of how much of them are a reminder of her absence today. What I didn’t realize was that alongside those memories were beautiful times that we got to share together. I was so focused on avoiding the hurt that I forgot the love and beauty in remembering the happier times where she was more present than ever. I miss her, beyond what my words can conjure and maybe that’s what hurts the most. Missing her and having no way around to having her with me. But writing about those two memories have brought me so much closer to her than I have allowed me to feel in a very long time. Maybe somewhere along the line, I will allow myself to remember more of her with a lighter heart than a heavier one. She does deserve to be remembered for how amazing and just enigmatic she was. My mother was an angel and it’s just deserving that I share my memories of her and her angelic ethereal self with the world.