To New Beginnings…

It has been a while since my last post. This year has been quite the roller coaster and I was definitely in for the ride of my life.  And what a ride it’s been!  I have made some huge decisions in the last few months, but looking back at the last decade of my life, every single thing that happened was building up to this exact moment. Have you ever felt like you were on the edge of a cliff? Unsure whether to let go, fearing what lies beneath; yet knowing that you could not hold on forever? Well, that’s been me for the last two years.  Petrified of change, but knowing that if I didn’t change something then I would go crazy.

The thing about your mind though, no matter how long you ignore what it’s trying to tell you, it will still find a way to get your attention.  Mine sure did and in a way that ensured I could no longer put up with the status quo. In my last couple of posts, I was in the process of trying to figure out heavy stuff with the help of a wise old man. Throughout the entire process I was still determined to maintain a façade of being in control. If you know anything about masks, then you know that eventually they slip off revealing the turmoil and trepidation beneath. The thing about crossroads and cliffs though is that the choice lies with you. You can choose to keep burying your head in the sand. Or you can choose to let go. You can choose the unknown. Being an adventurer of sorts, I chose door number two.  Or the Red Pill.  If you watched The Matrix then you will know what I mean.

Honestly at the beginning, it was terrifying to say the least. I had to face my real self and harsh truths that were not easy to stomach. Things I had lived in denial of came rushing to the fore and it was excruciating to deal with. With each wave I came close to caving, yearning for the deceptive bliss of masked ignorance. But like the proverbial genie out of the bottle, there was no recourse. I soon learnt that the less I fought, the more bearable my designated path became. Once the initial furor died away, I realized the grave price I would have to pay for my new level of self-awareness and identity.

I could now see with crystal clear comprehension, all the things that had held me back for so long, including my sometimes stereotypical societal expectations. And just like in The Matrix, the Neo in me clamored for urgent change both within and around me. Daring to go out on a limb I asked God in faith for a change to a place where I would be empowered to add value and actually enjoy my work while being recognized for my coaching and mentoring talent. Just to make it interesting, I asked him to do it before the end of the year. Long story short, I start at my new job in a week, with a whole month still to go in the year.  Also it’s a start-up company meaning I get a blank slate and a brand new paint brush.

As if that wasn’t huge enough, my sisters and I launched Sage, a business and lifestyle magazine. The launch was the culmination of several months of hard work, pounding the streets and fervent prayers asking God for a miracle. He delivered several and Sage was born.  It’s a whole new ball game for me and I am literally learning as I go.  Did I mention that I’m also a columnist in the periodical? 🙂

For those who know me well, this is nothing short of a transformation. I am the kind of person who used to plan every single thing down to the last detail way in advance – reluctant to leave anything to chance or faith. The last few months I have basically operated on bucket loads of faith and winging it. The best part for me has been learning how to have a completely open mind and literally anticipate anything.  Nothing fazes me now because I know even if I have absolutely no clue, I will just figure it out and enjoy learning something new in the process.

Since my blog is all about inspiring people ( 🙂 hoping this is what it actually does), here are my snippets of inspiration.  Stop overthinking things and just do them. The worst thing that can happen is that it won’t work out – so just ask yourself what you would do if you fell flat on your face. Once you have the answer then go ahead. The only way to really know if you want something is to just do it. Only then will you know how badly you wanted it. If you are walking around living your life for other people – showing them how “wonderful” your life is when in reality you are shattered inside and barely hanging on, just stop. No one cares, not the people who matter anyway.  You need to be your true authentic self and make no apologies for it. If you have no clue how to find your authentic self, then just start by asking yourself who you really are; when everyone and everything is taken away, who remains? That’s you. It might not be impressive to start with, but with some effort you can be just about anything you want to be. The reality is that you are the only person standing in the way of your destiny.

