I believe babies set the agenda in a household. They are the smallest but wield the most power. Monday this week was my after-40 baby’s second birthday. She’d had a rough Sunday night due to a viral infection that her small body was fighting. Her siblings were deep in slumber land oblivious to her plight. As for her parents, we were like watchies doing night shift. We felt her temperature at short intervals and administered medicine every few hours till morning.
Monday blues have been frequent since my halftime journey began. I always start the week silently hoping this is the week my big assignment for my second half will unfold. For that reason, blue has become the colour that represents Mondays for me, in addition to being one of my preferred colours. So if you find me dressed in blue on Mondays, just smile and wish me a happy blue Monday.
Just like other Mondays, I woke up this week with two shades of blue. One was dark blue thanks to a rough night caused by baby shark’s lack of sleep. Second shade was sky blue because it was her second birthday. We decided I take her to see the doctor since her fever was not going away. She was in a lousy mood on the way to the clinic and also as we waited to see the doctor.
I had serious looking activities planned for the day, but here I was at a paediatrician’s waiting room staring at cartoon murals on the wall and playing with small, coloured, plastic chairs with my baby girl as we waited for the doctor to fika. One of the things being 40 has done for me is giving me the ability to accept sudden changes more easily than I did before. I’d look at baby shark and wonder, poor girl, what a venue to celebrate a birthday. Instead of drinking sugar-laden juices to celebrate, we were about to take antibiotic and paracetamol juice. How boring.
I decided to just go with the flow however long it takes and focus on baby getting better. Once I accepted our birthday-in-clinic situation, I realised that her illness had forced me to spend half the day with her. That may just have been a better birthday present to her than buying her tamu tamus. After seeing the doctor and her small body being inspected, we got a prescription and went back home via the pharmacy.
I remember leaving her outside the house eating some yoghurt and went to try and look serious like other Kenyans for what was left of the day. Just as I was getting out through the gate she shouted, “Daddy!” And waved bye (which she pronounces as ba). For the first time since morning, I could see a smile through her teary eyes and runny nose. It was like a – thanks for the birthday gift of time daddy. I left feeling validated. This was a timely reminder that truly, it’s never that serious (most of the stuff we take seriously). Sometimes we give less important stuff too much urgency and forget what really matters in life. I felt ashamed thinking that Monday would have been just another blue day for me yet it was a very special day. My baby girl was turning two and that was cause for celebration and thanksgiving.
I think life has a way of making us feel like the outcome of things depends largely or sometimes entirely on us. That increases the tension we do life with. We slowly become control freaks trying to control the outcome of everything we want. It takes wisdom. Just like the serenity prayer says, we should pray for the courage to change the things we can, serenity to accept the things we can’t and the wisdom to know the difference.
I believe if we can crack that one reality, we begin to loosen the grip with which we live life with. Remember, if we hold things too tight then we choke the life out of them. But if we open our hands, then we receive. May we learn to positively accept curve balls and detours that come our way for this might just be the antidote we need to loosen up and take life less seriously.
I tend to think that to live a second half of impact and significance will require us to interact with life not too tightly. That we will need to hold things a bit loosely. Maybe that will be the indicator to know what is ours to keep and what will fly away. My baby shark gave me that reminder as a present on her birthday by being under the weather. Talk of reversed roles. Thank you Bobo. Your birthday cake awaits you at the end of your recovery soon.