It’s Justin’s birthday this week.
He’s turning 7 years old…I think, I hope.
Why am I not sure despite the fact that I spent two years listening to him and his younger brother repeatedly telling me their ages?
But, I am pretty sure he is turning seven. I mean, he cannot be older than that, at least I don’t think he is. Let’s just settle on seven then.
So he’s turning seven, and unfortunately this time I won’t be there to celebrate.
Last year, my elder brother (his dad) and I took a cake to the school. That was fun. I still remember the look in his eyes when we walked in. He was shocked at first, and then embarrassed for a short while, and then the excitement started building up. The other kids kept asking, ‘is that your dad? Is that your dad?’, and ‘will you give me cake, will you give me cake first, si I’m your friend’…
His teacher asked him to come forward with his closest friend so that they could cut the cake together. I could tell he was a bit shy about it, but he seemed happy. We left when they began singing happy birthday. He was ecstatic when he got home later that evening, and all he could do was talk about the cake and his friends.
I can’t believe he is seven years old. I remember the day he was born so vividly like it just happened yesterday. My mum called that afternoon to tell me to get to Nairobi Women’s in the evening after work. It was my first long-holiday from campus, and I had finally managed to land an internship at the National Bank of Kenya. I worked in the data capture department, and I absolutely loved it (I love repetitive jobs).
Wah, si I got lost. Like completely lost. When I finally arrived, my mother was pissed off. How can a grown woman, who has been born and raised in this city, get lost in between town and Nairobi Women’s, especially given the fact that she had painstakingly given me directions over and over and over again? Hahahaha.
To this day I still get lost in this town, which completely baffles her, because according to her, she knows Nairobi like the back of her hand, and I should too.
Anyway, my brother and sister-in-law were happy I made it just in time. And then, they let me hold him. I could not believe that adults could trust me with a newborn baby. I carried him over to the sofa where my mum was sitting.
I remember looking at him and getting scared because he looked like he could break. His skin was peeling, and he was doing this weird thing with his eyes. It’s like he was capable of rolling them to the back of his head. Oh My God, I was transfixed!!!!!
And then, they told me they do not have a name for him. Poor things were too tired to even come up with a name for him. Woiye. We started brainstorming, and for five minutes or so, we were completely stomped. I seem to remember that we wanted a name that started with a J because my brother’s name is James. And then out of nowhere, while staring down at the newest baby I had ever seen, with the most bizarre eye movement I had ever witnessed, I just shouted, ‘Justin!’
And that’s what they named him…Justin!
It’s been a gift to be a small part of his life. His parents have done a marvelous job here. He (and his brother, and his cousins) has brought so much laughter into my life. He loves to laugh, and it is infectious. He loves to read, and he loves knowing what things mean and what they say. He loves to run, and he is getting faster by the day.
He is obedient, and he has a lot of love to give. He has love for everyone around him. What amazes me and has sometimes caught me off-guard is how well he knows the difference between right and wrong. He likes doing the right things, the right way.
He is a sensitive soul, but he also has a strong personality. Even when homework gets tough, Justin hardly gives up. Speaking of homework, this boy is super neat. His handwriting is perfect and symmetrical (can you describe someone’s handwriting as symmetrical? I don’t know. I’m just trying to tell you his handwriting is on another level for a standard two child).
Imagine he gets peeved when the letters do not come out exactly the way he wants them. And his work is always neatly arranged. You can tell how bothered he is when he gets something in his homework wrong. And he’ll work at it until he gets it right. He always has psyche to revise. Always! Even during the holidays.
He is just very conscientious about his homework. And about brushing his teeth. And about finishing all of the food on his plate. And about brushing his shoes.
He is kind and ever-so-curious about everything and anything. He is also a very quick learner.
I hope he remains this way for the rest of his life. Happy, curious, loving, diligent, and kind.
I hope when he is reading this twenty years from now, he will be happy with the man he has become, and I hope we will always be close.
It is such a blessing to be his aunty!!!!!!!
May this be an everlasting love, and may I be the aunty that he, Jude, Aiden, Jazmine, and Ethan deserve.
Just an update! Here’s a recent picture of Justin and I.