Recently, I was having a conversation with one of the children on an issue we have spoken about not once, not twice, not three times. I called the child and spoke to them very calmly I was surprised by my level of calmness. I asked how many times we had spoken about it and he very humbly looked down. I asked him several questions to which he could hardly bring himself to comment.

This child of mine is the type who can from time to time express himself, he will mention that he doesn’t understand and a few times he can challenge you but this time round he was absolutely quiet and looked down many times. I normally tell the children how brilliant and smart they are and how I get surprised when they do foolish acts.

Reflecting on this conversation as well as several others that I have heard with these Ugandans under my loving care I wouldn’t help remembering that indeed this is a journey. I remembered the many times we have spoken about unmade beds, about clothes thrown across the room. The many times we have spoken about completing homework. We have had serious spanking sessions. And yet again and again we are faced with the same predicament very much like nothing was ever said.

Learning is a never ending journey; it’s very much like life itself. Even as adults we are always learning, always growing. I find I’m a more learned parent today than I was four or seven or 10 years ago. I find I’m a lot more tolerant, I’m more understanding and many things that drove me insane don’t bother me as much these days. Once in a while I will not only stand a dirty bathroom but will get down and do the cleaning myself. I don’t know how many times I pick up lost socks or the many times I have unblocked a blocked sink. I continue to carry an extra comb and tin of body oil in the car for individuals who for some reason only remember that the hair needs to be brushed when we have reached our desired destination.

It takes a whole 40weeks to turn one cell into a fully-fledged human being complete with lungs, kidneys, legs and eyes. And yet when that precious being is out of the mother’s womb the dear fellow can hardly open their eyes and their only instinct is towards the mother’s breast and the ability to cry.

Those are some of my meditations as I clean up again and again. The gentle reminder that this is work in progress and that as we continue to take another step and then another, we are walking towards perfection. I’m confident that one day we shall all look back and not only laugh about the history and milestones but we shall celebrate the memories and bask in the fortitude of who we shall have become. It’s an incredible journey one walks as a parent!
-jmabola@yahoo.com