It had only been a year but to her it felt like forever. It felt like the only thing she had looked forward to since her birth was that first step. While her parents fought over which words she would utter first, all she had on her mind was her first step. “Da-da” or “Ma-ma” could come later. She didn’t quite know which of her parents would take the cup on the day she would speak her first words but she wanted it to be different from the norm. She didn’t know which of the two most important words would be easier on her tongue. She hoped that the ability to speak would come naturally; that she would cross that bridge when she got there. There was a problem though. She loved both of her parents so much that she wanted her first words to be a win-win situation. She wished that she would utter “Da-Ma” or “Ma-Da”, you know, anything that wouldn’t make any of them feel shortchanged. Her first words would no doubt be a memorable “event” for her parents and she wanted both of them to have something to say/ be proud about when they went down memory lane years later.
First things first though. That first step on her own. She had been working on it for as long as she could remember. She had figured that to walk, her limbs needed to be stronger. She needed to eat all those things Mama said were essential for her growth. Like any normal child, there were foods that didn’t go well with her sense of taste. She had an issue with those drinks that were thick. Her idea was that a drink was meant to go down her throat easy and thus ease mealtimes. No wonder she had an issue with porridge but when she heard people talk about ‘eating’ it she figured maybe it wasn’t a drink really and she learned to accept it. After all, Mama had said that it was nutritious so she would take her word for truth. Mama had lots of experience anyway while she, on the other hand was only what, several months old? She refrained.
She enjoyed sunsets and sunrise with Papa. There was something about the warmth of the early morning and evening sun that she couldn’t quite describe. She would have likened it to something to make comprehension easier but she had only been in the world so long. There was no other experience akin to basking in the sun with Papa. Moreover, she had heard him say that Vitamin D was good for her bone formation so she was getting closer to her dream while still totally enjoying those bonding moments. It was like having her cake and eating it.
Her eyesight was really good and she was able to distinguish the colour scheme of the sun setting in the horizon. She hadn’t learned the names given to the colours yet but she could tell they were different. The orange and yellow and a round light in the middle that was too bright to look straight at. She figured that that was the sun and it was the source of the mild heat that she and Papa basked in every so often. Sunrise found her asleep on many occasions so she could identify more with the sunset which she associated with Papa returning from that place he went five days a week. She would later find out that he went to work. For a moment she hated work for taking Papa away but life taught her that it was important to help him put food on the table. Food was important since it’d help her grow and soon enough she would get to take her first step. The vision of her dream coming true would keep her going.
Life had become her newest teacher and it was clear that she was a good student. She enjoyed learning by observations and making inferences but sometimes life hit her so hard, she didn’t know if it was worth holding on to a dream that felt so distant. She had thought strength was all that was needed and the rest would take care of itself but when she hit her head on the edge of a table on an attempt to stand on her own, she didn’t need convincing that more was of essence. She got hit hard, and she felt a pain she had never felt before. She cried, obviously, but it was beyond her to control. She realised it made her feel better so it was no loss after all. She then learned that sitting and crawling were part of the race. She was learning from her mistakes and keeping her eyes on the prize.
For a moment she thought she had made it but she came to learn that standing on her own and getting to walk on her own were totally different things. She enjoy pacing around while holding onto walls, tables or anything that could support her tiny frame. She practised a lot on the walking but it hit her that she would need more than practice. Courage was of essence and it was something she had to learn. She would only achieve her dream if she was able to get rid of the fear that crippled her every time she tried to let go of her objects of support. She didn’t know where to find courage outside of herself. She felt that it had to come from within. The searching was another race altogether. Her dream felt so close, yet so far. The world had finished its lessons for this race and had left it up to her to make that final step. The step that seemed so easy required courage that she couldn’t quite master.
The darkest hour of the night comes before dawn. This was just a hint by life to help her. Life had taught her so much and it would have hated to watch her fail when she was so close to achieving her dream. Everyday she mustered more courage and build on what she already had. She hoped that one day the courage would be too much to hold in so she would take her first step to everyone’s surprise.
One sunset, when she and Papa were doing their usual bonding in the evening sun, she took Papa’s hand, clasped tightly on to it and she began to walk with him towards the direction of the sun. She had dreamed of taking her first step in the beautiful sunset and if it meant walking all the way to the horizon (if it was even remotely possible), she would do it. She would walk until she was able to confidently let go of Papa’s hand. Had she known that she would grow weary even before she was anywhere near the ‘horizon’, she would not have dared to take the first step then. But she didn’t know so she walked on. With each step, she loosened the grip on Papa’s hand. She wasn’t sure if she was ready but to let go but this time she would try. After all, she would never know if she didn’t try. Exactly twelve minutes into the walk, despite being very undecided, she overcame her fear and let go.
THERE! Her first step on her own… a second, third, fourth. Papa urged her on while her excitement grew with each step. Excitement affected her focus and she fell on the twelfth step and hurt her knee :-(. That wasn’t important though. All that mattered now was that her dream had come true. That she’d made the first step that would be a first of many others. 🙂
Oh, and life had began another set of classes. Wait, was pain always part of life’s lessons? She wasn’t sure yet, so she would ask life that in the next class. She would need to know what she’d gotten herself into by enrolling in the school of life :-\
(This post is a dedication to Tafakari’s one year anniversary that was on 21st May 2012. When I started, I could only imagine how it would feel being a year old. It was only but a hazy dream; an idea of what it would be like. I didn’t know if I would survive or if the experience I had gained over the years was enough to sustain the blog. I can’t tell how much longer it will be but now I know how it feels being a year old and I am thankful to God for making it all possible. For the ideas… the stories, the flow, the ability to write etc. All Glory to God. And to you all who have kept me going… this has been my little world, and y’all make my world :-). THANK YOU!!)
Oh, and the writer of this blog loves cake and/or chocolates. Just saying 😛