It is 4pm on Saturday 20th December and four generations of ladies from the Onakoya family are gathered to celebrate great grandma Binta Onakoya at ninety. The modest celebration is over and the ladies engage great grandma in earnest conversation.

“Maami, after the bustle of today’s celebration, I think you deserve a nap and rest. I don’t know how you manage to be so active and alert at ninety. Its incredible! At sixty two, I am already done for the day. My knees ache and I am exhausted” Zubaida quips.”Besides, this menopause menace is making me feel unusually uncomfortable these days. I need to go take a rest in an air conditioned room. By the way maami, how come you never enlightened me about the health challenges associated with the aging process – the physical and physiological changes which all require health management.  Suddenly, I can no longer do the things I used to and all I hear is change your lifestyle, diet and exercise habits.”

As Great grandma clears her throat, Dotun, who is thirty six says “Hey mom…you did the exact same thing. No pep talk about the surprises in marriage, pregnancy and even raising the children especially the teenage years. What about managing home and career….juggling both without dropping the ball? Whew….I appreciate you the more daily  as I wonder how you coped with five of us combining the role of chef, nutritionist, nurse, teacher, counsellor, disciplinarian etc, meanwhile I struggle with just two children. Now, I understand when you say – ultimately, rest is only achievable in the grave.”

Twelve year old Atonte, who had been attentive all along , chips in…”Mom, you are doing a great job of things and I see you as my role model. I love being a woman (at least that is what I expect to grow up to be), but the discomfort created by this menstrual cycle is discomfiting. Bio does not have to go through all this, it’s unfair. It demands a higher level of cleanliness and care to ensure I am not embarrassed by stains and the cramps every month…I wish I could pass on them.” Dotun responds to Atonte with an explanation. “Atonte dear, Bio is a boy and your roles are different. I know you’ve been taught about Reproduction in school. God created women to bear children, so the eggs you produce monthly are fertilised by a male sperm to enable you conceive. Each month from the age of puberty till menopause, a fresh egg is produced. Once it is not fertilised, it is shed and discarded as a menstrual flow. Therefore, the shedding of the unfertilised egg each month is what comes as the monthly menstrual cycle which can be suspended during pregnancy and resumes after childbirth.”

Great grandma Binta clears her throat and states in a clear voice.” Maybe I should share my thoughts on the cycles of a woman’s life, something to remember me by when I’m gone.” she laughed. ”I categorize the cycles women pass through into five.

  1. THE GIRL CHILD (1-12years): At this stage, the girl child and boy child are much the same except that girls tend to be gentler and settle down into maturity faster. They display an innate motherly instinct which they display with their dolls and pets.They however learn to do whatever they are exposed to as well as the boy child – be it climbing trees or playing football. This is the stage at which they must be introduced to the word of God and his expectations. “Train up a child in the way she should go and when she is old she will not depart from it” –  Proverbs 22:6
  2. TEENAGE/YOUTH (12 – 20years): Self consciousness sets in as she attains puberty. Physical and physiological changes occur bringing about self discovery. She subconsciously starts thinking about and preparing for marriage and child bearing/rearing while at the same time working on career moves through school or tutelage. Atonte dear, I believe you are moving to this stage and I assure you, while it can throw up its own frustrations and disappointments, it is a period of learning in all ramifications. Increased Spiritual growth.
  3. WIFE/MOTHER (21 – 50years):  God prepares her emotionally and physically for the institution of marriage and its attendant responsibilities. Her body is prepared to take the pain associated with childbirth, the aftermath of Eve’s encounter with the Devil in the garden of Eden…Gen 3:16 of the Bible.  He also blesses the union with children, both biological and “adopted”. During this cycle, the woman also is building her career or trade, she is upwardly mobile and displays innate multi-tasking abilities. This is a period when she bustles with vigour and the energy required to train children. This cycle can only be successful if you hold steadfastly to God. Dotun….well done, Atonte attests to your success in this cycle.
  4. GRANDMA (51-70years): At this point she gradually reduces her hustle and retires from a vigorous career but remains active both mentally and physically. Menopause kicks in because God knows her energy can no longer cope with bearing, rearing and training children. The body suffers from the toll of child bearing and aging so she needs to watch her diet, exercise and maintain a happy life balance. Take care of her physical health and mental health. Zubaida dear, now is the time to relax and enjoy the benefits of your past labour of love. Undoubtedly, aches and pains will arise as the body parts begin to age but you can ride with the tide and manage them. This is a time when you need peace of mind and contentment while keeping both your body and mind active. Enjoy the simple things of life, see the good in every situation and pray for family, friends, neighbors, nations…in short, pray without ceasing.
  5. GREAT GRANDMA (71+years): Prepares to meet with her maker, the author and finisher of her faith. Set her house in order and protect her legacy in prayers. Eat, Rest, Enjoy life Read the Holy book and PRAY.

You must however note that there is a common thread that runs through all five cycles and that is  what I refer to as the God factor.  You must study the word, pray and fellowship with others to keep in tune with God and his plans for you at all times. He it is who makes a way where there appears to be none. Not everyone lives old enough to go through all the stages but whichever, one attains, God’s grace suffices.”

At this, great grandma Binta, kissed her ladies goodnight and settled down to a restful sleep.



3 thoughts on “SUNRISE TO SUNSET

  1. Wow!!
    I am short of words. This article of yours is exceptional. You hit the points and you seem to know the steps and stages of the Life span of a Woman.
    Excellent writer and well done.


  2. This looks like a family manual. Every family needs to teach their young ones these various stages in life so they understand what they experience.
    Thanks Havila.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s