Happy 21st, My Son!

My Dear Kwaku Okatakyie…
Happy 21st Birthday! You don’t know how nostalgic this week has been for me… for us. It feels as if it was just yesterday when you were put into my arms… a beautiful 3.9kg bundle of Christmas joy!
I remember seeing tears in your Papa’s eyes… even though he denies it. It’s difficult to remember another Christmas when I was as happy as I was that Christmas.
You came to us at a point in our lives when we needed all the love we could get as a couple. And you brought all that love and so much more!!

Your Papa and I have been pondering for a really long time what to give you today. I know you’ve been hinting about that car since God knows how long…. it’s not going to happen! (But hey, you never know! Keep your fingers crossed, and your prayers fierce!)😉😉
We decided that we’re first of all going to give this letter to you. You’ll find out later what else we got you.

Remember when you were 3, when I’d just had your brother. You were such a curious child! You asked me many interesting questions. One of them stands out really tall, and remains fresh in my memory. You had such a queer facial expression looking at him, and then you asked “Does it mean I’m no longer your baby? Who will be my mummy?” Much as it made me laugh, it put somethings in perspective for me.
You will always be my baby, Kwaku. No matter how old you are, or what stage you are in life. You will always be my baby – our baby!

You’re a special young man, Kwaku. Special in every way. It’s beautiful how you take care of your siblings, especially Kesewaa. I wonder the kind of hot seat many young men will be subjected to when she’s old enough to start dating!
It’s lovely how much you can bring all of them to order, and make things happen. I still have in mind that Easter three years ago, when you brought them all together to fast, pray and then afterwards, organised that Sunday lunch as well! You are very special!

Now I want you to know, no matter how exceptional you are – and you really are, my love, you’re not the gift of God to the women on this earth! You’re a very good looking young man, and you have a heart of gold. You’re from a good home, and you treat people with respect. That does not give you the right to feel as if you’d be a gift to whoever, whenever. You are an amazing gift to us, but you’re going to be a gift to only one woman (besides me of course). And that woman, will also be a gift to you.
I know so many young men like you, who unfortunately parade themselves around, feeling as if they would be doing any woman a favour by being with them. That kind of attitude stems from pride and arrogance. And I did not bring you up to be proud or arrogant.

K, I’ve seen how the girls hover around you. Don’t let it get to your head. And I know that you have a thing for Kukuaa (Don’t ask me how I know – a mother always knows!😌), she’s a lovely young lady, and we like her. But we don’t want you to ever feel pressured to be with someone because we like her… We want you to have a mind of your own, and based on that, decide who you want. I like to believe we’ve brought you up well, and based on the many good decisions you’ve been making, that you’ll do a good job in deciding. But I want to remind you that on top of your list, should be her love for God! She should be an ambitious woman, who will not settle or allow you to settle for anything average! She definitely should be pretty, because we need good looking grandchildren. She should know what she wants and work for it. And she should be caring and lovely. She definitely can’t be perfect; even you my son are not perfect.

I don’t want you to ever look down on any woman. No. matter. what. It has become a subtle culture for men to feel superior. Before, it was overt… now, it’s annoying how it’s almost always there, no matter how low-key it is made to look. I know how well you can cook. I taught you to cook so you do not feel that a woman should be the one to cook for you. If she cannot cook, cook for her. Cooking should not be a deal breaker for you, because you, my son, could pass for a chef! You’re not marrying a woman to be your cook. So when the other boys talk about these things, and I know that they always do…. Keep in mind your Mummy’s words. Cooking should not be a deal breaker!

There are very few things that should be deal breakers. When I met your Papa, it was his calmness and fervent love for God that drew me to him. You already know that he was not my kind of man, but God had such big plans for us, he taught me that a person could become your kind.
This is to say that much as you need to set high standards, do not go crazy in giving God such a long shopping list!