To quote Steve Harvey, “You cannot just exist in this life. You have got to try to live. If you are waking up thinking there has got to be more to your life than there is, man believe that it is. But to get to that life, you’re gonna have to jump.” (In case you have been living under a rock and have never listened to this now famous clip, here you go.)

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Life And Butterflies…

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A couple of days ago I was catching up with one of my former clients and she was relating how strange life is as she took stock of her achievements against what she had set out to do. What was particularly interesting was that she had met some of her goals but through channels she had vowed never to follow. What she found strange was her altered perspective on things she had previously fought and resisted so hard back then but was now embracing.

The whole thing really got me pondering about whether we are really open minded when it comes to what we want and how we hope to get it. A lot of people have an idea of what they would like to achieve this year for instance. Most have a generally solid plan on how to go about it. But what happens when your plan doesn’t go the way you expected it to? Or within the timelines you set for it?

My husband has this maxim that tends to rile me up quite a bit. He says that nothing good has ever come easy for him.  I am always trying to get him to stop saying this or at least change the way he says it because I am convinced that he’s only attracting more negativity and difficulty. I am clearly a very strong advocate of the law of attraction.

Looking back at my life in general though, it occurred to me that there is some truth to that statement. I may not agree with the way its phrased, but even scriptures advise us to wait on God’s timing – which is (in) conveniently miles apart from our own impatient plans. We plan and God laughs, right? Seriously though, all the stuff I have in my life that’s worth speaking about came through with quite a bit of sweat and blood. It certainly did not happen overnight and I almost felt like I had to prove I was worthy before it came to me. And the most interesting thing I noticed – most of the things came to me when I stopped chasing after them.

I’ll give you a classic example.  I always wanted to settle down. Right from campus, I had the perfect plan, the perfect man and what I thought was the right timing. (And don’t shake your head at me; we all know people who got married right off campus and they worked out, so why not me).  Well that plan blew up right in my face and I ended up alone and rather bitter. However that did not deter me from my goal. I was determined to settle down, obsessed probably. What followed was a decade of chasing men (yes I was a shameless hunter), trying to convince each to settle down and watching them take off in a cloud of dust once they realized I was only interested in the “picket fence” dream.  You know, the toothpaste ad – good looking husband, both of us with great jobs, two great looking children (a boy and a girl) and a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence. Go ahead and laugh but you would be surprised how many people are secretly longing for that.

The rejection was tough but I continued undeterred and convinced that if I only stuck with my plan for long enough and didn’t give up then my goal would eventually be achieved.  Well, one day after a particularly tough year filled with rejections, I just gave up. Not on the goal. But on that plan. I realized my plan wasn’t working and I was tired of doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result (definition of insanity according to Albert Einstein). And because I did not really have a backup plan I decided that maybe I would just try doing absolutely nothing and see where that got me.  I also stopped focusing on it and decided to enjoy my own company and realized that I had gotten so caught up in obsessing about being with someone that I had never really learnt how to have fun on my own.

Then Boom! You guessed it. As soon I stopped looking for him, he materialized. And get this for laughs. He had been there all along.  Just not available; hence why I had never hunted him down. Isn’t life hysterical? And he came ridden with loads of baggage which was on my avoid-at-all-costs list. So obviously I fought it at first thinking there was no way it was going to work. Because it never fit in with my plan. But since I had given up on my plan I thought what the heck, I might as well try it out, after all what did I have to lose. I could always go back to my own wonderful company if it didn’t work out. To cut an already very long story short, three years after we started dating my dream was finally realized. Without all the frills in the toothpaste ad though – I’m still hankering after a house in the suburbs.

This is just one example but my life is full of these. My job, each and every one of my promotions, some of my acquisitions, my passion for coaching and mentoring…..I could go on and on. They literally came when I least expected it and when I stopped chasing after them.

