To You, Young Lady
Dearest Young Lady,
I pray all is well with you. I was once your age. I liked to skip on my way to wherever my Mama sent me, because I not only enjoyed it, but also for the fact that coming back from an errand fast always made Mama praise me. Skipping to school and everywhere else used to make me warm because at that time I did not have lots of clothes. Sweaters too were alien to most of my peers and I.
I studied hard and passed my exams in primary school with flying colors, I believe because my Mama prayed for us kids everyday.
My first period came as a shock; I was 17 years old, and I had to run home all the way from school in a panic, screaming like a banshee, because, although we’d been taught everything about it in our Biology class, it was scary happening for real. Mama was not home when I got there, but she found me sobbing a few minutes later, from her errands, and after consoling me, she burst out laughing! I couldn’t believe what I was witnessing, but after showing me how to use an old piece of blanket to avoid staining my clothes in future, she calmly told me that I should have seen my face in light of a harmless and natural occurrence.
My parents didn’t have much money, so they couldn’t afford to pay my school fees, which made me drop out of high school a year before sitting my final exams. Being idle and a beautiful young girl of 17, I met my first boyfriend, who would be my husband, the same year. I realized that I had to grow up, from a high school kid to a woman, overnight. Life was tough, my husband was jobless, I couldn’t get employed because I didn’t have the necessary papers. At 22, that is 5 years later, I was a mother of two daughters with nothing to feed, clothe or house them with. I had to act fast! I talked to my husband, who enrolled me for my final high school exams as a private candidate. Miraculously, I passed and my husband helped me again through a Media college.
However, getting a job was an uphill task, since even armed with my Diploma in Mass Communication with special emphasis in Print Journalism, bosses at 90% of the offices I went to in search of employment expected me to choose between sleeping with them, and buying the job. Since I couldn’t bring myself to do either, I quit mainstream media and decided to freelance in any odd jobs that came along. It has been a long journey, but a worthwhile one. My daughters are young ladies, in fact the eldest is 17, her sister is 15 and after their two brothers is my angel, Baby Lindy at fifteen months old.
I find myself praying for them everyday, just as Mama did for us. I quell their fears, and reassure them of a better tomorrow everyday.
I am very thankful because, my daughters have never used old rags to hold their menses, and that they did not have to wait way into their marriages like myself, to appreciate the comfort of sanitary pads. They both finish high school next year. I hope they will pass their final exams to secure themselves places in public universities, because I don’t want them to suffer like their Mama did, like her Mama before her.
And you Young Lady, I hope you will work hard in school and out, and that you will appreciate every little scrap you have now, since there are many girls who would give anything to be in your shoes.
I want to tell you that as I pray for my children everyday, so shall I implore Fate to always Bless, Guide and Protect you, together with your daughters and theirs too.
Take care, I love you very much.
Call me, Big Sister.