Occassion: My Mother's 60th Birthday Celebration
Date: Friday 14th August 2015
Venue: Mediterraneo Ristorante, Junction Mall, Nairobi, Kenya.
White Forest Birthday Cake: Cake Plaza Co. Ltd. Telephone 0732816558
Photography: Olive Ndungutse
‘Ladies and Gentlemen, the birthday girl is in the building,’ announced my sister at the table. It was a beautiful evening; a gentle breeze, subtle lighting at the table, candles and dimly lit lamp shades that enhanced people’s smiles and laughter. The group was an intimate one; friends, relatives and plus ones. The girl my sister was referring to was my mother. We had gathered to surprise her for a her sixtieth birthday, a major milestone, and my father, the evening’s wingman, had just sent me a text message saying they were climbing up the restaurant stairs, heading our way. The gathering of people, called at such short notice but having turned up all the same, moved me deeply. I smiled and began to feel giddy…you’d have thought it was my own birthday!
My mother was genuinely taken aback when the crowd shouted ‘SURPRISE!’ as she walked in. It’s not easy to surprise her, but she literally put her hand over her mouth and began calling out everyone she was most surprised to see, by name. Her childhood friends, her cousin, her nieces and her sister-in-law. It was a beautiful sight…heartwarming, really. My folks have had an intense year and it was great to see them laugh out loud and relax for the night. As the festivities kicked into high gear, people toasting and conversations flowing, the noise around me drowned out and I found myself trying to imagine myself at sixty. I watched my parents, who I’ve grown very close to. Their wisdom, love and generosity is unsurpassed. In my eyes, they’ve always managed to make ‘the balance’ work. Granted it hasn’t been easy, but they’ve lived long enough to know what works and what doesn’t for them. Will it be the same for me? Will I be surrounded by all this love? Will my children throw me a surprise party and call all the people closest to me to join in the celebrations? Will I have gotten to a point where I’m sure of myself, not living life with any inhibitions?
So I penned this letter, imagining myself at sixty, talking to my thirty-one-year-old self:
First of all, relax. You’re doing okay. I know you feel like there’s so much on your plate but that’s nothing unusual. You haven’t even seen the half of it! Soon you’ll be a parent and you’ll be learning to balance motherhood, being a wife and still working on all the projects you’re passionate about. You’re nervous, I can tell. There’s a part of you that’s apprehensive about trying to do it all. You’re seeking a new path and in order to be at peace with that, you’ve begun to realize that there’s people that may not understand you or support you while you’re climbing your way up the career ladder.
You were young and began to feel in control of it all; you were haughty, sometimes dismissive…but you didn’t mean to hurt anyone. If any of these people are still in your life, just say sorry. Simple. You have to mean it, though, and change the way you approach even the most difficult people. Move along after that and don’t berate yourself for past mistakes. Begin to make bold moves with your passion projects, the time is now and you want to do it while you’re still building yourself. Invest wisely now. At some point, money won’t be everything, as hard to believe as this is. Your family’s well being, your husband, aging parents and young adult children will become priority. Even your own health. You will make mistakes, many of them. You will win and lose, celebrate and mourn. Your forties and fifties will make you so much more comfortable in your skin, so you have lots of time to get there. Before then, you can still reach for the stars and be anyone you want to be. I say this now in hindsight so don’t think it’s a stretch! Trust God, learn Him and learn to grow in Him. I know you struggle with your faith sometimes; many of us still do, but never lose sight of how important this is. And love…yourself, your spouse, your support system, even those that tried to take away your shine; they probably need the most love. Remain hopeful even when the world seems like its burning. Be inspired and stay inspired. Don’t always over think things; sometimes it takes the relentless beating of your heart to go ahead and do something.
And Janet, stop living within the confines of your walls. Go out there. Soar. Conquer.’
