Opinion

This is how families are made

By Hezbon Atito

He came home late that Sunday night. Late as usual.

“Hi, how was your time at the golf club?” His wife asked. He goes to the golf club on Sunday afternoon.

He removed his pair of socks as he answered, “It was good. By the way, Jaymo and his wife said hi. So did that couple who live in the next estate, Mr. and Mrs. Adunje”

“You mean Mr. and Mrs. Adanje?” His wife sought to clarify.

“Yes, yes. Them. We had so much fun. We’ve agreed to meet slightly early next Sunday. I think I need to buy a new golf club, Mr. Adanje has a sleek one. Hey, you should join us next Sunday. They were asking about you” he said.

“Maybe we need to join our children” his wife said.

He turned his face to her. Paused his undressing and said, “Excuse me?!”

She rubbed the palm of his hand and gestured him to sit on their bed. “My love, you know I love you. Right?” She spoke.

“Yes I do” he responded. “Kiss me” she requested. “What? Why?” He asked.

She giggled, looking down as she laughed. She had no bra on, just a night dress. Her breasts jiggled as she laughed.

“Because I am your wife” she responded.

He kissed her. As their lips part, she looked at him and whispered, “I love you.” “I love you too” he responded.

“Our kids feel we are ignoring them. They proved to me today just how little time we spend with them. Look, you and I work Monday to Friday, eight to five. On Saturdays, I work till noon. You work till three. We leave home early; our children get picked by the school bus in the morning, and dropped off home in the evening. Our time with them in the morning is always hurried, by the time we get home with all the traffic jam, we have such little time with them before they sleep, plus we are all exhausted. Come Sunday, you go to check on our farm upcountry and if not, you go golfing with friends. I have my Chama I go to on Sundays, and every two weeks, on Sunday is when I do my hair, and go for shopping. We honestly don’t spend quality time with our children” she said.

“But I dropped them at their cousin’s in the afternoon today” he spoke.

“They said they feel like we look for any excuse to leave them with other people. Our own children feel we ignore them. We are quick to release them to their cousins, friends, and school activities. To make it worse, they feel that the only time we really talk to them, is when they do wrong, or not perform well in exams. When we discipline them” she continued.

“Our children told you that? I find that ungrateful of them” he said unbuckling his belt.

“We work so hard to give them a good life. I am sure they want to be taken to those expensive game parks” he added.

“They are our children, not projects that we fund. God has blessed us with children but they are growing without our attention. We’ve had four house helps since we got married and our house helps have known things about our kids more than we do. Especially in the past four years. Imagine today I learnt our son can draw, as in, he can really draw. What’s the point of working so hard for them yet we are not investing time with them? They will soon grow and leave. Our time with them doesn’t have to be expensive. Family time doesn’t have to cost money. Look, we stopped going to Church as a family. We used to go for family picnics. When we didn’t have such great jobs, we’d order a pizza to eat with them as we watch cartoons at home. We used to go for road trips as a family. We’d go to see monuments. We used to promise them we’d take them to Mombasa. We never kept that promise. Honey, we can go back to doing those simple things. Remember how you used to play football with them and let them win? Remember our dance competitions with them? Remember arm wrestling with your son as he bragged about his tiny muscle. They miss that. And frankly speaking, I miss that. We have become so successful and so adult like, investing time in less important things. Our friends can wait, why don’t we unwind with our kids? Why don’t we hang out with them, bond with them?” She added.

He stood up and walked to their bedroom door.

“Where are you going hun?” She asked him perplexed.

He opened the door and walked out.

“Honey. Honey!” She called him as she followed him.

She found him standing at the door of the bedroom of their eight year old son.

He got teary as he looked at his son sleeping.

“I had missed doing this. Watching our children sleep. That’s my son my love, our son” he said fighting tears.

She kissed his cheek and held him close around his torso from behind him, placing her cheek on his shoulder.

“Instead of buying myself a new golf club, I will buy him the Play Station he’s been asking for so that he can enjoy defeating me” he said.

“You are such an awesome dad” she told him.

“Thank you my love. As you talked, you reminded me about my childhood, how my dad didn’t give me much attention. I don’t want our children feeling the same way” he said, holding her by her waist.

“Let’s go watch our beautiful daughter sleeping” he suggested.

He closed their son’s bedroom door.

As they walked to their daughter’s bedroom, he stopped and looked at his wife.

He said, “My love, I love how you confront me about issues. Before you introduce a serious topic to me, you start by telling me ‘I love you’. You’re so gentle. Thank you for being such an amazing wife. From now on, our family comes first. We will be a strong couple, but also strong parents. We’ll resume going to Church and that trip to Mombasa, we will plan it”

“Dad, what are you and mom doing talking in the corridor?” Their twelve year old daughter said as she opened her bedroom door.

“What woke you up?” His wife asked their daughter.

“I felt thirsty. I want to go drink a glass of water. I am not that sleepy” their daughter replied.

“Hey, why don’t we go downstairs and watch a movie till you sleep? I came home with some chicken” he told his daughter.

“But it’s school tomorrow. What about your bed time rules?” Their daughter asked.

“I tell you what. I will make sure the movie we watch is so boring, it will bore you to sleep” he told his daughter.

His wife laughed so loudly, she was too happy.

“Why are you all talking in the corridor?” Their son asked, opening his bedroom door.

“Bro, dad came home with some chicken and he wants us to go watch a movie now. Isn’t he the coolest dad?” Cheerfully said their daughter.

“Dad, is it true?” Their son asked. “Yes” he answered.

“Race you downstairs!” Their son shouted running down the staircase. Their daughter followed.

His wife laughed so hard.

“You are really happy tonight hun” he told his wife looking at her.

“You make me happy. This is a beautiful scene. This is what kids grow up remembering. You’ve just made a lasting memory” his wife told him.

He kissed his wife and said, “I love you. Now let’s go downstairs and choose a boring movie to watch”

His wife laughed some more.

“Race you downstairs” his wife said then ran downstairs. He ran after her.

That night, they all sat on the long sofa watching a movie, snacking on pieces of chicken.

Their two children eventually fell asleep and the husband and wife carried them to bed.

Families are made of this. Memories.

What memories are you giving your child/children?

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