Living with Gemini

 

Being born in June makes me a Gemini and yes it comes with all the traits of the star sign. This post is not about writing an essay on me but to espouse how growing up in a family of Gemini men and women has shaped me into who I am today. Today I am a man of many faces and with so much talent shaped over the years that I am still having problems trying to focus and channel these talents. It is not like the talents are bouncing all over the place but if I may say so myself, all of them have been honed into above average skill and that I hear and have been made aware is very rare.

Both parents are still alive and they pushed us children into things that they could not achieve. Being born to very Christian parents has its advantages and disadvantages both in this world and out of it. Truth be told, we were blessed right from birth because it was obvious that our parents had ‘opened a prayer bank’ for us (as one of my Christian friends remarked). We were and still are blessed beyond measure.

Dad was a telecom engineer with the then Ghana Telecoms and when he resigned to set up his own business his colleagues thought he was mad especially since everything was looking like it was going to get better with the divestiture and possible promotion for the indispensable technicians like him. He had been trained in the United States and even won an award graduating top of his class.

Mom has always been a caregiver and as such it was no surprise that with a big heart like hers she had gone into nursing and risen through the ranks to the very top before she retired. She is a strict nurse whose name Matron Larbi trends with all the senior nursing officers in all the major hospitals in Ghana. Even one time when a television station with international coverage started a series on unsung heroes who have stayed in the country to contribute to its development, she was the one chosen in the field of nursing. She had stayed when most of her colleagues were going abroad to seek greener pastures in the health sector especially in the United Kingdom and Saudi Arabia.

Both parents combined their passion and zest for life with fervent Christianity and this is the environment in which we grew up in. For the longest time ever, Dad was a deacon in the Baptist church and until finally he decided to go to the seminary so he could go into full time ministry as a Baptist pastor. Obviously Sundays were the most important days in the Larbi residence and it was the only time nobody was allowed to go anywhere and the family got to spend time together. This was however even pre-dependent on how much time was spent in church on Sunday especially being church leaders who had to attend series of meetings when church was done. We were usually the first in church and the last to leave. So we children developed the habit of being church workers early. Sweeping the church hall and cleaning the chairs for the rest of the congregation.

Dan and Mary, as they have been affectionately called by their contemporaries, have been married so long that they look like a man and his sister. They have worked everything out to a tee including even the birth and spacing of their children which usually is amazing. I am the first of three children and I was born on June 4. The second son after me was born on June 7 exactly three years after me and the last son was born again on June 4 exactly three years after the second born. This makes me and my little brother twins but exactly six years apart. There is a twist in the tale too. Our mom’s birthday is on the 19th of June, so for years on end on that day in June there was always a party in the house. Furthermore in the political climate of Ghana, our birthday was a holiday for 22 years. It couldn’t get any better. How our parents managed to do that is still a mystery to us all but they attribute it to the Hand of God in their lives.

Amazingly, it is not only in our house that there have Gemini children. My mother’s sister also had 5 children who were all born in different days in June years apart with the third and fourth children also born on same day June 3 two years apart. Our first cousins are also all Gemini and there are more Gemini in the whole extended family of my mother’s five other sisters. Our two other cousins who came to stay with us when we were younger have birthdates of June 5 and June 12 too.  Our house usually got chaotic almost every day especially when we became teenagers and went off to boarding school.

As teenagers, it was time to strive to liberate ourselves from the tentacles of parental control and carve a niche for ourselves. It was the most hectic time for them as parents  I must confess myself because it got to a time I’m sure they didn’t know what to do with me. Right from the moment the doctor smacked my butt that fateful Friday afternoon in June, I was named trouble because I peed into the doctor’s face in retaliation for smacking me on the ass that hard. In high school, I was one of the most notorious youngsters around and always got into trouble with not only my seniors but also my teachers.  The only thing that kept me on borderline sanity was that I was reading a lot.

Our grandparents had never had formal education but stressed the importance of education to our parent and with the little they had they pushed us to be better than they would ever be. By the age of ten, my dad had already made me read all 12 series of Makers of Civilization and it amazes people that I love and am trained as a historian and researcher. Even in high school most of my personal projects were to read books and one time I had a personal project to read all the books under the African Writers Series and The Pacesetters series of short stories. I had become the kind of person that in my adult life when I wanted to pamper myself with my first salary I went into a bookstore and spent half of my first national service salary on books. Yes! That’s me alright. Pampering myself by buying books.