I was snapped back to reality when my husband and brother asked me if I wanted to go out after the dinner, but I was flat out. I was also surprised by how deep my thoughts had gone. It felt like some kind of epiphany and I made a mental note that night as I got into bed, to live my life unapologetically. I want to get to sixty and beyond; God-willing I will, and I’ll want nothing more than to celebrate those milestones with the people I love most. Aging, therefore, will be a blessing to me, and I won’t let it get lost in the hype of youth. I summed it up with this great quote by Samuel Ullman: “Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.”
And so I’ll dance.
Caroline Wangui Ngerema
August 18, 2015 at 7:37 am
Janet u r a true definition of an inspiration,,,wise words and advice,,,you r everything I would like to be,,,if anyone asked me,,,
August 18, 2015 at 11:04 am
Thank you for your kind words Carolyne, God bless ?
Ruth Nyambura Waburi...
August 18, 2015 at 11:39 pm
Janet. though I am older than u.. u are my role model. Am 38. your words are from a mature settled woman yet so young. God bless u as u continue to inspire many generations..
August 18, 2015 at 8:09 am
you are awesome Janet may God fulfill your dreams
August 18, 2015 at 11:04 am
Thank you dear! May He fulfill your dreams too ☺️
August 18, 2015 at 9:13 am
Wow! such wise and moving words.
And hey, you have the gift of writing. ??
August 18, 2015 at 9:14 am
August 18, 2015 at 9:20 am
Janet, good job, i love your work you've got me hooked already! May God bless you and your awesome family.
August 18, 2015 at 9:22 am
And so I'll dance…..
August 18, 2015 at 9:24 am
Janet, well done, i love your articles you've got me hooked. May God bless you and your awesome family
August 18, 2015 at 11:10 am
So poignant, well articulated thoughts. I wonder too what the 40's. 50's, 60's and beyond will look like.. that letter is a point of reflection!
August 18, 2015 at 11:11 am
Wow!She must have been very happy..I love the letter..May you continue to be an inspiration to many…xx
August 18, 2015 at 1:16 pm
Thanks Linda! Will be checking out your blog soon ?
August 18, 2015 at 11:27 am
I love making my mom feel great,appreciating the good work she did of raising me. Am sure your mom will cherish you and your siblings for the party.Your mom did a great job of raising you.
August 18, 2015 at 1:15 pm
So happy to hear that! It's really important to love and celebrate them. Thanks for reading my posts! ?
August 18, 2015 at 11:53 am
Aaaww this is so sweet what you did for your mama…And your letter,I am not a wife or a mother, yet,but those words in it are so inspiring..Janet you are simply amazing, I look up to you…❤
August 18, 2015 at 11:53 am
wow Janet u a blessing to me….may God give you the courage to do what is good and always be happy
August 18, 2015 at 11:55 am
Still followig..quite some time travel there Janet…i loove i love..very authentic too,,you are an inspiration..keep going
August 18, 2015 at 1:14 pm
Thanks dear ☺️
August 18, 2015 at 11:57 am
you a blessing Janet
August 18, 2015 at 1:14 pm
August 18, 2015 at 11:58 am
Aaaww so sweet what you did for your mama…
And your letter too, I am not a wife or a mother just yet,but the words,they are so inspiring…
Janet,you are Amazing & I look up to you❤
August 18, 2015 at 12:36 pm
Oh Janet I could read your blog over and over again.I especially love how your flow of words and ideas is portrayed in that letter.!to me your the perfect example of a modern pied paper. Am just 19 and would you believe if I said I’ve walked with you since 15? Yes, that’s the first time I heard and saw you on tv (smiles)I thank God for Janet the journey.Now I feel that my role model is just a click away..If someone has inspired me, that person is you. ..keep doing what you do best Janet..i look up to you and so many of us do..i hope to see you someday before I hit 30.. (it will be a dream come true)…
We love what you do….Blessings
August 18, 2015 at 1:14 pm
God bless you for your kind words, Belinda! You have such a long life ahead of you! God willing our paths will cross someday. Take care ?
