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What about the butterflies mum?

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I shook my head trying hard not to let her down. I never saw the butterflies nor did I see the stars. I felt resentment rise in me, as I felt cheated of what may have been a legitimate experience. She was looking at me and I could swear I saw stars in her eyes. Were those butterflies I felt in my stomach, my hands were sweating and I knew I was going to sound like a frog being strangled if I spoke. I took refuge in a screechy laugh. Alarmed at that sound I clamped my mouth shut.
There was a teeny bit of jealousy that rose in me. Tolu my fourteen year old daughter was beginning to look uncertain. I held her in my arms and screamed silently for help and guidance. She wanted to know when she would know she was in love and was asking me what she should feel. Nothing in my warehouse of memories looked like what the romance books says. The clammy feeling, the stars in her eyes and those darn butterflies!. I get all those feelings when I am nervous or am about to hit the roof over something.

Tolu had been told by her friends at school that she would feel all those things when she meets Mr. Right, Ergh! We had to talk, it was standard practice in the house, she asks the questions and I had always been able to answer the questions. Now I am having problem answering this one because knowing my daughter as I do, her next question was going to be if I felt that way about her father. So I took a deep breath, and held her hands

“Darling, love comes to people in different ways, when we are young and start seeing the opposite sex as a bit more interesting than the nuisance we thought they were, our generative instinct is coming into play. We are beginning to be self- conscious, we start wanting to look like the ideal we sense and want the object of our interest to see us as the ideal. I guess that is when we see those stars because we see in the other person something higher than ourselves and we want to be the best for that person. These feelings awaken in us the sense of what real love should be like. It is a beginning my dear but like a fruit just budding, you must allow it to grow, mature and ripen . Remember how I used to tell you not to eat unripe mangoes in the garden? You know you must allow it to mature and ripen and then you enjoy the fruit?”

Tolu nodded and she looked at me as she asked, “So falling in love is like seeing an unripe mango?”
“Learning about those butterflies in your stomach is learning about love and you will need to give the mango time to grow, mature and…..”
“ripen” she finished for me laughing.
I went further picking my words carefullyas I explained about crushes, infatuation and their new definitions of friends with benefits and friends without benefits. She was amused and we chatted for a few more minutes before I rushed off for my production meeting.

Obviously Tolu had only barely understood the phrase about “friends with benefits” because she asked her dad what were the benefits the neighbor’s undergraduate son meant when he said they could be friends. I waited until the wretch got back home and bared my teeth to the miserable boy, explained to him the benefits derivable from a rampaging witch as well as what the insides of a police cell could look like. I smiled as I explained to a horrified young idiot what he could with his benefits.

Tolu is barely on talking terms with him as I revisited out talk and gave details about the meaning of “friends with benefits”

Did I do it right? I have been wondering.
What do you think folks?

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Thank you, Grandma

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I read the book SURVIVED THE JOURNEY by Memuna Barnes. It is a story of survival. A story that can inspire our young persons today. Captured and held by rebels, this remarkable young woman walked through the emotional mines of her teenage emotions of infatuation, confusion and was able to hold close to her heart and head lessons she had learned from a grandparent which helped her retain a sense of herself. When we started this blog, I wanted to have her share with us. She is African and comes from the value systems we hold dear, how mush of these values was impacted to her became evident when she was captured as a teenager. I feel that we could learn as parents the benefit of her impressions and how the relationship she enjoyed with her grandma became a source of inspiration during those terrifying times with the rebels.

Please meet Memuna Barnes Author of SURVIVED: The Journey.
Growing up, I lived with my paternal grandmother for a period of my childhood and whenever anyone of her grandchildren were treated unfairly and went running to her in tears or if she found one of us in a corner in tears she would sit beside that child and say, ‘Nothing lasts forever…..if life which is created by God inevitably ends, then there is nothing that can be inflicted on you that will last forever.’
This is one of my favourite of my paternal grandmother’s sayings. She used these sayings in raising her us with unbreakable emotional strength.
This saying of hers along with a prayer – Psalm 23, taught to me by my parents were instrumental in keeping me sane when myself, one of my younger sisters and two female cousins were taken from our family by the rebels of the Revolutionary United Front in Sierra Leone and held captive for almost two years.
I have always been an outspoken individual, although in my teens this aspect of my personality was not always encouraged from my family – as in most African settings.
I was born in Liberia and so my parents along with one of my younger sisters and I lived in Liberia. We lived there till the civil war broke out in 1989, where I witnessed the atrocities humans are capable of inflicting on others humans on the more vulnerable side of life in the absence of law and order. A year later we were able to leave on the Sierra Leone army ship to my father’s side of the family, as he is Sierra Leonean and Sierra Leone was at peace at the time.
For some unexplained reason I would not curb this, I spoke my mind almost always during the my time in captivity. I was brave enough to tell the rebel commanding officers who showed sexual interest in me that I wasn’t old enough. As this was some of the advice my grandma gave me. That a girl must be past her teens before she can be sexually active or it would affect her fertility.
Most importantly, however, I always remembered where I was taken from (my upbringing) in order to keep my mind on where I want to go in life.
Another one of my granny’s advice.
So what do you think?
Let’s have your comments please.