Out of the darkness and into the light

Honestly, I have no idea what the title should be, so just bear with me, ok?

The other day I was joking with hubby about “other women”. You know, the typical “don’t go picking up other women on boys night” silliness. I joked that I don’t share and even when I die, I would haunt him. He told me to have fun with that. And that it seems like too much effort.

I was quite taken aback by that and asked him to clarify. He informed me he would be too busy for women. So, uh, he has plans for after my death, does he? And then he explains. “I’ll be too busy raising our daughter!”

Now, my first response was that I’m not dying tomorrow! I was talking old age here. Since then, I’ve been thinking about it more.

My father could not live without a woman. I’m not sure what exactly ha did after his first divorce, other than run away, but after he and my mom divorced he ran back to his mother. Then he quickly remarried. His child was never his first concern, because he was completely lost without the guidance of a dominant woman. In the end, my father and I became estranged and when he died two years ago, I hadn’t spoken to him in 18 months. I didn’t even know he was sick, because my step-mother viewed me as a threat. (That’s a rant not meant to be put in writing)

My husband, conversely, recognises the hardship of single parenting and views it’s challenges as more important than new romance. Rather than the aim of wanting to provide our daughter with a replacement parent if it ever comes to that, his aim is to provide her with a fully present remaining parent.

Maybe it’s because I feel I lost my dad the day he remarried, but that means a lot to me.

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Who needs diversity..?

The answer would be “Me, I need diversity and variation and differences”

So this is a vent post, be warned.

Yesterday, we went to a popular farm restaurant in our area. Families love it, as it has a huge lawn and play area and the food is good without being over-priced. First thing upon asking for a table for four adults and one almost toddler, was being asked if my son would be sitting on my lap. I have a daughter, she was wearing red and grey. I’m used to this by now, since we chose to raise her gender-neutral (not as an it, just without stereotypes).

But then I look over my mother in-law’s shoulder at the baby behind her. The girl in so many frills and bows she’d never safely fit in a car seat. The one who looks like she’s just been fished out of a cotton candy machine. The one with the massive headband with the massive bow who is struggling to keep her head up under the weight of it. And I wonder if that’s what it takes to clearly be female.

But, you know, whatevs.

While we were waiting for our food, we decided to walk around the play area. Our daughter is very petite (still wearing 3-6 at 2 weeks short of her first birthday) and started walking about a month ago, so she seems to appeal to people. As such, we soon had a flock of women and girls around us. 

And there I stood, surrounded by a sea of PINK.

I capatalise that, because it really hit home at that moment and as I looked around, that not a single female under 13, except our daughter, was wearing a different colour. Every single one of them was in some shade of Pink! 

Now, for the usual disclaimers. No, we do not have an issue with pink. No, we do not have an issue with femininity. We DO take issue with stereotyping and forcing people into boxes they may not fit.

So I get you might love pink and think it’s the cutest thing. I also know you might hate it, but think it’s the done thing. I also know the struggle of finding anything else for little girls.

My concern is, our concern, is that when we are already stereotyping our children straight out the womb as princess for girls and anything for boys, what are we doing to their futures?

I heard mothers reprimand their daughters for wanting to play a little rougher, but encourage their much younger sons to do much more. What message are we sending?

There has been some research into why their are so few women in the STEM careers and a lot of evidence points to the way we raise and speak to our daughters. Less independence, less curiosity, less exploration, more care with your dress.

We want our daughter to be who she is, whether that is a princess or an astronaut or anything else or all of it. She was born curious and I hope like hell she’ll stay that way. So yes, she owns one or two pink items and she has a doll and teddies. But frankly, most pinks don’t suit her skin tone, she actively prefers bright and dark colours and frills really are not practical at this life stage. And yes, even at this age, we let her choose.

And we crave the type of diversity, starting with clothing, but on all levels, that allows a child to become who they are without stereotyping them into perfect little boxes.

