The “Growing Up” Moment for Me
Some days in your life no matter how young you are, you never forget. My moment was in the year 1998 when I first joined kindergarten. On that particular sunny, bright engaging day, I remember being very excited in the morning after all I was finally going to wear those coveted new clothes in my closet! I had every reason to wake up us early as 5.30 am so I can bathe and wear the clothes as soon as it was possible. “Mom, Mom, Mom!!! It’s today! Today is the day you promised to take me to school in those new clothes. Wake Up! Let’s bathe and wear the uniform.” Mum looked at her clock and told me to sleep next to her for a while and we would wake up later.
As a child you are taught of two supreme powers mom and God; so I knew better than to defy the order to sleep. At 7 we woke up, took breakfast, mom washed me and oiled my body then finally after waiting for what seemed like forever I wore the new clothes and new black leather shoes. Schools seemed like a nice place if it meant new clothes every so often. At 8.30 am mom drove me into the school. It was beautiful. Tall trees, beautiful paintings, of words I couldn’t read and colors I couldn’t mention, a well maintained compound and others wearing the same color of clothes and shoes as me.
We got out of the car and went into the headteacher’s office. I was still vibrant and excited until a teacher came and took me away from my mother saying we were going to class to join the other tiny people like myself. Although I was very reluctant I went after all I knew for a fact my mom never left anywhere without me. I was so sure I would be re united with my mother until I saw her leave and head for the car, starting the engine without me. And all hell broke loose. Had I been such a bad child that she would sell me to all these other people? Was she tired of feeding me? Was it because of how dirty I came home from play time with my friends?
No way was I letting her sell me. I was hers and she mine. “mom!!” I ran towards the car crying screaming how could she not love me anymore? “Mom! Please don’t sell me to these people. I promise I will stop eating so much, I promise I won’t go and play with my friends at home and come home dirty. Just please don’t sell me to these people”. She tried to explain that she was not selling me and that she would come back for me at 1 and buy me ice cream. I would hear none of it. Between my panic and the thought that my mother was selling me and my new clothes to these people, ice cream was the last thing I wanted.
The teacher told mom to get into the car and drive off and I would get used to the environment after she had left because I would have no other choice. I remember the feeling of loss, the feeling of a perfect secure world crumbling. I remember crying till I couldn’t breathe anymore, crying so much my head ached. After years of being with my mother 24 hours a day every day, I was alone in a strange place with strange people. I had been betrayed, duped. I will never trust her again I vowed. I felt a tiny hand touch mine and hold it tightly, so tight it felt like the holder knew exactly what pain I felt and understood. I looked at the face of the one holding my hand and there with a warm smile stood a boy they named George. “Let’s go to class your mother will come for you at 1 like mine. And even if she won’t you can come to our place my mother is very nice and she will cook lasagna for us. You can be my sister.”
Those simple words, all it took to get me to class. I had made and met my first friend and desk mate for the class. I later found the classes very educative and fun, even the teacher wasn’t such a monster after all. I had made my first colorfully beautiful painting; no one could tell what it was though, except for George because I had told him what I was drawing.
When mom finally came to take me from school, she found me excited telling stories I had told her at least a dozen times. She was probably relieved she would have some new stories to listen to tonight. We gave George and his mother a ride home, turns out we were neighbor but hadn’t met.
It was in the car that I realized I was now a grown up: Independent and free. That now I dint have to rely so much on mum for everything and that now I could be exactly like her happy and with many friends. I couldn’t wait for the next day so I could show George and my new friends my beautiful paintings and drawings. As I reached home I felt empowered, like a young woman with talents waiting to be explored.