One more thing, K… remember your Eighteenth birthday? (Of course, how can you forget it?) Remember how elaborately we celebrated your entry into adulthood? Remember your thirteenth as well? I’m gonna give you a back story to what was going on in our lives when you were thirteen. First, your Papa was facing a big lawsuit at the hospital. It was quite a difficult situation. It was the kind of thing that could take away his medical license forever. And that would have had such a great impact on us! I had also just had a miscarriage. And then we were having a few issues here and there, as married people tend to have once in a while. But that did not stop us! On your eighteenth birthday, I had a 3 day deadline to present my thesis, and it was really quite a big deal. Your Papa had such a tough time finding a colleague to represent him at the Medical Conference he was supposed to be at. That did not stop us either! I just want to let you know, that life is interesting. It has so many downs, and then it has the ups. But don’t let the downs steal the joy of your ups! Don’t go so crazy about getting something done or planning into the future, that you forget to live in the present! Do you have any idea how many times daddy wishes he had skipped some hospital time to spend with your Grandma before she passed away? Trust me… life is short. And you get to decide what you want to do with it. You also get to decide who you spend it with. So in all your getting in life, don’t forget the ones who love you, and the ones you love. Never let your work or your education or anything else get in the way of love. Make the people you love your priority – never ever make things get in the way of that. Because that can be disastrous! (If you don’t believe me, ask your dad about that one time he forgot my birthday!!)

Once again, there’s this thing that you’ll learn as you grow up. With time, your friends will reduce. By friends, I mean the active circle of people you trust and constantly spend time with. That is not a bad thing. It only means that with time and age, and wisdom of course, you’re realising that some people are not worth your time, or energy – and that is okay! I want you to be very careful of the people you keep as friends, because they, to a very large extent, help shape the kind of person you will be – as you already know, “bad company corrupts good character”… and “the companion of fools will be destroyed!”

Kwaku, most importantly, today, your Papa and I want to tell you, not to let go of your first love. I’ve seen your passion for God, and how much you love to work for Him. I’ve seen the fruit of the Spirit so overtly manifesting in your life. I’ve seen your hunger for the word of God, and how much you yearn to let others know it! I pray that this never wanes. I pray that this yearning will only continue to increase! I hope nothing gets in the way of your love for God!

 

Remain confident of this – that you will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! All will go well with you, and you will prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers. You will remain in perfect peace as your mind remains stayed on God!

We love you so much, Kwaku! I pray you never ever question that!
Love,
❤️❤️❤️
Mummy and Papa!

PS – Maybe I was sort of kidding about the car 🤷🏾‍♀️ Do not tell your Papa I said anything!!
Also…. I remember you and Oti wanted to do the trip to Amsterdam😊☺️ – that’s my personal gift to you!

I love you!!

Can You Surface Soon? V

Entry 08

Dear Future Husband,

This week I’ve had so much to think about, so much going on in my already hyperactive brain.

I think that this might be my last letter… And that’s really one big problem with me; sticking to a course is so hard. I don’t know whether it’s boredom or laziness or just plain old tiredness. Maybe my obsession with Paapa, singleness and marriage has waned? (Praise the Lord!). We probably all have those phases when we’re ready for God to bring that person and super ready to be in a relationship… Well lately, I’ve just been meh about it. I think it’s the books I started reading. I’ve come to realise that there’s really a lot more at stake where relationships are concerned. And honestly seeing where I’m at in life now, I know I need time.

I know God is working on me and preparing me so that I’m not just some average woman when we do meet – I hope you do not settle for average. Because hey, life is short, and if you only live once, you can’t live average right?😌

So I’m not going to settle on being an average person, I hope you don’t either. And I hope that you don’t plan to give average love… because I can’t have that. I don’t want mediocre love. I don’t want to be kept wondering. I don’t want the kind of love that ‘other couples have.’

I’m a very different girl – and though that may not always be a good thing, it means that I hardly want what everyone wants. Of course there are the basic things that I want too – your love, your attention, complete peace of mind, etc.

This week, I had a conversation with a friend. A Ghanaian girl too. I don’t remember how the conversation got to talking about money, and men, and different roles we play. Apparently there’s a general mentality that in a marriage, “a woman’s money is hers, and a man’s money is theirs”? 😂🤣😂🤣Honestly it came as a bit of a surprise to me… but apparently it works for many people!

