Look within

April four, 1954 marked the beginning of my journey on earth.

The second child from my father’s third wife, thus my birth wasn’t significant. Not being a son made it even worse, father took one look at me and stalked off into the bushes. Mother called me Nkejika, father called me Odiozo, I guess he was starting to accept the gods had caused his seed to never rise as planters only  incubators.

 Mother said he would learn to love us, my sister accepted it, but I couldn’t wait for the day when he gushed over me in love. I woke up every day hoping it would be that day.

I went hunting by myself, I laid the bounty at his feet. He mumbled his admiration.

I went to the maidens dance, the prince took an interest in me, not the heir to the throne, though. Father proclaimed his approval, I was indifferent.

I’ve spent every step of my life reaching for love, who’s to say this won’t be another level of deferred love?


Arrrrgghhh! I am so not feeling this story.

In response to the writing challenge flash fiction for aspiring writers hosted by Priceless Joy click on the link to visit the blog. The photograph is from the lovely Joy Pixley (interesting photo can’t wait to see all the stories it inspires) and the challenge is to write a 100 – 150 words (+/- 25 words) story inspired by it. Do click on the link for other stories. 

 

Failure to launch; independent children

Failure to launch is a funny movie; Matthew McConaughey plays the lead role of a thirty-five-year-old bachelor who still lives at home with his parents and has no plans of moving out. On the surface the story seems rather straightforward, he’s simply grown cold feet to the idea of living by himself. His friends Ace and Demo are no help either as they both live with their parents at home or so it seems on the surface. Present society frowns a lot at such activities, i.e the idea of a grown adult still ‘living off his parents’. It is seen as the movie is aptly titled a ‘failure of the individual to launch’, a failure of his/her parents to nudge them in the right direction. To snip the apron strings.

We are a very independent generation, we want to spread our wings as far as possible, we want to mount the highest peaks without any aid. Parents are coerced to encourage their offspring to stand on their own two feet as soon as possible literally and figuratively. Teachers, health workers, doctors are encouraged to ask children questions that encourage independence, questions which often lead to a certain desired answer. Parents are encouraged to have sleep routines, codes of behavior and learning objectives for each child. It’s no wonder extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping are frowned upon by a lot of people.

Being independent isn’t the absence of weakness or a presence of stable strength.  Being independent is having the ability to shoulder the level of responsibility appropriate for an individual’s mental and physical state per time. Individuals often aren’t aware of what they can handle which is why life steps in to throw challenges at us. For children, parents are often the tools used to point out these milestones, however, learning or surmounting these milestones must be done by the child with or without the assistance of the parent. How does this relate to extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping?

Let’s go back to the movie, Tripp (the character played by Matthew McConaughey) lives at home with his parents as a result of his fiancees’ death.  He sought solace in the one place he knew he would find it, a move born out of a need. Living at home with his parents was not a problem of any sort at first. Going by his mother’s account, his presence pushed the fear of facing an empty nest with her husband into the distance future. However, at some point his presence did become a strain for them not a bad unbearable strain, rather a strain they could do without if it could be managed in a loving way that left everyone feeling happy. Sadly, in real life we have limited options either to let the process run its cause or we rudely interrupt or we intervene in the most gentle manner we can, ready to soothe ruffled feathers through the process.

This is the same with the case of extended breastfeeding and co-sleeping, no one except mother and child should decide when the process has run its due cause. It is not about nutrition as breast milk regardless of age maintains its nutritional value. It is not about independence as no child is self-sufficient at the age in question. Taking into consideration the definition of independence given in the previous paragraph one might be tempted to conclude that extended breastfeeding might hinder a child’s growth. This ideology, however, would be considered unfounded by several studies which have associated high levels of independence in children who experience constant loving and appropriate physical contact with their care givers/ parents.

There are no universal rules or manuals about parenting that fits every situation and life divide. Being independent is very important, a vital component for a balanced adult but we must be careful to help our little ones attain that height without feeling smothered or abandoned. As with everything in the life of your child, you only learn what they need or don’t need by paying attention to them and to your intuition. There is no shame in extended breastfeeding or in stopping at any point, there is, however, a sense of betrayal when your needs or your child’s need are buried under society’s acceptance or any other obligation. Don’t aggressively start the nudge for independence (fashion,mental, diet, health) or ignore the cues of independence either.  

Parenting is the toughest job in the world, but your children will teach you the skills you need provided you don’t juxtapose your desires over them or interpret their needs subjective to your feelings.

