Munira Hussein

Adopting a Child’s Excitement

Tomorrow is Miss H’s birthday. She is turning six. Since her last birthday, we have been talking incessantly about her next birthday. And by we, I mean she. She has over the year, outlined everything she wants. The mass of her cake keeps shifting. Sometimes, it is nine kgs, sometimes thirteen, sometimes four. Never less. She also wants cupcakes, a pink dress, a pair of shoes, slimy, colouring books…at the end of the list, she often says get me whatever you want but ensure you put it in a box. That means she wants her gifts wrapped. Make it a secret she can unlock and hope she finds joy because she is not one to see happiness where there is none.

Being a restless person, I look forward to tomorrow with certain anticipation, a sense of responsibility to ensure this child turns six the way she imagined she would turn six: with everyone in her life running around, serving her. “Treat me like a queen.” She had demanded. The urge is to curtsy and say, “your wish is my command princess.”

My birthday is just one day after Miss H’s. I have only one time (not my initiation), celebrated my birthday. I let the others after that slide but because of the infectious nature of Miss H’s excitement, I have decided to participate in my own birth this time around. Make a meal for friends I care about, spend the first day of my new beginning with people who hang onto the flickers of my light. Even go to the extent of making my hair and doing my nails, summon the joy of existence into my own life. And then maybe at the end of the day, I, much like Miss H, might begin planning my next one in good time. Ask for my friends to bring me my gifts between book pages, or in words. Request that they treat me like a queen, run around and provide whatever it is I want.

To appreciate one’s existence, one ought to be an adult with Miss H’s attitude or have a Miss H in their life. I am so very grateful for this 6-year-old tomorrow child, whose love for self doesn’t take away from her love for others. Her belief in abundance encompasses every faculty of our diminishing faiths and hopes, restoring us to a place of humanity, a place of safety, a place of capability.

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