I realised somewhere in the first year of undergrad, that I’m repelled by rich boys… (that’s a long story for another day) So much as I want you to be a self-sufficient, responsible and hardworking young man, I hope that you don’t have the kind of money that somehow makes you think that the world revolves around you. (Like, what am I supposed to get you on your birthday if you have so much money that you don’t know what to do with it?) And just so you know, I don’t ascribe to that thinking. I think that if we’re going to be in this together, we’re going to decide how things work, and who pays what. There’s a high likelihood that I might earn a lot more than you,😂😌😶 and I really hope that you’re not the kind of guy that will have a problem with that.

Anyways, let me stop digressing. The plan today was to talk about family. I come from an amazing family. I think that God was very very generous when he gave me my family. And I understand that our families will be from different backgrounds, with different kinds of experiences, etc. but once we decide to be together, we’ll be merging all of that… and I’ve seen first-hand how explosive that can be! Marriage won’t just be between us especially if you come from my Ghanaian culture; it is considered a merging of the two families. One thing I pray for is that our families will get along; that they can co-exist peacefully, and not only co-exist, but love each other! I pray that we can all have fun together, laugh together, pray together; be one and treat each other as Christ would have us treat each other. I clearly don’t know if we’ll be best friends but I hope at least that we’ll love one another.

Inasmuch as they may mean well for us, can we leave them out of our business? Can we not live with them? At least till we’ve built up our own family? I don’t mind visits, but can they remain visits? Can we keep them out of our challenges? Because of course they’ll take sides! And even when we’ve sorted out our issues, they won’t forget…

This is my prayer, that my in-laws will be like second parents to me. Because I want my children to know and love them fully without reservations. I pray you’re praying for the same. I know my family’s opinions really matter to me so I pray that they fall in love with you too, and treat you like a son/brother!

I’d like to believe that at some point, you’ll show up. And although the wait feels long, (especially this Christmas when couples are running around throwing snowballs at each other), I know that you’re working on yourself, just as I’m working on me!

So can you surface soon?!

PS. I’m gonna keep my promise of sticking to writing you these letters, till the month is out!

Can You Surface Soon? IV

Entry 07
Dear future husband,
For a very long time, I hated taking pictures. (To a certain extent, I still do). I over-analyse every single detail in every picture that I take – people say it’s a girl thing. But the thing is, I am insecure and self-conscious about myself. I was always the other sister, the fat one. The one with the crooked teeth. The one who stood out (not in a positive way lol). But I suppose I had the brains to make up for my looks. (And the heart maybe? Inner beauty?) lol!
When I was ten, I overheard some guys from my older sister’s class at church, talking about us. I don’t remember the details, but I remember being referred to as “that other one… the not so pretty one… she doesn’t really look like them, or?” It must have stuck somewhere in my subconscious. Because for some reason, it wasn’t until I became an adult that these insecurities became very evident.
One thing you’ll probably come to know is that I don’t like my body so much. I don’t like my teeth and that’s a hard one because it’s right there on my face. I’ve come to accept and like the gap, because it identifies me as daddy’s little girl, however that’s about all that I like about it.
So these days when I take pictures, duck face is my go to …. because when I show my teeth, all I see is that they are crooked and weird. One day, when I start making my millions, that’s the first thing that I’m going to change about myself.
I won’t lie and say I’m at the stage where I’ve accepted myself fully and come to realize that my body forms a part of me… but quite recently, my devotional warned against self-pity and after a conversation with one of my friends, I realized that wallowing in self-pity and a sea of insecurity really doesn’t help anyone, especially when there’s someone (Christ) who has given me worth more than I can imagine and is so willing to continually hold me up.
I’ve been praying that you won’t be the kind of guy who will “just accept me the way I am”. I’ve been praying that you’ll actually find me beautiful, and be very open about declaring it… ( I’m a pda kinda girl 🤣😉)
Half the time, I need to remind myself that I can be am beautiful. It’s been a hard road for me in that regard, and I’m still on it. Because of that, I had a phase when any guy that called me beautiful or pretty, (if he kept up with it), was at some point elevated to ‘prospective boo’ (Okay, I was thirteen, and I had the imagination of an alien…. But still)
One day, I might be able to stand naked before you and not cringe. I hope that when that day comes, when I have come so far on this journey of accepting myself, you will not just find me ‘acceptable’, you’ll actually be excited!