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Full cycle

A season in my life has passed.

The leaves on the tree fall down to the earth, a rusty red, yellow and brown mulch carpet enriching the earth, keeping it safe. Just like Agnes, Edna and my George lying six feet beneath the earth, watching over me.

Memories of three little girls who won’t let a little boy into their secret lair within the wooden shed flood my mind. George never gave up, though, he pestered us day and night, interrupting every meeting. Soon he became our captain and we were his loyal musketeers. A friendship that blossomed well into our teenage years, until he went to college. And when He visited it was like he never left, slowly a special cord was strung between the two of us. The rest they say is history.

Agnes always teased that I was never the first to try out anything new, thus it wasn’t a surprise that they all went before me. Relaxing my back against the wooden shed, I close my eyes, I feel safer crossing over now.

Copyright Phylor

In response to the writing challenge flash fiction for aspiring writers hosted by Priceless Joy click on the link to visit the blog. The photograph is from the lovely Phylor (interesting photo can’t wait to see all the stories it inspires) and the challenge is to write a 100 – 150 words (+/- 25 words) story inspired by it. Do click on the link for other stories. 

Choosing choices, owning choices.

No one not even a child likes to have the right to choose taken from them. There is a certain privilege, a sense of ownership that comes with following one’s personal choice. This ranges from choices of simple matters like what to eat to complex issues of whom to trust, life will always present us with situations that appraise our sense of judgment in a moment. There are times in life when it seems like we have less of a choice to make, and more of an obligation to fulfill. For example, deciding whom to vote for in the ongoing American presidential contest is one of such obligation rather than choice situations or a choice between homelessness and a job that has nothing to do with your preferences but everything to do with keeping a roof over your head. When none of the options available come close to your personal ideals, life can feel very limiting, even claustrophobic.

Definitions of choice:

  • An act or the possibility of choosing:
  • The range of different things from which you can choose
  • Of high quality

Based on the above definitions individuals could be said to have a choice over a situation when presented with varied options to pick from with no limits or barriers except your personal preference. There are times when the best choice available isn’t necessarily your personal option. In such instances we might find ourselves in a quandary, often becoming defensive when our choices are questioned or appraised. Society, friends, relatives (both well-meaning and otherwise) often feel obligated to foist their personal choices on us. Sometimes it is done subtly with hints and suggestions e.g. an acquaintance; colleague or family member at a wedding might ask ‘when are we getting invites from you?’ or ‘Wow your little one is so grown up she must be itching for a playmate.’ Or ‘you know these bills won’t pay themselves, imagine what a proper career what do for you?’ And sometimes you get the blunt person who blurts out their choice for you ‘I think it’s time you got married and might I suggest you take Harry seriously.’

In all honesty, sometimes we need those ‘foisted suggestions’ to give us a wake-up call, and whilst the manner in which those suggestions/choices are presented is important, the more important issue is how you handle them and what you do with the choices. Do you become adapted to the choice? Or do you take ownership of the choice? Adapting to a choice is easier than taking ownership of a choice. You can positively adapt to a choice which is to do as you’ve been advised or something along those lines. Or you could negatively adapt, this involves ignoring all suggestions and taking a defiant stance. Whichever form of adaptation you choose, you subconsciously leave a leeway to place the blame for any misfortune as a result of that choice on another party other than yourself. ‘If you hadn’t told me’, ‘if they hadn’t been asking,’ lots of If’s and regrets.

Taking ownership however, means sitting back to internalize the choices or suggestions presented to you; to mull them over and decide whether or not to go for it in that moment or in the future or not ever. It also means to adapt the choice(s) available to your own personal taste and personality, without losing the main objective. This is a tough process as it means you refuse to blame anyone for the outcome of those choices except indeed they’re to blame. It often also requires personal changes and perhaps sacrifice, but these are all things we would naturally anticipate if we had thought of those choices by ourselves. Since no man is an island and sometimes we often miss what’s in front of us, we must be willing to accept that sometimes others are indeed just looking out for us. So go on and take ownership of those choices.

Lost love

Why did she give it to me? I felt scorched by the crochet lace.

Arianna watched as her daughters expression changed from apprehension, to anger, to betrayal.

“Mia I am not judging you.”

Choking  down threathening tears “then why have you given this to me, you know that David and I already live together.”

“It’s a gift of love Mia, a welcome blanket to another phase of your life as a wife.”

“But I am no longer  ….”