August 18, 2015 at 12:48 pm
oooh sweet Jesus!!janet!!!how does this letter get too deep in my soul!! am so happy i read this today..you wrote it to me! i know its almost impossible to live my life to half this letter coz my blood sometimes boils..its my 20s n wanting to live like my fourties but reading this…am so on track…loooooove you..so glad my heart landed on you..best decision i made this year…inspiration leads to success
August 18, 2015 at 1:12 pm
??? Thanks ma
August 18, 2015 at 12:50 pm
This is just amazing Janet!! God Bless
August 18, 2015 at 1:06 pm
and oh janet! yu’re so real it tears me up!am happy reading this and all teary! yu’re so relatable…may God bless and protect the woman you have become!yu’re so perfect
August 18, 2015 at 1:12 pm
Thank you so much Ann! I appreciate that you find it relatable. I'm SO not perfect! Lol! Thanks for reading my posts ?
August 18, 2015 at 2:20 pm
I don’t have a tendency of reading blogs and commenting. I have always read them plus the comments and then close the tab lol. Am so glad that i have read this post (and other posts). I have been working on my patience and procrastination. But this letter definitely summarized off my thinking. I thank God for people like you… You inspire me and I learn a lot from you. God bless you Janet.
August 18, 2015 at 2:21 pm
well put….I treasure my parents and I would do anything 4 them…such an inspiring blog….I loooove you!
August 18, 2015 at 2:52 pm
Incredible Janet, always looking forward to reading your next post. You never disappoint. You have always nudged part of my brain from a trance to living my life unapologetically. I love my family, always do.
August 18, 2015 at 3:09 pm
August 18, 2015 at 3:10 pm
From your letter it seems youve delt with a lot while climbing your ladder to success…
It inspires me and at least i know
That i aint alone dealing with the problems
And somehow your letter was directed to me too
Thanks a lot janet i now have a reason to keep fighting
August 18, 2015 at 4:02 pm
Janet, being an inspiration and humble is an extreme strength for me esp finding my path. as an august baby as well whoop whoop to your mum its a blessing each day. and to your old self it will be alright and looking back you will gaze at the legacy and hearts you will have changed and touched me being one of them. cheers*
August 18, 2015 at 4:56 pm
Hi Janet, wow! nice post. you look so much alike with your mum. its always nice seeing ones parents proud and happy of their children. Thanks for sharing your journey with us. i love your posts cant wait for the next one. God bless you!
August 18, 2015 at 5:19 pm
Many thanks for reading my blog posts Kate! I appreciate your comments ?
August 18, 2015 at 5:48 pm
You are an inspiration and model to me Janet.God bless you abundantly
August 18, 2015 at 6:00 pm
Wow I really like Janet Mbugua Ndichu;-) The last part gives you more strength.
August 18, 2015 at 6:33 pm
Doris!You can say that again……She’s a true definition of who a strong woman is…..I love her soo much!
August 18, 2015 at 6:31 pm
The greatest treasure of a mother is her kids!Thats soo kind to surprise and appreciate your mum….Yes!she deserved that,all those years she has been your mirror and its your time to show gratitude Heko!Dear we all have that very time we speak to our inner self some voices can whisper back to us but we’ve got the authority to shun them down and soldier on……Let nothing steal your destiny go for it Janet ….My role model it’s awesome to read and Re~read your blog blessings!
August 19, 2015 at 11:16 am
Thanks for that dear, kind and generous words!
August 21, 2015 at 12:21 am
Halo Janet, I am impressed by your articles and your activities, kudos. Kindly, respond to a mail I sent to you via inua Dada email from email@example.com, or drop me a mail. Thanks
August 18, 2015 at 7:59 pm
Great piece I watch you always and the strength and self discipline that you possess is something to admire..being a mother I know how it is to watch your little ones grow into beautiful young men and women..May God make the journey of mother hood easy for you.