When I thought critically about it, I realized that it’s very rarely that you get what you want at the exact time that you asked for it. The best analogy I could use is that of a diamond. (Yes its cliché but please work with me).   A diamond is just carbon which when subjected to very intense heat and pressure becomes the most precious gemstone not to mention the hardest known mineral on earth.  This formation obviously doesn’t happen overnight, nor does it come without a price. Should the heat or pressure be any less than ideal it ends up as graphite which is what you find in a pencil. Enough technical stuff, you can Google for yourself.

My point is simply this. The things in life worth having are usually worth waiting for. And preparing intensely for.  And we tend to appreciate them way more than the ones that came easy. How else do you explain situations where people suddenly acquire huge sums of money (could be an inheritance, lucky winner or just plain robbery) and basically blow all the money in a few months, leaving them worse than they were before? I imagine it has something to do with the fact that they were not prepared for their windfall.

The only thing worse than not getting what you want, is getting it at the wrong time.  I have learnt that this can be so bad that it can potentially make you discard your goal altogether, yet there was nothing wrong with your goal. I have also learnt that life has a way of messing with your plans. You may still achieve your goal but via the long scenic route that you were avoiding and not your best-laid plan shortest route possible. Inevitably along the way you may even become frustrated and give up thinking that it’s just not worth the sweat and tears.

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The greatest lesson I have learnt though, is that as long as you stay focused on the goal and don’t get caught up in the details of how it’s not fitting in your plan, eventually you will get there. And with your blood pressure remarkably intact. What matters in the end is how open minded you can be and how well you can adjust to the curve balls that life just loves to throw in the face of our plans.

All that being said, I’ll tell you one more thing. The journey will definitely not be easy. I can assure you though; it will be more than worth the wait.

 

 

New Year, Old Grief

As my first post for the year, I am featuring a guest post from a reader who requested anonymity. Her story is deeply introspective and a great testimony to inner strength. I found her story especially moving as I have realized that the greatest success stories of triumph often arise from the ashes of countless failures, disappointments and shattered dreams. As a great man once coined, Though a righteous man falls seven times, he will get up. I hope this post inspires you as it did me.

 

I spent the early morning hours of January 1st stumbling into the house and subsequently crying about life. It would be a normal drunk episode if the things I was saying out loud to myself didn’t sound so bloody true. There I was on the dawn of a New Year and I was exactly where I was the year before – drunk and about to go to bed before battling the worst hangover I had ever had. Hadn’t I said that this year would be quiet? Hadn’t I said 2016 would begin differently? I had. But, as these things sometimes go, I had fallen into the same old routine.

So at 6am, on the 1st of January I was overwhelmed by the sore feeling of disappointment. In myself and in my actions. I stood in the doorway of our bedroom and asked my husband, “What is it about me that makes me want to keep proving myself?” With this simple question, I had opened the gates of hell. We sat up and I cried, sniffled and mumbled about everything. Why did I drink as much as I did even though I regretted my actions most times? Why did I become so vulgar when I got drunk? Why was I always trying to make people see me a certain way? And most importantly, why couldn’t I stop making the same mistakes and self-sabotaging?

I couldn’t hear it but my husband did. He heard the things I said about myself even without realising that I was saying them. My self-talk consisted of calling myself fat, ugly and stupid without even realising that I was doing it. Long story short, I now hear it and have begun to work on it. I’ll tell you this – those hot, grief-filled tears unravelled something within me. The knot that I didn’t even know was inside me had come undone. It was restorative in a way that I can’t even describe.

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So why am I telling you this sob story? I’m telling you so that you know you’re not alone. Maybe you’ve felt like you aren’t enough at one point or another. Maybe you still do. I don’t want you to go into a new year making the same mistakes and carrying the same pain. You might not even know you have it. Ask yourself one thing – “Are there things that I keep doing that I keep regretting?” If the answer is yes, take the time to explore those feelings. It will suck and it will hurt like hell but it will be so worth it.