“I know. I wish you had kept the tradition, but what good is it if you don’t feel or understand the love that shaped it.”

Copyright - Rochelle Wisoff-Fields
Copyright Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Written for Friday fictioneers a writing challenge hosted by Rochelle. The picture was provided by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, the task is to write a 100 words story inspired by it. Thanks Rochelle for hosting the challenge. Thank you for stopping by… do click on the link to read other stories.

 

Inopportune

I stood back as hubby kissed his parents goodbye. Thankful for the fifteen hour journey back to my personal space. I have never been so excited to say goodbye.

“Don’t feed the baby all that ghee, you’re overfeeding him.”

“Have you given him ghee today, look at his tiny limbs. Don’t you ever feed him?”

As far as my mother-in-law was concerned her grandson was doomed.

Yet now she screams like a crazed woman? Extolling my mothering skills at the grave.

Perhaps if she had been kind I won’t have nagged hubby to move our departure flight forward. Perhaps …

copyright-Rich Voza
Copyright Rich Voza

Written for Friday fictioneers a writing challenge hosted by Rochelle. The picture was provided by Rich Voza, the task is to write a 100 words story inspired by it. Thanks Rochelle for hosting the challenge. Thank you for stopping by… do click on the link to read other stories.

Brick by brick … 2

This is the continuation of a story.

To read the first part click here.

Agnes took in scene around her absent mindedly, the journey from Bristol to London wasn’t really a long or entertaining one.

If anything she felt a bit apprehensive, Alana had sounded a right bag of mixed emotions when she called to invite her for the christening. After grandma’s burial, Philip seemed to have turned a genuine corner, they bought the house taking out a huge mortgage as Agnes had suspected, baby Lucas made an appearance a day short of his due date, but that was fine too as he screamed the hospital down, there was no denying his lungs. Alana had felt a little short changed as she had wanted a girl ever so much. But that is now history as she absolutely adores him.

Alana was living her dream, or so Agnes thought until she spoke to Maddy. See Philip didn’t buy the house or take out the mortgage in their name, neither did he contribute as much to paying the bills as Alana had hoped. And when he lost his job three months after Lucas was born the merger amount he contributed became extinct. Alana would have stayed oblivious to all of it, if he hadn’t left following a meltdown last month, during which he called Alana ‘a daydreaming-man-leech’ proving to be the turd Agnes had always suspected him to be.

Soon, the lightening-wolf came calling, he was accompanied by the brick-wolf, aqua-wolf, and domestus-wolf. They howled, they puffed in their torrents through the letter box. They threatened to bring the house down round Alana’s ear. Maddy thought Alana might lose the house and acquire a huge debt.

Agnes hadn’t known what to say in response to all the bad news, well she did want to say I-told-you-so but thought it might be in bad taste so she switched to asking about Maddy’s business. That equally didn’t go down the happy route. Maddy was learning business 101 the hard way. Thankfully she had taken Agnes’ advice and done a course in pet grooming and management, a skill that came in handy when she had to fire a staff member to keep cost down.

That had really upset her, she wanted to keep everyone happy, she soon learnt that it might come at a hefty price to do so and since she didn’t have magic elves or a wand, she settled for doing things peacefully. The wolves had also come calling in their torrents, they gobbled up every tiny bit of profit she managed to scrape-by. Though she wouldn’t admit it publicly she was starting to grow a healthy respect for all her previous bosses, how they had managed to pay those bills without her knowing they existed was remarkable. Thanking she wasn’t in debt but she was up to her eyeballs with bookings and management tasks to stay that way.

Agnes smiled as she remembered Maddy’s response when she asked if she was dating anyone, “errrrggghhhh, do I sound like I need an emotional-wolf clawing at my tail at the moment? No thank you.”

Everyone was going through a tough time at the moment, hopefully it all settled down soon. Yes, everyone, she was included. She had bought two homes at auction, a first time for her, and she had held her ground. The pecks of living in quiet community, housing prices aren’t so high. It hadn’t been an easy task refurbishing the houses, dealing with trades men and legal issues, but it was very rewarding. It had all being relatively smooth sailing, she had hit the rock with one of her tenants who decided to help her save money by not paying rent. Eight months in and the life of a landlord was proving not so easy to manage.

The wolves would keep howling, their homes might tremble a bit, but brick by brick they would build a future. The train pulled into the station, time to meet her nephew, to help his mum push those wolves a few steps away from the thresh-hold.

Twice as much.

