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 father’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 father 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 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 decisions you’ve been making, that you’ll do a good job in deciding. But I want to remind you that on top of the 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 can be deal breakers. When I met your father, 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 Eighteenthbirthday? (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 dad 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! We were also 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 6 day deadline to present my thesis, and it was really quite a big deal. That did not stop us either! I just want to let you know, that life is interesting. Life 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. Because that can be disastrous! (If you don’t believe me, ask your dad about that one time he forgot my birthday!!)
Kwaku, most importantly, today, your father 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!
Mummy and Papa!