I want you to know that you are not unlovable. I want you to know that all the mean things you say about yourself are not true. I want you to know what other people say about you doesn’t matter. I want you to know that there is nothing in the world that can ever give you the kind of power you can give yourself by admitting what’s truly going on on the inside. Maybe every year feels this way but I can’t help but feel like this particular one is full of so much promise. So much hope. So many possibilities. Go into it with a new skin.

And I want you to know, it’s never too late to start again.

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Leaving The Rat Race.

Lately I have been mulling over some of the choices we make and ultimately how they mold our future.  A lot of things happened this year that seriously changed the way I viewed life and happiness in general. What seemed so important before suddenly seemed so trivial and the little things that we tend to overlook became the pivotal points of every single thing I did. More and more I found myself confronted with messages about people who had made drastic changes in their lives and chosen happiness and fulfillment over the mundane. Even my own sisters (yes all of them) have over the past 5 years or so, each made changes in their lives that can only be described as drastic but ultimately altered the courses of their lives for the better.

On a whim, I decided to seek out an old friend of mine whom I hadn’t spoken to in a while. I actually used to work with her till she did what a lot of us can only fantasize about – she chose to leave the corporate world (and all its endless politics) in favor of staying at home and taking care of her three kids. She was even interviewed on national television to speak about her experience. In addition to being a stay-at-home mum, she also runs her own small business; most importantly, she works on her own terms.

I was very interested in finding out what had driven her to make such a drastic change in her life when she seemingly “had it all.” Basically the gist of it was that her work hours had become crazy, leaving home at the crack of dawn and not returning till late at night. She basically never got to spend much time with her daughter (her only child at the time) and it really hit her how bad it had gotten when one day her daughter called her “Aunty!” You can only imagine her horror on realizing that she was no longer recognized as the mother but as the “Aunty” who appeared occasionally. It was at that point that she began to question her choices and the cost to her loved ones. Her work increasingly became unfulfilling to her as her priorities became crystal clear in her mind. She battled with indecision till one day she simply sat down and penned her resignation. At this point, her face literally lit up as she recollected how she felt after submitting her notice – a weight literally lifted off her shoulders.

Lucky for her she has a very supportive partner who had her back and she was able to walk away from the corporate world without so much as a backward glance. That however did not make her journey easy. In as much as she was confident in her decision, she found herself surrounded by people who thought she was insane to quit just to stay at home. This is when she realized that our society has little to no regard for housewives or stay-at-home mums. We are basically defined by our jobs, titles and how much money we make, the cars we drive, the neighborhoods we reside in….you get the drift. Have you ever noticed when you meet someone for the first time, right after the greeting is the ever definitive question – “So, what do you do?”

In her own words, people immediately lost interest the second she told them what she does. It didn’t help that she also got a lot of negative pressure from people close to her who did not understand her decision and she even lost some friends in the process. She had to develop a really tough skin to get through and even now she feels like she has to keep justifying her decision which felt and still feels perfectly logical to her. The biggest stereotype she had to overcome was the myth society has sold us; that being a mum just isn’t enough. It’s seemingly not enough to take care of three children and a household. Not in this day and age.

During my bed rest leading up to my maternity leave I got to realize a lot of things. Every day was a full day – taking care of the kids, my husband, the kitchen, the house in general. At the end of each day I would still feel like I needed more hours in the day. One day it suddenly dawned on me. How had I been managing all this with a full time 8-hour job not to mention at least 2 hours in traffic daily? At that point I realized that I had probably been neglecting something and it was painfully obvious what I had compromised in my daily membership to the rat race. Just looking at my son and how much he thrived in those 5 months was answer enough. I had been focusing on the wrong things, thinking that my family would just get by. How many of us (both mums and dads) have relegated the role of parenting to the nanny and the teachers? Who do you think is the biggest casualty of the choices you have made to put your career first? At the very least, stop living in denial; wake up and smell the coffee.

