Letting go

Kendi is very good at letting go. She lets go of things she really wants. She even lets go of things she has worked really hard to get (tiptoeing or climbing or stealing). When she sees that the thing that she wanted is not forthcoming (its too far to reach) or she has lost the battle to get it (I have said, ‘no mama’), she lets go and moves on. She is not hang up like me. She doesn’t even entertain that all too familiar feeling- regret.

When I grow up, I want to be like Kendi.

There are several scenarios that I have witnessed this ‘letting go’:

Scenario 1:

Kendi is playing with my bangles as I get ready for work. She is putting them on and saying, ‘wow’ loudly and repeatedly. She is inviting me to say ‘wow’ too by saying,’ mama ne. Wow!’ (ne is the Luo word for ‘look’) As she’s playing with them, one rolls under the bed. She immediately gets on her hands and knees to look for, and retrieve, it. She tries to reach for it and even ends up lying down so that she can reach it. After several attempts, huffing and puffing as I watch her, she says, ‘bye’, waves at the bangle and stands up. She goes back to playing with the rest of the bangles.

I laugh so suddenly, I startle the poor girl.

Scenario 2:

It’s bedtime in the Kiarie household. Martin, my husband, has given her a bath, she is dressed in pajamas and is running around the house singing and dancing and carrying on. After about 10 minutes of this, usually with her father in tow, he tells her, ‘OK baby, bedtime, lets pray’, she immediately starts to cry, pulling the saddest face she can muster. Martin says, ‘no, baby, sometimes in life we have to do things we don’t want to,but that we need to. You need to go to bed now.’ She continues to cry. He puts his hands together and prays. I am half laughing, half putting my hands together. He then picks her up and takes her to her bed. Every single night, she stops crying by the time he’s coming out of her room. I sometimes ask,’ what do you tell her?’ even though I know the answer will be, ‘Baba things’.

Then Kendi does the oddest thing (and this is a daily occurrence)- she starts to call Martin, ‘Baba, Baba, Baba.’

After a while, she lets that go too and talks to herself (or Rispah her duck) until she falls asleep.

This is certainly the way to live. No hang ups, no regret, just a feeling of, ‘That’s the past, This is the present’.


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