PS. All girls do not like pink. There are only 2 females in my entire family who do and of those, one only started in early adulthood.

Ok, rant over.

The Unassuming Warrior

Many moons ago, I decided to write a series about admirable women. I found 6 as a start and sent out my questions to them. Two came back with their responses so quickly, I was quite amazed. I’m still waiting for some responses, these women are super busy, and I’ve told myself that is why I haven’t gotten started, but the truth is, I haven’t had the guts to write about other people. Today, I feel that it is time I gave it a shot, though.

I would humbly like to introduce you to Jonelle du Pont from Tyranny of Pink. I first became aware of Jonelle during my pregnancy, on a motherhood group on Facebook and I eagerly followed her story as our pregnancies progressed. I was most fortunate to be put in touch with her by Mandy-Lee Miller from Pregnant in Cape Town.

So, here goes…

Jonelle is originally from Swaziland and moved down to Cape Town in 2003 to pursue her studies. She is passionate about Community Development and worked in the non-profit sector up to 2014, when she decided to pursue writing and started her blog (which you should read, if you don’t already). Recently she also launched Jonelledupont.com, her website aimed at inspiring women to achieve their own goals and follow their dreams.(Update: Jonelledupont.com has evolved to encompass all levels of community development )

Jonelle and her hubby have been married since 2012 and in 2015, they added the gorgeous Oden to their family. Being able to be home to watch him grow, has made her “professional sacrifices” (by societal standards) absolutely worth it.

Challenges

Jonelle describes her life as blessed. She comes from a close-knit family that has always offered a lot of love and support.

At 23, she unexpectedly lost her father in a car crash. An event that has shaped her views on car safety and played a part in her joining the #carseatfullstop campaign earlier this year.

More recently, Jonelle’s world was rocked by complications during her son’s birth. In her own words:

A more recent challenge which I’m still trying to come up for air from was nearly dying in September. I had a really straightforward pregnancy and everything was going along just fine until I went into labour. It was such a mess. The nurses thought I had a placental abruption (separation of the placenta from the wall of the womb) and I was rushed in for an emergency C-Section. They told me if they don’t act fast that my son will die. It wasn’t actually the case. After lying in the maternity ward for 4 days after my son was born, and constantly complaining of pain, I was finally diagnosed with an almost unheard of appendicitis. It’s really not something that happens during pregnancy very often. By the time they realised my body was already in a really bad state and I landed up in ICU.
Two days later I had to be opened up again for a planned general rinse of my body cavity. However when they went in, I had developed septicemia. What no one had realised was that I also had undiagnosed endometriosis and my uterus had fused to my colon. During the delivery of my son, my uterus had been pulled away from my colon, which ruptured and had been leaking into my body. The surgeons were not very optimistic about my case. I was in hospital for a full month and had to have physio to regain strength and use my muscles and body. Even though I woke from that surgery with a colostomy I hadn’t been warned about, I was alive. It was major. My newborn son was still lying in the maternity ward while I struggled not to die.

 

Coming out the other side

Jonelle is an incredibly positive person and has taken strength from her experiences. From her father’s death, she took the ability to be strong and independent. From her birth experience she took a great appreciation for life.

It’s not always smiles and sunshine, though. Jonelle also lost both her grandparents during the first 5 months of motherhood and had to return to hospital for numerous surgeries and treatments. It can take its toll on even the toughest of people. I look at my son and I burst into tears at the life that I nearly missed with him. I’ve had to spend the first part of his life fighting to get well again and just when things start getting back to normal I develop an infection and end up back in hospital. I’ve spent a total of around two months in hospital over the last while., she says.

Other than an appreciation for life, Jonelle was also reminded to live fully – life is just too short for all the bullshit that we put up with. Now, I’m dedicated to living a life that I love. If I don’t want to do something, I don’t do it. I want my life to be one that I value, not just a passing of days. What was major for me was realising that I didn’t need to change anything about my life. I was already living a life that I love. I just suddenly felt so much more appreciative of it and the people in it. These moments show you what matters and the people in it that mean the most. I discovered that I was really loved and I really loved my life.