As we winded up our catch up date, I told my friend that she was my inspiration. She was visibly shocked by this; I suppose she never expected anyone to think of her as inspiring. She had simply made a decision for the good of her family and learnt to live with the criticism that came with it. I told her that she had done what many of us long to do and genuinely wish we had the luxury to do. She is viewed as a pariah simply because she went against the norm falsely defined by a judgmental society. Because she was brave where we are weak. Because she knew she could choose, and made the choice. While we are still hiding behind masks showing the world how happy we are yet behind those same masks lie disillusioned dead hearts just existing. Not living. Desperately unhappy and on the verge of depression, but unwilling to show the world how our choices have failed us. Since we genuinely believe we have no other option, we trudge on in the rat race. Making more money just to spend more in our desperate attempt to “Keep up with the Joneses.” Most of us will go to our graves with our dreams unfulfilled, unspoken even. Some of us know that they have a choice, but believe that choice to be unrealistic or not enough. Who defines what is Enough anyway? Isn’t it us at the end of the day or have we allowed someone else to set rules by which we must now abide? Is there another way to make money while ensuring that those close to you do not feel neglected? Is being employed really the only way? Can you be your own boss and keep your own hours and define what is really Enough for you?

Obviously I cannot generalize and state that everyone should follow their dream. Some dreams are unrealistic for sure. What I can say however is that, you need to be happy with the choices you have made. Not all of us will be fortunate enough to realize their dream, for one reason or another. Everything in life is a choice after all. Just make sure that whatever you choose, you can actually live with. Not exist; LIVE with.

And for heaven’s sake, stop criticizing those who have been brave enough to make the choice and live their dream. You know what they say about people in glass houses.

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Of Bleeding Hearts and Giving…

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I have always been a bleeding heart. You know, the kind of person who is excessively sympathetic towards those in unfortunate circumstances. I have been known to give in to emotions on frequent occasions and take up charity causes for people I don’t even know. Some people (read cynical people) find this naïve and a little foolish but what can I say? I’m just wired that way.

Parenting is the art of carrying your heart outside your body. Most parents know this. For those who aren’t parents allow me to explain. Imagine if you had to carry your heart outside your body (in a bag or whatever) and keep it safe from any harm so that it continues to keep you alive. Do you get the picture now? It’s a nerve wracking, heart tugging situation. Pun intended. Kids have a way of softening even the hardest of hearts, whether you show it or not.

Before I had my son, I had pretty much mastered the ability to hide my bleeding heart from most with the exception of those who know me pretty well. From the moment he was born, that situation negated itself and to add insult to injury, I realized that I had become excessively emotional. Anything even remotely sad made me cry. Movies. Novels. Articles in a magazine. Animals dying. Well that last one has always reduced me to tears to be quite honest, from the time when I was old enough to understand that animals do not have the same life span as humans. We even had a pet cemetery growing up. The stuff of Stephen King novels. It’s a wonder our house was not haunted by the spirits of all the cats and dogs that we buried there in shallow graves that were later dug up by wild pigs. In case you’re wondering, we lived right next to Ngong Forest.

Where was I? Oh yes, parenting. If you’re a parent you know how sad you get when you see a poor little homeless kid on the street begging for a meal. You know the way your eyes well up when you see those features appealing for medical assistance for a child who has some never-heard-of life threatening ailment. You know how angry you feel when you see a child being mistreated by someone who should know better. You know how helpless you feel in all these situations because while you can only do a little to help, deep inside you always wonder, what if that was your child?

That’s the craziest thing about parenting. You see your child in every situation involving a child. Even when you’re not with your child and you hear a little voice cry out “mum’” or “dad”, you’re bound to turn towards the sound; a second before you realize that it can’t possibly be your child calling you. That’s what having a child does to you. It makes you crazy vulnerable and impossibly soft as marsh inside. That’s the feeling of your heart being outside your body.

