Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Circle of Life

It was a couple of days before Christmas of 2010 and I was trying to tidy up things around my home and at the office. I was sitting at my office desk and staring into space. The wide-eyed stare began at least initially as my futile attempt to take one last quick glance at the “one item each Christmas shopping list” that I had posted on my wall when all of a sudden, I became lost in the space of my thoughts; simply staring at and through the wall. I wanted each of my children to list only one item they wanted that would make their Christmas extra special and they did on that paper. Dad and I will get it for them was my promise.  They have finally demystified the Santa illusion and knew mom and dad got them their presents and not Santa:-). I slipped back into the present and knew I had to leave right away. Like NOW!!!

I rushed off from the office for my last minute shopping to pick each of them their one special request and the emotion sweeps over me yet again. The holidays make me cry a lot for some weird reason. It might be the sentimental Christmas carols on the radio that trigger the sniffles or the sheer thought of what Christmas use to mean for me as a child. I could also attribute it to the astounding role reversal that happened to me really before I knew it. (That is what it feels like sometimes). Some really short years ago (it feels really like yesterday), my mom was doing just the same things that I was doing now, shopping for our new shoes and making our dresses, and baking cakes and chin-chin( fried dough usually made in West Africa for special occasions) in the days leading up to Christmas.  

My sisters and I were equally busy during the season just decorating and waiting for the big day.  All of a sudden, amidst these thoughts,  I really actually smelt that divine aroma of my mom’s Christmas baking  . . . Jeeez !!!  I swear even the air in my car also traveled  down memory lane with me.  It smelt the same way the Christmas air smelt when I was a child!  OOOOOOOOOkay . . . , that did not help my nostalgia at all. Another melt down began as I was stopped at a traffic light. The emotions quickly overwhelm me again and this time I felt the need to pack my car and really let it out. I ruined my make-up :-( Really bad idea for someone who is planning to shop. Walking into a store with a fresh and puffy face bereft of make-up is never coolJ. Miraculously, I managed to get through my shopping just before the 24th.

Back at the house, it was Christmas Eve for us. We (the children and myself) called my parents and wished them a happy Christmas since they were six hours ahead of us in Africa. I spoke to my mom and was just content to become the child from yester years all over again. (I usually do that in my room with the latch securely locked for privacy :-)). We talked about how Christmas used to be and she joked about still trying to add the last button to our dresses on the eve of Christmas so that we could look our best on the big day. I told her how nostalgic I had been feeling lately and how I finally metamorphosed into her in a lot of ways. My sole concern like hers in those days was to make tomorrow as beautiful as can be for my children. Somehow, I had lost my sense of fun and wonder that I had as a child for the season. I didn’t care for any gifts any more. I had other responsibilities reeling in my brain and was only wishing that Christmas passes really fast so that I could address them.

My mom was emotional as well and explained she and daddy were also adjusting to their respective roles of grandparents to fifteen grandchildren. She reminisced about those days when our home was crazy lively, almost rowdy sometimes and definitely a lot of fun; a sharp contrast to its current state of dead quiet. She had only daddy with few friends and relatives that will stop by on Christmas day.

Mommy called it the “circle of life”.  “It is a blessing, my daughter” Mom said. It is meant to be that way. (Oookay  . . . more sniffles . . .  thank you very much! . . .) Every culture of the world have parents who hope their children grow up very well-adjusted adults, leave home, get married and hopefully take care of their aging parents.  It would happen to my husband and I sooner than later, she said. Those words were true but really scary. The thought of this crazy and lively home where I am constantly screaming for me to hear myself and save my sanity soon becoming quiet and lonely is really frightening .  “Yes,” she said, “they grow up so fast”.  I told mom that I am still adjusting to the role of “mom” even though my oldest is almost 11. It is such a wonderful blessing to be “mom” yet that role is not for the faint of heart. We wished each other a happy Christmas, hung up, and I went on to get a really blissful sleep.

Christmas finally is here!!!! YEAH!!! Everyone is screaming in excitement (including my one year old, who had to join the chorus :-) because they got their special presents.  They were beyond excited! I looked at them and felt really proud of myself. I did it!!!  

I am still drawing my own “circle of life”. One day my children will fall in love, marry and leave our home and have their own kids. They will begin their own individual journeys.  They would begin drawing their own circle of life. I hope that I am able to create just enough memories in them that they can savor as adults the same way I am still savoring my mom’s.

I totally agree with mom! This is the way that it should be! 


  1. Ogo, your writings are always so touching,educating, very inspiring ,full of passion and love. I always take time to read them twice. I have not met you, but one of these days, God willing, it shall come to be. I call you my 'Maya Angelo'.
    You will surely live longer to have the same reminisence of the Xmas that your beloved mummy is experiencing now. Keep it up and there is no doubt that the little Victors and Little Ogos have these brilliant genes in them to extend it to the next generation. Love, Becky

  2. Becky, I am extremely touched by your comment. You are very kind. We would definitely meet sooner than later. Thanks for reading these articles. It is greatly appreciated!