We all are alive because we were born and through and through we love to commemorate our birthdays. Some with pomp, others in quietness, but if there is one thing that adds a thrill to them then it must be the showers that come with the day. A literal one, with soaked clothing or a shower of gifts, cards, flowers, chocolates and cake, there is no doubt about the flair all this adds.
Not so much for some of us. I don’t know how many of my birthdays I can remember and even for those I do; I doubt any can be described as “colourful”. My brother’s birthday happens to fall exactly a week before mine and as little boys; mum would choose to merge the two. As the baby in the house, Joejoe would definitely have the day and the much/little my family knew about birthdays would go down on this day. A week later, all that could happen, at most would be murmurs of “Happy Birthday!” in the morning and that would be more of it.
I however have a recount of my first birthday from the stories I hear, it must have been a great one. Dad bought mum a four burner cooker with an oven, but what would you expect? Nakuru Nursing Home had just witnessed the birth of the first baby boy in the Omondi household, ol’man must have been very happy. My relatives, fresh from the States, landing to the news of the new born and a freshly baked cake from auntie, a family couldn’t be happier. The ride in the KPD Volkswagen beetle, probably the best part of it.
But that was it for birth, birthdays and bath days, the rest have just been days. Of paper cone shaped caps, we only heard of and saw them on the media, my neighborhood only knew of having cake, juice and sweets and inviting a few friends over. The primary school ones when people brought sweets to class and shared with everyone, mine always fell on school holidays.
Then I went to boarding school and watched as people got drenched in water, enjoying the moments and loving each bucketful that landed on them regardless of how brown or clear the water was. This ran for six years, from class seven to form four, still, not so much for me. Even for those that would fall during holiday tuition, it happened to be on that day we were travelling home. I know of three that were spent on the road, including my eighteenth that was only all so important to me.
Then came uni, and the first one fell a day after I had joined campus. In the midst of strangers and a totally new place, I knew not what to do with this day. To make it worse we had no sockets in the hostels, I couldn’t charge my phone and hence missed the wishes my family had for me. Through the four years, I watched as college mates and friends enjoyed alcohol and hosted parties on their birthdays, mine would be spent travelling. The worst must have been last year’s. Having fallen on a Friday I thought I would do something but a few weeks to it grandpa passed and the burial date coincided with my birthday.
I have resorted to treating my birthdays as days of quiet that I use to reflect and thank God for His numerous blessings, and with that I cherish the only two cards I ever received in my entire lifetime. The first from a friend in high school whom I had met on a club “funkie” in 2004, this one came with a flower in it and was sent by post. The second was in 2010 from my family through my brother. To date I cherish the two cards and always remain grateful for the thought behind them.
Another phase in life I am in after campus and my first birthday falls this coming Sunday. I watched as the office “threw” a party for a colleague on Wednesday and thought “Another one coming and yet again I’ll “side step” the bathing part as it has always been.” I brace myself for a quiet on in the house and all the while, thanking God for the blessings He has bestowed upon me as I grow.