Now that I have my second baby, a beautiful graceful princess, I find that my bleeding heart has imperceptibly gotten worse. I suppose with my son being older I had toughened up slightly but I now find myself back to the fears of having an infant sorely dependent on me for her every need. If you have a small baby you can certainly relate to the constant checks on them to see if they are still breathing. Almost as if we don’t actually expect that they will successfully do that on their own. I tell you, babies are undeniably over dependent. Incredibly instead of driving you up the wall, this just makes you grateful every day for the blessing of your little baby. Especially when you hear the story of someone losing her precious daughter to a choking incident. Or another to an unfortunate school bus accident. Or yet another whose child is missing and is presumed kidnapped. It literally breaks your heart and all you want to do is go home and hug your child as tight as you can.

Because that’s when you realize, as you have always known that your child is your heart. Literally and figuratively. You are carrying your heart around outside your body and praying desperately that no one rips it out of your hands and hurls it to the ground, smashing it into smithereens. I imagine that’s what it would feel like, multiplied by a trillion, if something ever happened to your child. I can only imagine because even though it happened to me, I’m still pretty sure that I cannot adequately capture the pain that a parent feels when that heart is ripped away from them. I cannot put into words the fervent prayers of the parent whose child’s life hangs in the delicate balance between medicine and divine intervention. Words cannot describe the gap that can never be filled where once there was a child but a parent had to bury them.

In a nutshell you will never be the same again. Once you become a parent, it changes you. It defines you. It grows you and makes you the best person you could ever be. You could literally give your life in a heartbeat in exchange for your child if it was required of you. I still cannot watch Denzel Washington in John Q without wailing from beginning to end.

Incredibly with all the stuff I’ve said so far, it’s still the biggest blessing that you could ever experience. Like I said, you will never be the same again but for the coolest reasons ever. My son changed me forever and already my little princess has made her unmistakable imprint on my heart. It’s literally the best thing that will ever happen to you and the greatest, most rewarding journey you will ever walk. Just make sure you find a good strong bag for your heart.

P.S. If you’re a bleeding heart like I am, please go to Baby Ivannah Alusa Limo and help if you can. Whether or not you are carrying your heart around in a bag.

Update: On 15th July God decided that Baby Ivannah was too beautiful for this earth and took her with Him to dance with the angels in heaven. We rejoice, even amid our streaming tears, that she touched so many hearts and brought so many together in a common cause. We pray for strength for her family, that they may celebrate the precious measured moments they shared with their beautiful angel whose smile and gorgeous eyes we had all come to adore. Ivannah, we know that you are in a better place.

She’s Out! Hello Alayna!

My beautiful little princess had her first photo shoot and as usual, as we have now come to expect, lived up to her diva-ness…

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DSC_0128AOFPTwo months ago, I was taking pictures of my friend Ronni’s over-sized belly while the tiny person living insider her practiced kickboxing.

And recently, I was introduced to this tiny person. Small… Beautiful… And still practicing kickboxing.

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Please excuse my baby fever, but new-borns are so unbelievably tiny that I honestly believe I can find a spoon big enough to eat them with.

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Just a little over a month old and she already has a strong grip on reality. A strong grip in general, but the reason I reference “reality”, is that she doesn’t look dazed like most new-born babies tend to look. She was very aware of my movements around her and followed me keenly with her eyes as I clicked away at my camera shutter.

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Truth be told, while looking into her eyes, I felt like there was a keen mind back there trying to figure me…

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TAKING STOCK…

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I’ve been meaning to write a post for the longest time but somehow time just kept going by till I woke up a couple of days ago and realized that we are halfway through the year already! Isn’t it strange how time used to crawl by when we were in our teens and early twenties? I still remember literally dying to grow up and now that I finally have (I think I definitely qualify) time moves at warp speed! You literally blink and its Xmas barely after the year has begun!