August 19, 2015 at 12:26 am
Wow that letter is so deep,always inspiring me day to day. I started reading your blog first day you created it n noo regrets at all. Am always eager to learn something from you daily.. Keep it up n may blessing follow you always
August 19, 2015 at 1:03 am
This is so awesome..am glued to your posts I read n reread,so inspiring..i wish you well dear..Trust n have Faith that future will be bright
August 19, 2015 at 11:08 am
Janet u r a blessing God bless
August 19, 2015 at 11:42 am
soon am go do that to my own mother, and I will tell her that I got the idea from you "Janet ule wa TV" as she always refers to you thanks to the INUA DADA FOUNDATION..which she is a huge follower and a supporter of. thank you for the inspirational blogs..
August 19, 2015 at 2:42 pm
Wow Janet I must say you have given me a good challenge on that one I must say. Its amazing what you all did for that special woman. Happy New Year to her indeed and my she keep smiling on and on.
August 19, 2015 at 3:33 pm
Wow. Ok, I'll just say it. So I've checked the BAKE awards page and noticed that they had no category this year on the Most Inspirational Blog or something to that effect. They may have to include it in subsequent years. Only a few months old and you are already doing such a great job. You inspire me for being so authentic and real. Thanks for that. And happy birthday to your Mom!
August 19, 2015 at 3:58 pm
Janet, this is so inspiring and good example of how we should celebrate our parents as they grow old. God Bless you.
August 19, 2015 at 6:06 pm
You will surely get to your 60s and even more….your children will definitely surprise you too….God shall reward you…May your mum live to see many of this days..be blessed…
August 19, 2015 at 10:02 pm
i luv ua blog but am always locked out
August 20, 2015 at 6:12 pm
Its just amazing how am always stalking Janet the journey for a new post,,
U r a great woman!
And such a blessed family
Mary Sau Mwadime
August 21, 2015 at 9:06 am
Janet you are trully inspiring i look up to you…..May God Bless you☺☺
Mary Sau Mwadime
August 21, 2015 at 9:09 am
Janet you are trully inspiring cant get tired of reading your blog over n over again…i look up to you…may God bless you abudantly
August 21, 2015 at 11:52 am
Beauty and elegance runs in your family…am very inspired am sure God will enable you to do all that you want to do before your 60. enjoy the journey
August 22, 2015 at 1:27 am
How sweet of you and your family! I’ll be around the same age as you when my mom turns sixty… and I’ll probably have that going in my head. She played both the roles of father and mother to me and I’m eternally grateful. Happy belated birthday to Mrs. Mbugua. She did such a great job raising a jewel like you! God bless you Jan!
August 22, 2015 at 11:16 am
August 23, 2015 at 9:34 pm
waooow swee I learn something every time I read YOUR blog…GOD bless your life forever…I LOVE YOU MRS NDICHU MWAAAAAHHH!!!#janet#
August 26, 2015 at 8:48 am
Amazing post Janet. Your relationship with your mother is to be envied.
Just curious, Is Kevin Samuel Mbugua your sibling? Would love to know.
Saty safe and have a lovely journey to motherhood.
August 27, 2015 at 12:19 pm
Janet i love this…your stories teach,inspire and entertain…i love the photos too.
September 4, 2015 at 2:06 am
I love the blog.You always inspire me.God bless you Janet.
September 15, 2015 at 10:56 am
Am loving your blog Janet and the pics are great!! To live life unapologetically…. yes we owe that to ourselves.
October 11, 2015 at 10:46 pm
Call it fate,or Gods many surprises,I realy needed this,i honestly dont know what future me says when am in my doubts now but i guess she will sound something close to your letter.Honestly Janet,doesnt take mountains to change a life,this did it for me.
January 17, 2016 at 5:52 pm
Some how you always say all the things I want to hear.
…..love this blog.
March 22, 2016 at 10:10 am
Such kind words Mayer, thank you!