Enjoy the present on the way to the future.

Yesterday morning, I was hand washing my “unmentionables” and I noticed my daughter had left one of hers in  the bucket to wash later. I decided to be “generous” and wash it for her. As I did, I thought back to when she was a tiny baby and I had to do all of her laundry. I thought of the loads of laundry she generated and how frustrated I often felt because I never seemed to be on top of the situation. My life seemed to be a combination of dirty laundry, dirty diapers and crying babies. I thought of the many sleepless nights as I struggled, seemingly, without success to take care of my little babies. I thought of the helplessness I often felt as I struggled to make sense of my life as a young mother with a career. Not much made sense then, I just wanted it get better quickly. By better, I mean I wanted my babies grow up and maybe start helping out around the home. I could hardly wait for the day to come and quite frankly, I could not imagine it.
But guess what? That day is here. My daughter is a budding, beautiful teenager with a mind of her own. She’s now doing her own laundry and sometimes helping with mine. She’s cooking, cleaning and doing  a myriad other things around the home, often without my prompting. Those stressful, never-ending  days are gone for good, never to return. But ironically, now that I’m here, I can’t help but wonder what I missed on my daughter’s journey to adulthood. Did I miss out on some special moment while I was losing my cool over some childish prank? Did I hurl a hug out of the window with a tired excuse?  Those days are gone forever but what about right now? What am I missing while waiting for my teenagers to grow up and leave home? Could I even now be missing out on what’s important?
Right now our nation seems to be under siege; like me feeling overwhelmed by my daughter’s dirty laundry, our leaders appear overwhelmed by the amount of ‘dirty laundry’ they are faced with. We have bucketfuls of stinking laundry: insecurity, unemployment, poor infrastructure, corruption, falling education, poor image, the list is almost endless. We wish the problems would go away quickly. Like me wondering when my kids would be all grown and I would no longer have to do their laundry, we are wondering when our nation would be on the same level with other nations and we no longer have so much dirty laundry.
My life as a writer often requires me to shut out the world and live inside my head but the danger is that I could miss out on some precious moments that can never be recaptured. Living with four teenage children is often be tasking and frustrating but it also  has lot  of special moments. I must make a conscious effort to catch those special moments and hold them as the precious keepsakes they are.
In the same way, I feel that there precious moments right now in the life of our nation that we must hold dear and enjoy. There are real values that are unique to us as a people. All is not as we would like but let’s not forget that dirty laundry is produced by pretty babies who grow up to become beautiful young ladies. Some things cannot be rushed,  my daughter grew day-by day, one dirty diaper at a time. It may not look like it but Nigeria is growing too, one blunder at a time. It may seem like nothing is working now but twenty years from now we will look back on these years with nostalgia and we will see things differently through the prism of time. I wonder what the view will be like then?
I know Nigeria will grow because my daughter grew and it is the nature of things to grow, the change we seek is inevitable but in the interim let’s find a way to enjoy the present on our way to the future. Shalom!



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