The Journey Ahead

Updated on January 16, 2019
Sitawa Margaret profile image

Sitawa is a mother of two from Kenya who identifies with other parents on the challenges of bringing up children the right way.

The journey ahead

The journey's beginning

She put her hand out to him and he clutched it tightly afraid that he’d fall if he was left to walk alone. This was his first time walking outside; the dried hard mud road and stones was not an easy road for a year old baby. She could see that his shoes were a bit heavy for him but at 2$, they were the only ones she could afford at that time. He looked up at her and smiled, this new experience was proving to be enjoyable for him. She smiled back, happy that her decision to walk would be a happy moment for his son. A second time mother, she had learned that children need not be overly sheltered.

Slowly they made their way to her daughter’s Kindergarten. She dreaded this trip, the term was almost halfway through and she still had not paid a single sent of the school fees required. She was embarrassed and she made sure to avoid the head teacher whenever she dropped off and picked up her daughter. They had been lenient with her regarding her payment but she felt undeserving of it. She was not at peace any time she was at the school and she hoped her salary would finally kick in. it had been 4 months since she’d last been paid.

Single parenthood

Her thoughts went to her daughter’s father and wondered if he’d ever lift a finger in his child’s upbringing. They had talked during the beginning of the year and he had vowed to pay for tuition. Gripped with guilt and shame, he’d said that he would be more involved and she remembered feeling relieved that finally she would get some help. She’d called him when her daughter first enrolled in school and he’d agreed heartily to send the money. That was in May, September now and she’d not received a sent form him yet.

The employment rate was low and due to delayed payment in her previous job, she had no choice but to resign. She could not afford to go to work anymore. Her nanny had left and she was not able to take her son to his usual day care. Now at her mom’s house, house chores were her daily routine. Her son’s father still struggling to get employed had not turned out to be helpful as she’d thought. At 23, this was not the life she’d envisioned for herself as her mother did not fail to remind her time and again the mess she’d put herself in.

The journey's end

They had now passed the last corner on the way and she looked at her son again. .Sensing he was getting tired, she picked him up. Sweat on his forehead dripped and he seemed glad to be carried. Five seconds later and it would have been loud cries. She passed another mother carrying her son on her back looking at her disapprovingly probably wondering why she wasn’t doing the same. The shop on her right had the cheap lollipops and she made a mental note to buy two on her way back, give her children. Her daughter loved them and her coin home back could do without 10 cents for a couple of smiles from her.

The sun was now on their back and the back side of her neck felt the heat. She could feel her son’s added weight on her arms and her heart rate increased. This was a good sign for her, he had been a sickly baby and the hospital trips and late night cries had left her weary. His first two teeth had left him bed ridden for a whole week, one she would never forget. Sleeping during the day, wailing at night had been the norm that period. She had never been tired in her life like she had been that fateful week.

The journey ahead

She would soon have to start potty-training now that he was walking. The diapers had become less easy to acquire and she had to reduce dependence on them. This took her back to her daughter’s training. It was a difficult time that had made them both miserable. She had been pregnant with her son and she was and year and a half then. Her fatigue and nausea coupled with depression was not a god atmosphere for her and her daughter then. She had finally learnt in time before her son’s arrival and she was relieved that she wouldn’t have to change diapers for both of them.

Dealing with both of them proved tasking the first weeks of his son’s arrival. The after effects of the delivery were much worse than she remembered from her previous experience. The headaches, cramping and bleeding took a toll on her. With the chores she still had to undertake slowed down her healing process. Grateful for how far she’d come, she knew the road ahead needed her all. She held her son on her right side and smiled at the young man who greeted her at the gate.

All the kids were at the playground. They seemed so carefree and she wondered if her daughter would come to know of her struggles now. “Mum, mum!” her daughter called her out as soon as she spotted her. She came running to her, happy and hugged her tightly. Her son moved around excited at the meeting that was going on. She instructed her to go take her bag and go to the gate. This needed to be done swiftly in case the head teacher came out of her office. She walked out, never looking back. Her daughter glad to be going on, took hold of her left hand waiting for her to lead the way. Another day almost done, she looked ahead the road to home and began the journey. Hopefully, the journey ahead will be much brighter.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Sitawa


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