Anyway as I lay there looking back at the last six months, it hit me that I had gone through so much since January that it literally felt like a couple of years and not just half a year! Honestly I have come such a long way in the last six months, experiencing more than my fair share of happy, not so happy and downright depressing moments. I thought it only fitting to share a post on taking stock of my year so far, especially the lessons I have learnt.

Expect the Unexpected.
I started out the year with great expectations and a relatively solid idea of the direction that I wanted my life to take. However sometimes God has a rather wry sense of humor or is that what they call “works in mysterious ways”. This year life has thrown me so many curve balls that I am still spinning. At some point I began to wonder what I had done wrong because apparently when it rains, it pours; in my life, it was raining cats and dogs. Eventually I learnt to take one step at a time, one day at a time and take the good with the bad. This wasn’t easy and several times I honestly came very close to completely caving in. However it was at those moments that I found my greatest inner strength and somehow kept going.

A great support system.
One thing I have discovered……ok, re-discovered is that I have the greatest support system in the world! Without my family and my friends I honestly wouldn’t have been able to get through some of the last couple of months. I have a very interesting family. For the most part we will stay out of each other’s lives and mind our own business; we are generally not very good at asking for help, even when we need it. However we have a knack of sensing when one of us is in trouble and rally to help. I have never appreciated my mother and my sisters as much as in the last six months. From the start of the year to date they have flocked around me like geese; providing comfort, advice, hugs, support, help with the baby….anything that I could think of and a lot that I hadn’t thought of. They have dropped in on me in moments when I did not even realize I was drowning and pulled me out of my misery. They dropped everything in April to accompany me on what would have been a sinking sand pit of misery had they not been there to hold me up at the funeral of my son’s dad. My mother has never spent a night away from her husband in 44 years of marriage (!!!) and she spent two nights in Eldoret with me and my sisters just to make sure I was ok. One of my sisters sat with me the entire night I was in labor, only leaving at 3am to return at 7am to continue her vigil. Not even the nurses could keep her away. Since my daughter was born, my mother has made it her personal duty to ensure that my kitchen has a constant supply of uji, soup and a variety of fruits. I could go on and on and it still wouldn’t do justice to the support I have received. For this I will be eternally grateful.

Life. And Death.
You never really truly appreciate life. Until you have a brush with death. Or lose a loved one to its cruel hand. That’s just a sad fact of life. I’d never lost anyone really close till this year when Aidan’s dad passed away. You honestly don’t recover from the loss. You just learn to live with it. And hopefully, if you learn the lesson right, you try to never again take the ones still with you for granted. This loss was particularly hard for me because after so many years of hostility and estrangement, we started speaking again early last year. It was strange really but he was one of my first coaching clients. He had gone through a particularly rough patch and I offered to help him put his life back together. By the end of last year, his life had undergone a transformation and his future couldn’t have looked brighter. Even his health was on an upward trend. Till today I still believe that he stuck around just long enough to reconcile with his son. It’s almost as if he dedicated his final year on earth to leaving a legacy that his son would be proud to be associated with. And when that was done, it was time for him to go. The only thing that gives me consolation is that we set things right before he went; I don’t think I’d have lived with myself if I had denied him that opportunity.

His death put so many things into perspective for me. We waste so much time holding on to very petty hurts which don’t really matter. People still get so amazed that I would actually offer to help someone who once hurt me and that alone tells me how much baggage we are lugging around. Forgive those who have wronged you today and move on with your life. Life really is too short to hang on to stuff that doesn’t matter. If it does matter, then do something about it. If it doesn’t, let it go.

