There is no better feeling on earth than being born; you begin owning free things like air. So I was born; 23 years ago on a Monday. As mom looked forward to Monday blues, I came.
I am not sure whether there were baby showers during those days, but I want to believe there were. I imagine how mom was surprised by her girls one month to my coming. How they were colorfully dressed in blue and pink because she didn’t know my gender yet; how they suggested sweet, simple English names; well, some of them suggested Gikuyu names. Clue: Wairimu (which is my baptismal name) is not English. Her friends must have been very creative. I can picture the girls posing touching the baby bump, and the camera man giving heads up and saying `haya, one, two, three, paragasha’. There were very few camera people, and one had to book them three months prior to the event; they would always show up late or even bail. Then, gadgets like kadunda phones were far away from Kenya; somewhere in China being transported by a tuktuk.
On Monday, 16th August, I arrived in style; crying classically like the princess I am. We got home, and people could not stop coming to greet me; of course with a couple of gifts. I can imagine how I would cry and resist being in some people’s arms (for the few men I have dissed; this is where it all started) and then dad would sing me sweet songs to trigger my beautiful smile. I can imagine the people who told mom and dad…awww too cute, how mom’s pals (those who were yet to have kids) would hold me and say `baby fever’ to their hearts….the INSTAGRAM WAY. Well, then there were no platforms to pour your heart out.
I can imagine how many boys asked my brother ` can I get close to your beautiful sister?’ I am sure my brother’s response would be `ninunulie toffee kwanza ndio niitikie umkaribie’. Do you imagine all those patcos, cooos, and toffees, my bro feasted on courtesy of me? Very many…..and he is still eagerly waiting for dowry. Was that not enough? Ha ha.
Birthdays then were the real deal. Other than assembling in that home with a GREAT WALL to watch Vitimbi and Omo pick-a-box, birthdays also brought kids together. During my birthday, I slept assuring my lips that the following day they would be surprised by QUENCHER juice. Mom would dress me in that white dress of `gishungi’, white stockings and palms; this would not be complete without a white kofia with a string that ran from the head all the way to the neck. I would then rush to the flower garden and pick the red leaves, extract the color and apply on my lips to make lipstick. That explains why I only do lipstick on occasions, nilianza kitambo. I looked like a flower girl.
Mom’s friends would come in to help prepare chapatti and my pals and I would hang around the kitchen complaining how hungry we are so that the women passed some chapattis our way. The house would be decorated with balloons and the cake mom had baked branded `happy birthday Kabii’ (that is my household name) would be set on the high table. We could all assemble in the sitting room, food was served, and then cake was cut. I would give mom and dad first, then my siblings, then the elders and finally the kids. I ensured that those kids who had refused to share their patcos with me on school days would be the last; they had to learn from their mistakes. Juice would then be served, and when it seemed insufficient, one woman would over-dilute it to ensure it was enough. Colored water is all people wanted.
Then there was a session of presenting gifts. Most of the sweaters, handkerchiefs and dolls I had then were birthday gifts. The photo session was continuous and captured particular moments like cate-cutting, gift presenting, people taking juice, Kabii and friends, Kabii and family, Kabii and everyone. We would wait for 2months before the cameraman (it was always a man) brought the photos and then we would load the album. The album was used to entertain visitors because then TV was not to be switched on during the day. In the evening as we returned the album, there was always at least one photo missing because someone stole it; damn it was impossible to post pics so that people could just `steal’ by downloading. Now I am 23, a lot has changed only that you can still steal my photos from my social media albums and it better be accompanied by a happy birthday. Ahem!
Do I still accept gifts? Of course….they all are welcome.
Some of you could be seriously stuck at what to get this young soul on her birthday. My love for cars is genuine….not men with cars, afana, the machine itself. Do you know Volkswagen Beetle? I wouldn’t mind if it were my first ride. I might be giving someone ideas for a birthday gift; you know.
And that birthday cake surprise from my cousins a week ago was a pacesetter. You guys are way creative; that birthday remix killed it; you are the best.