Time sure does fly. Where were you 18 years ago? Do you even remember? What would you have told your 18 year old self?
I turned 18 while in high school in the middle of major exams. However, I was looking forward to living the life. I knew it was going to be great but had no clue what was ahead of me. I did not do much when I completed my high school education apart from to watch TV, sleep for long and eat. There was time for all that especially after all the hard work put in while in my last year of high school. Now when I look back, I should have considered venturing into acquiring new skills perhaps. However, I was happy to have come of age and the greatest achievement then was getting my identification card.
Something significant happened in my life 18 years ago. It was a normal day though the doctor had mentioned that the 19th of November would be my EDD, estimated date of delivery. I checked into the hospital for a regular checkup. There were no signs that the baby would come that day but somehow the doctor told me that I needed to be admitted so that they could monitor the baby’s movements. My swollen self was okay with the doctor’s recommendation.
The waiting ward was a whole new experience altogether. A lady next to me was screaming like she had been paid to do so. A nurse was on her case for failing to follow her instructions, which had led to this lady messing herself up. The nurse mentioned to me that the ‘best’ wailers in the wards were Asian women and women from the western part of our country. Another expectant mother was on the other bed, in pain but quieter. She was taken away after a short while.
A priest walked in to pray for the expectant mothers. He found me reading a book and said it was strange I was so calm. On my part, I wondered why he would visit the maternity wards to talk to expectant mothers whose primary concern at that point was getting the babies out, some cursing the men who got them there.
A male nurse later walked in and told me to part my legs for some shaving. Wait a minute. What did you say? He was not smiling and meant what he said. No one had warned me about this part. He did his thing and minutes later, the doctor checked how far the baby was. He told me that he cannot detect the baby’s pulse rate, meaning a fetal distress. There I was lost in thought wondering what could have gone wrong as papers were handed to me to sign my dear life away since I was going into theater for a surgery.
God’s presence was with me. I felt it. Two hours later, I woke up to the most beautiful thing I had seen in my life. She was mine. I couldn’t believe it since I had gone through a rough patch before her birth. I held her in my arms with tears in my eyes, promising her that I would never let her go and will do my best to ensure she lives a good life.
18 years down the line. I have to contend with another matter. I have to learn to let her go. You see, she is of age now. We have done our best to raise her up to this point by God’s grace. We have given her what we feel was best for her, even though it may have resulted in sulking, fighting, or silence on her part. God has allowed us to pour a lot into her life. It has not been easy. There have been moments of serious struggles. Financial hardships, different ideologies of life, calls for hard work for her own sake, trying to set a good example by living right but failing on a number of occasions as she watched us, and much more.
The good definitely outweighs any struggles I have had. My daughter is beautiful, intelligent, confident, mature, works hard and is good company, among many other attributes.
I would like to wish her a wonderful life ahead. I would like her to know that so much lies in store for her if only she believes in herself. Many women are soaring to greater heights due to the doors that have been opened for them. She is privileged to be living in such times.
To you my daughter, please remember:
Believe in yourself. This is important. The world out there is cruel. People will try to put you down but you have to believe in yourself and your abilities.
Don’t be defined by societal norms. Be yourself. Defy the limits set. You can make it at 25, 30, 50, whatever age. Don’t be fixed in a box defined by others. Marriage, children, career progression are all fine. Be you. The world will adjust.
If you fall, get up. Failure is part of life. The key thing is to learn from past failures and move forward. Don’t be too hard on yourself. If you feel frustrated with such failures, talk to someone and don’t hold it all in.
Serve the God of your father and mother. I know too well that God needs to be at the center of our lives. I know that He is good, faithful, wonderful, loving and so much more. I trust that you will remember what we have taught you and that you will get to serve Him diligently all the days of your life. It is rewarding.
LOVE. LIVE. LAUGH.
To my husband, son, family and friends that have had an impact or influence in my daughter’s life, thank you. I don’t have enough words to appreciate your love, care, counsel and giving into our daughter’s life.
This celebration is our celebration.
The Lord bless you and keep you: the Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you. Numbers 6.24-25