It is very surprising sometimes to me that I have always been a nerd but then a fun nerd. Being a Gemini I have managed to switch into a lot of personalities and fill many roles that nobody realizes exactly who I really am, the shy introvert who will always remain in the background and never come forward for anything.

Chaos defines the Gemini trait because that is when the person exhibits their prowess most. Commonwealth Hall, University of Ghana was a turning point in my life. University life I threw myself into sports and played four different school teams and it was quite gratifying to see and hear coaches fight over which team to play for when matches were going on concurrently at sports events. My parents were very supportive throughout all this because dad had been a hockey player in his youth and mom had been a sprinter (you should see her size now). She is always teasing herself that her children have gone for big boned African women since we model our relationships on her but that she used to be very petite woman. I remember the one time I had Afro hair so thick i couldn’t comb it and my mom refused to ever come see me again until I have cut my hair and I told her then so be it. She was raging mad that I defied her.

I have had my fights with my parents. Oh yes! We all have but it has been the best of times and the worst of times with them but through that entire time one thing has remained evident. That they love their children unconditionally and they did the best that they could do to use the Christian biblical principles to shape us the best they could into who we have become as adults. But evidently motherhood is never transient and mom is as protective as ever like a hawk with young chicks.

Dad has always been a private person who will hardly take credit for anything he does but will give glory to God and take criticism like it doesn’t affect him. Even at his age he has shown the importance of education by going back to college and by a twist of fate, I end up having tutorial lessons for him and his colleagues at home when it was time for their exams. I do it with joy because this is the man who is responsible for all that I am today. He slaved to pay my fees to go to school and not only for me but sometimes when I think back that all three children including our cousins who came to stay with us went to some of the best schools on the A list in Ghana it’s pretty amazing.

Now after reading this I’m sure people can understand why he always insists that we go out together as a family as we did when we were children. The man is just proud to show his ‘tall’ children off. Oh yes! In case you didn’t know, I’m the shortest and smallest of my brothers and I’m 6 foot 1in tall and weigh 92kg. Why won’t our parents walk tall surrounded by such giants especially when we go to church and at social gatherings when colleagues ask them about ‘the boys’ and they are quick to round us up and say proudly ‘‘the boys are now men oh’.

Me, my brothers and cousins are all close knit friends who got each others back any day because of the upbringing we had from our parents. Blood is thicker than water means a lot to us as a chaotic intelligent bunch.

That’s my folk for you, love them to bits and ever grateful to God for such wonderful parents.

 #Family Ties

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8 Responses to “Living with Gemini”

  1. “…I have had my fights with my parents. Oh yes! We all have but it has been the best of times and the worst of times with them but through that entire time one thing has remained evident. That they love their children unconditionally and they did the best that they could do to use the Christian biblical principles to shape us the best they could into who we have become as adults…”. Amazing write up Kofilarbi. Something i can relate to. I hope you have tag them in this post.

    • my parents have computers for phones but being almost septuagenarians, they only use it for the basic things. wish i could tag them though.

      they are amazing people, modest and private too..

      thanks for the support Frank

  2. Salomey Abraham Says:

    Simply beautiful..God bless you parents and God bless you.So now my new birthday is June 19th.Thank you.

    • lol! Sally i see your intention. you want to be my mother. well then know that i will soon be contacting you for adult breast milk.

      it’s not all about the partying but you gotta stand up to the responsibility of taking care of three six footers, not just me!

      thanks for the support!

  3. “I was named trouble because I peed into the doctor’s face in retaliation for smacking me on the ass that hard.” – HAHAHAHAHA!

    “Pampering myself by buying books!” YES!

    ” Blood is thicker than water means a lot to us as a chaotic intelligent bunch.”

    Oh Kofi, your writing is lovely! Thanks for letting us have a small glimpse into your life. It is appreciated!

    • you are very welcome Akua. it’s folk like you who inspire me to write because i know you will devour it.

      you made me laugh so much at your extracts in the writing folk around me were wondering if i was okay. it didn’t read that funny when i was writing it. just said it like it is.

      thanks for the support!

  4. I want to tell tell you paaa…but I know where I will do that. Your parents have tried paaa…they shoud be given a national award.

    As a bro…I know you have just scratched the surface and just like your young-old man…being modest and hiding behind the noise in your corner but surely your recognitions and contributions to this nation will find you out and place you in your proper place Mr. Kofi Larbi aka Kola Nut!

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