So back when I was in Ghana, I don’t think I ever doubted that I was smart. I was more often than not at the top of my class – and when I wasn’t at the top, it was okay too, because I knew I wasn’t the only good student. But then I got into this thing they call an Ivy League Liberal Arts College, and it broke me! It gave me such a low self-esteem of myself that I wonder if I’ll ever get back to that confident girl I used to be. I met people who were smarter than me – those who worked hard for it, and those who somehow were just smart… and so I began to settle and doubt myself. I did not work as hard as I should have, (because it felt like even when I worked hard, I still didn’t do well). I made many mistakes because of that. It was like I had just resigned myself to ‘fate’ to take over. And it didn’t help that I wasn’t sure of what my purpose was. Honestly if I could do undergrad all over again, I would seek help right from the start, and work really hard … no laziness, and no procrastination. I would also not let go of dreams because of a low self esteem.
Sometimes I wonder if I stopped being Pre-Med truly because it’s not the path for me or because I thought I wasn’t smart enough to pursue it. Will I ever know?
I think I’m ranting like this because it’s that time of the year when you have to think about the future – the plan after grad school. I still don’t have a clear sense of my career path (I’m not as quick to call that my purpose anymore). My parents want me to go do a PhD – I think I want to do that as well, but then can I?
So the other day, dad sent me a list of schools to look at; actually it wasn’t a list. It was one school. Harvard. Instantly, I felt I didn’t qualify. Do I? Because first of all, your girl doesn’t have research experience… and it’s Harvard – they only take the best. The worst thing is that even as I sat doing my own research for schools, I felt so unqualified. I kept thinking which school would even want me? Sound familiar? Senior Year Of Undergrad all over again!! But I refuse to go through that same depressing, unhappy season again. And I told God that the next time, if there was going to be a next time, I’d walk with Him through that season, and not worry or be anxious about anything.
What’s the worst that could happen? 😩😩 That I’d get rejected by the schools? Then maybe find a job? And if I do not find one, I head back home to Ghana? Frankly, I don’t think that sounds bad at all!!

So here’s to not worrying or feeling insecure about qualifications or self. Here’s to looking up and not down. Here’s to walking with the Lord and trusting Him and truly seeking His face while holding on to the fact that no good thing will He withhold from those who seek His face!!

If you meet me in the near future and by the grace of God, I appear more confident than I am now and am walking in God’s purpose for me, I want you to know that it really wasn’t an easy road getting there. I’m sure you have your own story and I really can’t wait to hear about it.
I really wish you were here already, so we could have all these talks together… because I think my journey to finding myself is going quite well😉

So if you don’t mind, please surface soon?
❤️

Can You Surface Soon? III

Entry 05

Dear Future Husband,

I’ve been feeling stupid about all this. I’ve contemplated not carrying on with these letters to you. But then I decided that stupid or not, I’ll carry on. You may not show up, and that’s quite fine. Because I think for me it’s more about the commitment to writing every day than just writing this for you (Although I consider this quite a plus… because wouldn’t you want to know what I was doing at 6:03pm on 29th November? Lol)

Also I feel like I’ll run out of topics at some point, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there, right?

Today was a good day at work, (My employer called me in, and said that she’d love to hire me after this internship – The best thing I’ve had an employer say to me so far) However, I’m sad.

I’m having one of those nostalgic days, and I wish I could be back home. Ama got married over the weekend, and I couldn’t be there. I’ve been holding it in for a while, pretending that it’s all okay… but I suppose it’s fine to rant here. If there was ever a time that I disliked being far away from my family, it was today. Watching the photos and videos just brought tears to my eyes.