Dear baby L,

you turned two this month; two for the number of lovely arms that hug me goodnight, two for the number of little legs playing round the house.

Two for the lovely pair of eyes that smile at me, two for a set of listening ears catching every phrase and sound.

Two a number I hope let’s you know that I’ll always be there for you,

Love,

a learning mum.

three line tales week 16 – letterbox
Copyright Kirsty TG

Written for Sonya’s TLT – WEEK SIXTEEN.

I tried to use the comma’s to make it into long sentences while sticking to the three lines rule.

Let me know if it worked.

Ma’s arm

The crink in my neck is terrible, waiting lounges tend to have that effect.

The boys weren’t making things easier either; bouncing off the wall one minute, rolling on the floor the next.

I wouldn’t be making this trip if it wasn’t for ma, I don’t want her to miss out on the boys too.

Our five bedroom house is complete, just as Pa and I always dreamed, sadly we would not share the memory of tiny feet running across the marble tiles together.

Ma says they spent his last days whispering a blessing over us.

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll
Copyright J Hardy Carroll

Sorry my story isn’t very impressive or interesting to me today.

Written for Friday fictioneers a writing challenge hosted by Rochelle. The picture was provided by J Hardy Carroll and the task is to write a 100 words story inspired by it. Thanks Rochelle for hosting the challenge. Thank you for stopping by… do click on the link to read other stories.

Two sided

Scene one:

Mr X at the office:

At the office he carries out every task as designated by his boss.

Sitting at the conference table he speaks with great charisma, his enigma exuding through the room, a man of great talent, he dazzles his peers.

“Can you run through these facts again?” demands the equally unquivering voice of his boss.

He missed out a tiny details, a mere oversight.

Yikes! Thankfully the boss was able to overlook it this time, can’t let that happen again.


Mr Y at his business premise:

Screaming obscenties at the costumer, “I don’t want to see you near my stall again, useless person. Go and see if anyone will sell you materials at that price.”

“It is a market place and I am allowed to price things, no need to become abusive.”

“That one is english you’re speaking, don’t carry that your bad juju near my shop again ohh. Stingy human being, poverty will soon catch you.”

Walking away feeling slightly embarassed the customer approached the next shop hoping to get a better deal and less attitude.

…..oO0……

Scene Two:

Mr X at home.

“Honey I am home.”

“Welcome darling, how was work today? Hope it wasn’t too bad?”

“No, where is my food?”

“It’s almost done.”

“Almost done, I am really tired and hungry. What have you been doing since you got back from work?”

“You mean since I got back from work and picking the kids?” Laughing “Sweetheart It will soon be ready.”

Thirty minutes later, the meal is served. Taking a few mouthful.

“This food is absolutely rubbish, what did you do, just mix everything up together?”

“Honey it’s not like that, it must be ….”

And that was how the fight started …

Sometime before midnight a jaw bone was broken, a heart raced in anger, another suffered profuse internal flooding as emotions rumbled and roared within, fear lead the losing cause.

He submitted to his boss, but not to the one he loved.

He yielded his emotions to learning and sharing at work, but not to the one he made a vow.

Perhaps his priorities are screwed, perhaps he feels submitting to love weakens him and submitting to money empowers him.


My Y at home:

“My darling wife well done, this meal you made was very tasty.”

“Thank you my husband, how was today? Hope market sold well?”

“Yes oh, the day has gone the way God desired. That reminds me where you able to buy the childrens school books and uniform.”

“Yes I was and I got them for a very good bargain. I priced until the seller almost chased me away.” They both laughed.

“You do well my dear, I can always trust you to be frugal with out resources. That is why you will always be my darling wife, the odozi aku of my life.”

He forgets the lady at his shop was someone’s wife.

He forgets that as he treated one outside, he empowered society to treat those within his household.

Perhaps he feels ‘ours’ and ‘theirs’ are worlds apart, perhaps he feels if I don’t siton my own basket no one else would, he forgets  the world isn’t a one man island.


Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.
Ephesians 5:21

To submit to another is not an indication of irrelevance, submission allows for structure to reign. Your boss doesn’t also know better or act better but the bulk stops at their table; a process of orderliness. We stay with jobs, organistions, bosses and systems that are less than we hope for, submitting to it’s dictates and demands, but at the least challenge we thow in the towel or throw insome punches into our marriage.

Male and female we must learn to submit to each other at home and in public. It’s a mark of respect not weakness. I am still in the process of working out my submission skills.

Note: I don’t not in anyway advocate staying in an abusive relationship.