It’s that time of the year

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, the festive season. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday and probably will always be. Ever since I was a child, I excitedly await Christmas because there is so much that I love about it. First, there’s the moving magic of Christmas carols. The joy of listening to Christmas carols can cheer one up, no matter how bad things in life may be. Second, the beautiful lights and pretty decorations that give a feeling of happiness. Decorating the Christmas tree with lights and other sparkly ornaments was enough to brighten even the most gloomiest of moods. It’s a pleasure worth experiencing. Third, Father Christmas.

I went to La Colombière School. Every year Father Christmas celebrated Christmas with us before school closed. It was the school policy to make sure that we, the pupils celebrated Christmas with the school management before we went for holidays. And I so loved that. I loved seeing the man in the red and white suit.

“How old are you?” He asks.

“Eight” 

“Have you been a good boy/girl?”

Then you nod. I always felt proud to receive a gift from Santa. So, whenever I saw Santa, I begun absorbing the Christmas spirit as if by magical Santa osmosis.

I loved making cards for Daddy and Mommy, plus all the decorations for closing day celebrations. A certain teacher who was our neighbor and who taught in baby class at school, noticed my artistic skills (which have long departed me). When closing day would be around the corner, she would ask for my help to make cards for her class. And I would get treats for my services.

Mums who still uses the decorations that we made in nursery school, evokes a wave of nostalgia that sweeps over me whenever I see them. It makes me excessively yearn for returning to the irrecoverable period.

Christmas was a time when I hoped to receive presents from my folks. Mom always bought us new clothes and shoes for the festive season. Everyone wears their best clothes for Christmas (hehe). For some families, the only new clothes they get every year are for Christmas. And the parties are a good place to show off the new clothes. If there was an auntie or uncle who had travelled from abroad to be with the family for the festivities, then we would also get some chocolates and sweets.

Christmas Eve has always been one of the biggest nights of the year, as it kicks off the festivities. And for new year, one song really puts me in the mood. The Bonane (Bonne Année) song by Orchestre Impala. I listen to the song and feel like I’m flying.

Now that the holidays are in full swing, I’m already absorbing the Christmas cheer vibes and I’m going to smile at everyone I encounter and say “Merry Christmas”

Oh and Santa, I have been a really good girl this year, so do you think you could give me an extra special present?

It’s been 17 years…

I was an only child for two years before my parents began giving me brothers. 7 years later, I and my younger brother were told that another brother was arriving. However, I was still safe in being the only daughter. This little one has been my favorite because since the day he was born, my life has changed completely. From the moment I saw him, we bonded in a special way. The very first time my parents brought him home from the hospital, I felt that he was mine somehow and that I was responsible for him. I was like his third parent (and still I am). 

However as a kid, he had this annoying habit of hiding stuff from whoever annoyed him. Mom won’t buy him a lollipop; he hides her shoes. Dad won’t take him out for brochettes, he hides his shoes. Whoever annoyed him, he hid one of his/her stuff. Especially shoes. 

So I annoyed him, and he hid an envelope that contained all my documents. It was that time when I was applying to join the university, and my documents happened to be in that envelope. Report cards, diploma, ingando certificate, bank slips. He hid it and forgot about it. 

When I was arranging stuff, I unexpectedly found the envelope where he had hidden it. I took it and then told my mom. Mom decided to give him the scare of his life.

Mom told him that I would be going to school soon and asked him to give me back the envelope. He rushed to get it but couldn’t find it because I’d already took it.

“I can’t find it” he said. “Where did you put it?” mom asked him. “I’d hid it but I can’t find it” he told her.

Mom puts on a serious face.

“See what you’ve done. Now, your sister won’t be going to school” she told him. “You need to find the envelope” she added.

He was seriously panicking.

“What if I find you a new school?”

I burst out laughing.

From that day on, he never hid stuff again.

He’s younger than me but like all younger brothers, he thinks he is the eldest.

Once on my birthday, it was that time of the month when my period had decided to rear its big ugly head (yeah, it almost always comes at the worst time possible). That birthday I’d planned to spoil myself a little. Then my period was like “Not so fast, my dear. I’m most definitely attending your birthday”. My body had a painful way to remind me that I was not pregnant: hot flushes, bloating, back pain, persistent sharp lower abdominal pain, and an emotional instability — mood goes from gloomy to suicidal to angry to loving to crazy bitch in like 2 minutes. Hehe. My hormones were all over the place and messing me up. 

My folks had forgotten it was my birthday (couldn’t blame them, they are growing old after all). My phone was bursting from receiving those Facebook notifications of supposedly birthday wishes. The HBD and HBD2U type of messages. I can’t even begin to say how much I dislike these so-called birthday messages. Is there anything more annoying than the HBD texts? You people who send HBD have failed your parents (or whomever). They invested in your education, only for you to write 3 meaningless letters supposedly as a birthday message? Or is it because Facebook put a bug in your ear with their little reminder to wish someone a happy birthday? Well, if you lazy donkey can’t write the whole damn thing, then don’t write anything at all! I wonder what these people do with all the extra time they save by just writing HBD instead of Happy Birthday. 

Anyways, back to my room…I was curled up in bed like a fetus, laying still, had probably spent half an hour trying to figure out the best lying-down position (that position that seemed reduce the symptoms) and I wasn’t going to move from that position even if our house was on fire. Then, my baby brother came to my room. And just before I could spit fire on him, he said to me…

“This is all I had. Happy birthday”
And he gave me 2 samosas. Oh God! I cried (not the hormones! Hehe). How thoughtful of him! He probably thought they were little or meant nothing much, but they did. They were (and still are) the best birthday present. By then he was still a little boy (who had no Facebook to remind him), but he remembered and got me a birthday present. It wasn’t about the samosas, it was about the acknowledgement. He remembered when everyone else forgot. He’s never forgotten my birthday. Not once.

At home, birthdays have always been days like all the others. Nothing special. I have never had a birthday cake baked or bought in my honor. Never seen my name on a cake. I don’t know how it feels to blow a birthday candle *rolls eyes* I certainly don’t recall any cake cutting. Growing up, we didn’t celebrate birthdays. The best part of not celebrating my birthday is that I didn’t have to sit as everyone gathered round to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ while I watched, unsure of what to do with myself. Am I supposed to smile? Do I make eye contact with everyone singing? Do I do that orchestra conductor thing? What do I do after they’re done singing? Clap hands? I don’t know. 

Mom and Dad always remembered and wished us a happy birthday. Perhaps they would take us out – for brochettes and soda and perhaps buy us some sweets – but that was it. You weren’t going to receive a single birthday present. You didn’t get lots of well wishes from family (who else even knew it was your birthday, apart from your parents and siblings?). No party. No birthday cake. None of that stuff.

And I’ve not yet learned to embrace growing up. With every year seems to come more responsibility, higher expectations, less cartoons (Hehe). Every year, my birthday is a reminder that I’m leaning closer to kissing my youth goodbye.
My baby brother goes out of his way for me because I’m his one and only sister (that’s the most adorable part of being an only girl!). He loves me and there’s no guessing about it.

Today it’s been 17 years since I’ve been blessed with another brother. The boy I once held in my arms, as a baby. Now he’s taller (and bigger) than me, but he’ll always be my little brother. Today the world is blessed with his presence for another year. I thank the Lord for the life in him. I’m happy for your 17 years and many more to come.

My everyday prayer, God, is that You keep my little brother in Your care.

Happy birthday, Jeune Homme.

P.S. One more year till you’re legal.