Just to let you know, whatever kind of wedding we decide to have, I want to have everyone there. None of our families should have to miss such a wonderful day because of proximity. We should make sure that they’re all able to make it. Somehow. (Unless of course we decide to elope lol)

This week, at church we were talking about overcoming sin… and it hit me that he was my accountability partner – This means that I told him stuff. Secrets. Things no one knows – things that I’m wondering how I’ll ever tell you. Deep, dark secrets. Because why wouldn’t I? Remember he was my best friend even before he became ‘the one’.

But it’s got me thinking about secrets and the people we share our lives with and what they do with those secrets when we’re no longer ‘together’.

See I’m a very guarded person. It takes a lot to get me to open up… And it takes special people to get me to open up. But once that door opens a little, everything has to get out. It’s like all of a sudden, I have no filter. You’ll probably find out yourself.

So what happens to the things we tell people?  Those things that are pieces of us; that are too sacred to ever be told to the rest of the world. I’ve left pieces of myself with him – pieces I most likely can never have back. And it bugs me now that I think of it. But there isn’t much I can do about it. We didn’t sign an NDA or a confidentiality form (maybe we should have lol) but to a large extent, I trust him. And I have to trust that he will keep all that information and not reveal it to the world. But what happens when he moves on now that he’s moved on… what if his potential wife asks for complete transparency? What happens if the world get s to know the mess I really am inside?

Of course this shouldn’t make me withhold myself from you because I’m afraid to leave my secrets behind. It certainly doesn’t mean either that I should go round telling people about my struggles and personal issues.

Another thing I’ve learnt/ I’m still learning this year, is to speak up! For a long time, I didn’t know how to say what I really wanted. I’d start off with actively not letting it bother me so much, then when it got too much, I’d write a really long rant, (because confrontations make me cry, lol)  In the end, I was often unhappy, and pretend-indifferent about many important things. It made me ungrateful even when he was putting in effort, and I got so ready to move on that I didn’t appreciate the good in the present.

So I’m looking forward to sharing every part of me with you; the good, the bad, the ugly and everything in between. If I shared with him, then I owe it all the more to you to share with you. I can’t wait for you to roll along, I intend to withhold nothing from you; hopefully you’ll be willing to listen.

But can you surface soon??

PS: Please don’t forget, I really want my entire family at my wedding. We will have to find a time that favours everyone because I’m leaving no one behind. I know the pain of feeling left behind.

 

Entry 06

Today has been hard (emotionally)

I spoke to Paapa. We only said a few words, but it showed me how far apart we’ve gotten. I used to be able to brush it off and pretend that I’m not affected much, but I think that as part of the healing process, I need to get all the feels out. We spoke about his niece and about how post-grad was going, and then it was bye. I wish I didn’t miss him, but that’s the way it is, I suppose. It’s a good thing that we’re continents apart.

In as much as I don’t like admitting it, I’ll remain in this foreign land for a long time… especially if I decide to pursue that PhD here. Going back to Ghana to resettle is something I wish I could drop everything and do, this very minute! But it seems it won’t be happening in the next few years. Unless some radical change comes up, (and honestly you never know because things definitely can change). If I’m looking to be with someone in Ghana, undoubtedly the issue of distance has to be talked about.

 

You already know that Paapa and I were apart for very long, except for the times when I visited. And when we started dating, that happened only once or twice. Distance wasn’t one of the things we actively talked about, it was sort of our elephant in the room.

Long distance isn’t something I want to willingly do. It may be an inevitable occurrence at some point in our lives but can we try to avoid it as much as we can? I mean we’ve stayed out of each other’s lives for so long, that I feel once we finally meet and have the chance to be together, we should try to be together in the same place (At least, the same country) at all times. Even if we have to do long distance, can we do it with an end in sight? And if that does becomes our situation, I promise to do my best to get to know you and love you as best as God has called me to.

If you haven’t gotten the main point of this post, this is it: I Don’t Want Us to Be Apart If We Can Help It! (Especially Not After Marriage).

As you already know, I’m the 7-minute-hugs-random-hand-holding-look-into-my eyes-mushy kind of girl, and facetime/skype/all those other things obviously don’t do any of those things for me.

So I look forward to meeting you, and making the most of our circumstance, whatever it may be.

So, can you surface soon?