Jonelle draws strength from her son, who is clearly the light of her life, and her family, who have been with her and supported her every step of the way. She is also inspired by People who live life by their own rules. I’m inspired by people who embrace difference and aren’t afraid to try things their own way. It’s so hard to stand up to what other people expect of you and say no, that’s not what I’m about.

At the time of answering my questions, Jonelle was focusing on getting better every day and on her writing, with the specific aim of empowering other people. She is a passionate person and empowerment on all levels, is right up there on her list of passions. She is excited about life and through a very tough time, has managed to hold on to her sense of self and sense of humour.

To those of us struggling to get through a day, Jonelle has the following words: I wish people would just look at their own lives and decide if they’re happy living the life they have. It’s not always possible to change your circumstances but if it is, and you’re not happy with the cards you’ve been dealt then change them. Pursue the dreams you’ve always had. Embrace the life you’ve always dreamed of. Life is just so fragile and it can end just like that. I was lucky to have a second chance but I was also lucky in that it made me realise that there is nothing missing from my life. I was already living the life of my dreams but I can tell you one thing that I know for sure it, I won’t be taking anything for granted anymore. Every single day matters. You don’t have to go out and do huge things, just sitting at home with my family is special to me. I don’t need to be climbing mountains to know that my life is amazing.

Even when it seems like all you can do it give up, don’t. Fight. Fight harder than you’ve ever fought and know that life is worth it. Bad things happen to good people and not always for a reason that makes sense. I’ve had so much heartbreak and pain both physically and emotionally but I’m still here and I’m not ready to give up. Have faith that in the hard times, there will be good times ahead but the power really is in your hands. You can sit back and feel sorry for yourself and wonder why me or you can embrace that bad things happen for no good reason but that’s not enough of a reason to give up. Don’t ever underestimate your own strength. You have the ability to change the outcome.

To catch up on all that has happened in Jonelle’s life in the 7 months since she shared her story with me, please head over to Tyranny of Pink and show some love.

Opting In… Or Not

A while ago, there was a bit of a bruhaha that every contract you sign automatically opted you in to have your details sold and you had to search for a way to opt out. This has now changed, because it was obviously not ideal.

Ok, that was a bit of an obscure lead in to my point.

We have a social media ban on our daughter. No images, no mention of her name. We did this to protect her privacy, for starters. We also have various security reasons that I won’t get into right now. When she is of an age where she can make her own decisions about her privacy and security, what the world sees of her, will be upto her.

Further to this, it is illegal to publish an image of an underage person without the consent of their legal guardian. In social media, nobody ever truly considers this, but there it is.

Recently, we celebrated a big family birthday, an 80th. It was an enjoyable affair with family and friends we didn’t even know existed. Photos were taken, as they are. We ate, we toasted, we listened to speeches and smiled at cooing grandmothers who wanted a piece of our little person. I tolerated some unsolicited advice and a lot of knowing disapproval. We went home.

It never occurred to either of us to tell a bunch of octogenarian not to plaster our child’s likeness all over Facebook. And then my father in-law got a happy birthday call (he happened to share a birthday with the gent who turned 80) from his brother. The first thing uncle says after happy birthday, is “your granddaughter is very cute”

From the lounge, I hear Dad ask when he saw photos and my heart sinks. In the three hours since we had left the party, about a dozen photos of our child had been uploaded to FB without our consent. I know, so what, right? Wrong. For people as privacy and security crazy as us, this is a huge invasion. 

My father in-law is shocked. The very people who uploaded the photos, have grandchildren with social media bans in place (European police forces have started advising parents not to post images of their children). What follows is an awkward phone call, requesting the removal of all images and a very quiet family evening while 4 adults ponder who else took photos and posted them.

I realise we can’t protect our children from the world. I realise we can’t control everything. I just wish in this age where people share everything from their breakfast to their menstrual cramps on social media, that one would first be given the option of opting in.