Adversity.
A week before Kip died, my husband lost his job and then two weeks later, lost one of his best friends. In between all this, I was still having an extremely difficult third trimester with exceedingly horrible reflux and heartburn which ensured that I barely slept each night. Just when I thought that things couldn’t possibly get any worse, my husband’s back gave out and he could barely get up, leave alone walk. There I was, 37 weeks pregnant and seemingly carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders and now driving him to physiotherapy. I was honestly at the end of my rope. In case you have never experienced this, it’s probably the hardest thing in a world for a man to be helpless; especially one like mine who was used to taking care of me. I remember seriously wondering at this time what we had done wrong to God to attract all this misfortune. In the midst of all this and even with my human doubts, I continued to trust and have faith in God that we would be OK. The interesting thing about adversity though is that it clearly shows you who’s truly in your corner. People that we previously thought would help us out mysteriously became unavailable and our support came from very unlikely quarters. The best part (should I say silver lining on the dark cloud) was that we became closer than ever. We’ve ended up spending so much time together in the past 3 months and I can honestly say we are stronger now than ever before. What I learnt? You may not be where you want to be but you are always exactly where God needs you to be. Always appreciate your current circumstances because you are there for a reason.

Two Great Men.
I have two great men in my life. My husband. And my son. Spending a lot of time at home has opened up my eyes to that. Work has a way of obscuring what’s really important in your life. These two have literally spoilt me rotten, waiting on me hand and foot. After my daughter’s arrival, they have been a rock in my life. Taking her for a walk when I need to nap and she won’t sleep, burping her, rocking her…you name it, they have done it. Initially we were really worried about the effect a new baby would have on my son but after the first couple of days he took to his big brother role like a duck to water. He absolutely adores his little sister and is constantly offering to help out with her. Her dad has been phenomenal to say the least. For me parenting the second time round has been a breeze thanks to his endless support. One of these days I will write a blog post titled “Real men change diapers.” He grabs any opportunity to bond with his daughter and it’s simply amazing to watch. Through the constant care and attention of these two gentlemen I have learnt that no matter what life throws at me, I am still among the luckiest women in the world.

My Beautiful Princess.
I saved the best for last. 🙂

After an extremely eventful third trimester, my beautiful little girl finally arrived two weeks shy of her due date. By the last month I was exhausted due to sleep deprivation, partially immobile thanks to the strain on my pelvic bones, and extremely cranky and irate. You can therefore imagine my relief when the doctor announced that I was in the initial stages of labor and immediately admitted me. However my daughter was clearly not one for quick appearances and I had to endure an additional twelve hours of pain before she made her grand entry, screaming her indignation at the top of her very healthy lungs. I really want to say that all the pain and agony I had gone through was forgotten the second I held her in my arms, but I would be lying. However, the truth is that she was totally worth it. I remember looking at her in awe and marveling that she was really mine, it was quite surreal actually. I kept touching her little fingers and toes and her little button nose as she slept peacefully, checking to see if she was real. She was the most gorgeous thing I had ever laid eyes on and I fell in love with her immediately.

We brought her home after a couple of nights in the hospital and just like riding a bicycle, soon fell into a familiar routine where she fed (surprisingly) on a regular 3-hour routine allowing me to finally get some much needed sleep. She turned 6 weeks this past Thursday and I marvel at how fast she is growing. Right now she is needy and dependable on us for her every need but I know that within no time at all, she will be crawling and then walking and after that, time will just fly past. So I am treasuring the midnight and 3am feeds for now, in as much as I am groggy and barely lucid during those feeds. I look forward to her beautiful dimpled smile when it does appear, which is like a sliver of warm sunlight in the cold July weather. I adore her cheeky side glances and cheerful gurgle like sounds when I wonder what’s going on in her little mind and what she would say if she could speak right now. I adore all the tiny little moments with her because I know all too well how soon it will all be a vague memory. From her I have learnt that life is so precious and we are all on borrowed time. I intend to enjoy the time I have with her and all my loved ones to the full for the time I have been granted.

When I look back at the last six months, I can see clearly that the journey to this point has certainly not been easy to say the least. One thing I know for sure though is that despite all I have been through, it has certainly been worth it. The rest of the year will certainly have a lot to live upto and I look forward to grabbing it by the horns.