If you ask me about my greatest fear in life or my most dreaded moment, I will answer without batting an eyelid. It has to be a phone call from Xena’s teacher or Xia’s nanny. However, this has not always been my answer. In my twenties, that fleeting phase where all I had to worry about was myself, I was confused about what heightened my angst the most. The days I would wake up to pee at 1.00am and take a while to find my sleep, some uninvited guests would creep up in my head and have a colloquy about me. This this is how the conversation would go.
“I have to be her ultimate fear. The thought of not realizing her full potential and resigning to mediocrity scares the daylight out of her.” Failure dressed all black in a Prada shirt and chinos would announce with such conviction, as he crossed his left leg over the right. Happy designer socks would peep from his flashy Gazelle shoes. What an irony.
“Naaahhh. You got nothing on this mami. I know her love for exploring the world makes her fearful of being rendered immobile. Or putting on excessive weight which she imagines would be frustrating to carry around and eventually render her immobile. I can bet you I am her worst fear.” A chubby lady in a yellow Deira seated on a mat at the corner of the room would say. She would then proceed to thrust three fat viazi vya karai in her mouth at one go, obviously not bothered by the three layers of fat spilling out of her waistline.
“Who are you?” In his snotty British accent, Failure would ask right after leaning forward from the leather chaise lounge. Curling his index finger like a hook, he would pull his Prada glasses lower down his face for a closer look.
And just before the lady in the Deira responds, a green viper would creep up from under Failure’s mahogany chaise lounge and send the house in a turmoil. Failure jumps on his seat and crouches in one corner, Deira lady remains motionless on the mat, her hands over her head. She’s screaming in a high pitch voice, a huge contrast to her wide frame. The viper would leisurely crawl towards the glass table, eying the green apples in the crystal bowl.
“Need I say more?” He would say with a smirk on his diminutive face. “I tend to have that effect on everyone.”
Those were my fears for the longest time, but I wasn’t sure which one topped the list. However, as a mother, I have new-found fears which keep me wide awake on some nights. My kids’ health and also, whether they will remain grounded as they grow older. These are two things that certainly, no parent has control over. The best we can do is provide a clean home for them and teach them high standards of hygiene which they can practice even when they are out of our sight, and as a result, will be less prone to falling ill. And as for remaining grounded, we can only instil the right morals and also lead by example, and then hope that our efforts pay off.
Whenever my phone buzzes and I lift it to find Xena’s teacher or the nanny calling, my world stops moving and creeping shock waves spread all over my body, leaving me lifeless. I imagine they either fell down and burst their heads (I kid you not, I have an annoyingly wide imagination) or they have been taken ill. So, when Xena’s teacher called me last Friday in the morning, I froze. It was 7.45am, and I was at Nairobi hospital where my younger daughter Xia was going through some procedure. I was standing at the maternity booking section (no than you, I am not pregnant) waiting for registration as a day surgery patient.
A call from the teacher at 7.45am is definitely not intended to congratulate you on how well dressed your child is, neither would it be about informing you that your child has mastered reading the clock and “I thought you should know.” The diary is there for such notes. So, you understand why I got panicky and thought to myself, “God, don’t tell me that I have to go pick the other one and bring her to the hospital too.” Two rings later, I gathered some courage and picked it up.
“Good morning mama Xena?” She asked.
“Good morning.” I responded. “Is Xena ok?”
“Xena is fine.” She said.
“Thank God.” I said, blowing out my breath like a man who had just figured a bomb. “I always get anxious when you call. To what do I owe this pleasure?” I asked.
“The costume you packed for Xena is not appropriate for her role. She is an Inn Keeper and will require an ankle length dress with a matching scarf. She needs to look like a real Inn keeper.”
“Right.” I said. “I was kinda hoping she would be a stylish modern-day Inn Keeper, you know like the kind that welcome guests at Capital Club?”
“Sorry?” She asked, either completely missing my joke or thinking she should have picked a child with a more serious parent for that role.
“Ankle length dress it is.” I said and wished her a wonderful day ahead.
Xena will be staring as the Inn Keeper in the school’s upcoming annual nativity play. Her role is to inform Mary mother of Jesus that its peak season and she should look for somewhere else to have her baby. Xena, the Inn Keeper, will say, “I am sorry, there is no more room.”, eight words whose pronunciation and articulation she has been practicing all term. I thought this dress pictured here, one that she used last year for the same play (only that she wasn’t an Inn Keeper then) would suffice. Turns out that Inn Keepers don’t show thighs!
It’s 10.00pm on Sunday night and I have to deliver the costume to school tomorrow morning. With barely eight hours to go, I have decided to make the dress myself from one of my kikoy lessos. Wish me luck guys because we don’t want this outfit standing in the way of Xena’s road to stardom!