Walking down the stairs I smiled to myself, deeply! I had just left home to pick up some essentials from the supermarket. Before leaving, I had asked him to come along since he was home for half term and he said no. He preferred to stay home- alone!
Let me paint the full picture.

He is the youngest person at home. From when he was barely months old, it was common practice that he was never left alone. In fact when his sister who was already of school going age by the time he was born, was invited to a party, (there were many birthday parties) it was a requirement that the invite allowed for two children. There was a party or two where he was almost seen as an inconvenience to her because she was among her peers and having baby brother who could not play like the others was not exciting!
One particular incidence all of us attended a wedding and we left him home.

By then he was crawling and it was quite a challenge moving with him for functions.
He sensed that we were leaving him home; the girl who stayed with him took him for a walk in order to distract him so that the rest of us would ‘safely’ get out of the house without him noticing it.
That was early afternoon and we got back home about 9pm.

I will never forget the anguish I felt when I saw him as he slept that night. He had cried from the time he discovered we had left him and had only managed to drift off to sleep. Even in his sleep, his breathing indicated he was still crying. He has a very generous spirit and loves to be around people. In earlier years he always sobbed bitterly whenever school ended because he would miss school and his friends. He was inconsolable, weeping from the depth of his being that anyone who saw him would be moved to tears too.
Now imagine my reaction when he told me that he was okay and wanted to stay home alone.
I’m still not sure whether it is a growing independence or a new phase of life or because he is quickly becoming his own person with no one to fight with over the television set. I remember the days when I would literally run home to be with the children because they always stayed alone seeing there was no house-help. I would be frantic because I knew the house would be a big mess. But more importantly, the children needed some adult company. Homework needed to be supervised; some members would not finish their food unless someone was hanging over them with a ladle to threaten them to finish up.
There was a time the children would not sleep unless you were around to tuck them in bed and in those times you would find such dirty feet, someone needed to be forced into the bathroom.
Just like the evolution of the smart phone I now have independent spirits each making their mark, oh how we have grown!

- mirembeabola@gmail.com