• Anwuli Anyah

May 1.0 - Kick, Kick, Paddle, Paddle

Updated: Apr 24



I said those words so many times these past 2 weeks as my little Tobe learned how to swim and ride his tricycle. For a few nights, I had these words repeating in my head as I thought about how deep a meaning they held.

Kick, kick, paddle, paddle.

This is exactly what we all, as adults, are doing in our everyday. We are kicking and paddling through life. Paddling to keep moving through life’s goals and milestones, to experience the delight, fulfillment, and happiness it brings. Often, the paddling is mixed in with kicking. Kicking to stay afloat as we go through failures, disappointments, and setbacks in life. These moments eventually pass and then we paddle on.

I hope that through the journey of growing up and living with his Dad and me, Tobe learns the lessons and skills he needs to make it through life mostly happy. I say mostly because there is always some sadness in life and the ability to find happiness in whatever life situation one ends up in is the most important skill we can give our children.

I, as do many other people, sometimes struggle with staying positive. It is so easy to get stuck in the cycle of only seeing the ugly side of things. Lately, I’ve began to appreciate that people are mostly good, life is mostly good, and that we, in this generation, do live in a better world. This is especially true if you live in the part of the world we live in. These basic realizations are enough to help us carve out happiness in our lives.

At swim class, while I yelled ‘kick Tobe, kick’ in my mind, I was saying, ‘kick, my Tobe. Be strong, stay strong. Even when life may try to keep you down, you have to keep kicking. You have to keep trying’. Because when we stop kicking, we drown. When we stop trying, when we stop striving, the struggles of life will drown us. And in the evenings, whenever we took the bike out, as I told Tobe to paddle, I was thinking along the same lines.

It’s all happening fast. Feels like just yesterday he was a little baby and now he’s a boy. He is exploring, asking questions, and learning so fast. I am so proud of him, it’s irrational. I am happy that he is growing up but I’m starting to miss my baby. I miss holding him, I miss how dependent he was, I miss nursing him, I miss his baby smell. I have a feeling that this weird sense of longing and missing and loving is a big part of motherhood. Now that he is a boy, I miss his infancy, when he becomes and adolescent, I’ll miss his boyhood, and when he becomes a man, I’ll miss all of it. Motherhood is such a crazy beautiful thing. A couple of days ago I called him my baby and he told me that he wasn’t a baby, that’s he was a big boy. He’s not even three yet!

The changes that have happened this year of his life have been incredible. We started 2 years old saying only a handful of words and now his vocabulary is rich and he makes complex sentences. His sense of self has also greatly evolved. I almost tear up when he introduces himself to strangers. He always follows by introducing me and his dad. He says ‘I’m Tobe’ then he points to me and says ‘this is mama’ and to his dad and says ‘this is dada’. It’s the cutest thing. He now tells me when he's sad and happy. Last week I got home late after a long day at work and he said, ‘I’m happy mama’s home’.

In 7 short weeks he will be three years old. I can’t wait for all that year 3 has in stock for us. But in many ways, I can wait.

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