“Your children are sent through you, not to you” those were the words that changed my view of children and their place in my life. It’s also what birthed this post. Those words were spoken by a woman of God, I simply know as Funke. I don’t know her last name and I never met her. I merely listened to an audio tape of her message, which a former colleague had given me.
No matter what phone I use, I keep transferring it to my current phone. It’s a message that I have listened to, time and time again. I always find something new to pick from it, every time I listen. It is one way I get inspiration; when I need inspiration, I read or listen, or people watch. It’s amazing what you decipher at such times.
Back to the matter, my babies are an adorable lot. They make me shout, they make me laugh, they make me smile and they make me cry. Importantly, they make me pray. I see what is good in them, I affirm it, I speak it…and when I see what is not, I negate it and speak exactly how I feel about the situation. At such times when my babies find me mumbling, they ask me what I’m doing and I tell them, I’m praying. They are surprised because I had taught them to kneel down, hands together and eyes closed, when praying but there I was doing none of that.
When I heard those words for the first time, they hit me hard. I was shocked out of my senses. My beliefs were firmly shaken. Where I come from, having kids were a sign of achievement. Even if you were very poor, and hardly able to care for same kids, you still had them all the same, because it was probably the only thing going well for them in life. Having kids was the only bragging right they had, and the more the merrier.
So, it was quite a shock to my system, that those four children whom I have been blessed with were actually not my achievements. They were individuals in their own rights. They were persons, who just happened to be passing through my bus stop (my life) and were headed to their own bus stop. All I had was the privilege of molding the person they would become. And that is where my job ends. I’m not supposed to live my life through them, by making them achieve my own goals, I couldn’t achieve. I’m not expected to hijack their achievements and turn into my own. No, I’m not allowed to do that.
I have taken it a step further, as I constantly tell my babies, my oldest son especially, when he starts making his demands, that “I’m just your mother, not your God! Pray!” Well, that’s how I know how to deal with the situation nowadays. And if what he wants happens, I tell him to thank God, who made it possible. It is not me or his daddy. No. And now, that’s my achievement…that I’m able to make them know someone else other than their parents as their source. That is really an achievement for me; we are not where we should be, but one step at a time.
Before I jump too far ahead of myself, let’s start from the basics. As some of you know, my two pregnancies were surprises, albeit not totally pleasant surprises, but surprises nonetheless. I had no challenges conceiving them. While it was a conscious decision to make love, I had no conscious input in the nine-month journey that ensued. My body did what it was built to do. It nurtured, nourished the babies, until it was time to give birth to them. Tell me, where is the achievement in that? Mehn!, I had no input. It was all done for me, so how can I claim glory for a feat that I did not do.
Just the other day, my pastor was praying for babies for those seeking them, and I said Amen! When someone seated close to me asked if I was looking for the fruit of the womb, I sharply said no, and she turned to look at me properly and said in Yoruba language, “Nkan ti elomi nwa” meaning, what someone else is looking for. In that moment, my babies had become responsibilities, and I did not want anymore. I’m actually just recovering from the birth of the last set. After all, some moms say a child takes three years of your life. That is before they can start to do most things on their own. Thanks to the older twins of course, who have to help their younger ones, more times than they want to…but then, you can’t be a big sister or brother in words only, action must follow.
But what will I call them, if they are not my achievements? They are my joy…pure joy! My dream! My blessings and wishes but I definitely did not achieve them. Children just can’t be described as achievements any longer in my mind.
My kids give new meaning to my life. Before, all I cared about was looking good, doing well in school, and enjoying my husband…but with them in my life, my horizon has broadened. I see what they see, I see life through their eyes, I know what tickles them, what makes them sad, how much they hate being left out when their twin gets something. My life is richer for their presence in it, but they are not my accomplishment.
My achievement would be for me to create the right environment for them to grow to their full potential. The conducive atmosphere for them to thrive and be who God wants them to be. That would be my achievement but for me to claim a whole living human being as my achievement, I would have over stepped my boundaries.
“Na me create am?”
The answer is no.
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