Think carefully next time you post an image of someone else’s child. Do you actually have that parent’s consent, or have you just assumed consent, as they didn’t throw themselves in front of the camera, screaming No!?

My sucky bf journey

What I didn’t know about tongue tie.

First off, nobody checks, nobody tells you and if they do, it’s formula in hand.

I never wanted to breastfeed. It just didn’t appeal to me. Actually, it grossed me out completely. As my pregnancy wore on, I slowly came round to the idea and eventually my husband and I decided that we would try – everything if need be.

I got lucky. I told the nurses to please let me try by myself and my little girl latched perfectly on her first try and consistently after. I was ecstatic. That is, until a night nurse decided my boundaries were nonsense on the second night and latched my baby for me. Aggressively and without so much as a by your leave. This effectively ended my lucky streak, as baby simply did not latch correctly after. Every feed became a nightmare.

On Sunday night, an IBCLC was doing rounds, but by the time she could see me, bubs was in the nursery. Adding to the sense of misery and pain, was being constantly bombarded with “Has your milk still not come in?” I felt like such a failure in that department, but the lactation consultant set my mind at ease.

On Monday we went home with a considerably lighter, but healthy baby. My nipples were so damaged, though, that her first spit-up looked like she had ruptured an ulcer – she had ingested that much of my blood. I had to take my one breast offline. By Tuesday, if you so much as hinted at feeding or breasts, I panicked, I was in that much pain. I made an appointment with the IBCLC – I desperately needed help. On Wednesday morning we bundled ourselves into the car, hoping for a miracle.

As we were weighing the baby, she started screaming murder. The consultant was happy and said it helped her check something. Two seconds later, we had our answer. Our daughter was born with a mild tongue tie. Just enough to make feeding difficult – she had also barely gained weight since being released from hospital. We were fortunate, our IBCLC has an interest in tongue tie and collaborates with an amazing ENT. The small procedure to release the tie was done on Friday.

Sadly, our daughter proceeded to go on a hunger strike and by Friday night, I was begging my husband to go buy formula through sobs of fatigue and desperation. He held out on me and with a LOT of skin to skin and TLC and patience, our little one finally fed around midnight.

It took a while for her to relearn latching and figure out her tongue, which meant it took a while for my supply to figure itself out. And forever to bring my damaged breast back online. Whenever I fed her, my husband had to stand close by, so I had something to punch or kick during the pain of the initial latch. We’ve figured it all out now, but I still remember the pain and panic.

After chatting about my experience to a doctor from Cape Town, who happens to be married to a friend of my hubby’s, she immediately asked for our ENT’s details. Apparently SA just doesn’t deal with tongue tie. Mothers just aren’t told that there is a simple physical reason they are struggling and are left to feel like failures, because no amount of commitment can help their child feed effectively.

Tongue tie can be resolved quickly and easily and is simple to check for, but for some reason it is seldom done. If you struggle, see an IBCLC – a real one, not the nurse. It is worth so much more than the small consultation fee.

Update: I still don’t enjoy breastfeeding. Whenever someone tells me how amazing and bonding and beautiful it is, I want to punch them in the face. I do it, because I believe that it is the best thing for our child and our family and I can. As such, I am not weaning soon, but don’t mistake my resolve for enjoyment.

When the magic is gone

I’ve been wrestling with this post for two days, but I finally decided that it needed to be put out there.

For the past few days, my 4 month old daughter has been acting up. She feeds poorly, refuses to sleep, fusses near constantly and has pretty much completely unlearned latching. I am sleep deprived and in a level of pain I haven’t known since she was 3 weeks old.

As my husband has been participating in training for the WFDF Ultimate and Guts world championship, I’ve been on my own in dealing with it. I work my butt off to be a good mother, but I am so tired…

So exhausted that the special magic that keeps new mummies going, is gone. You know what I mean. The smile first thing in the morning or after a feed that keeps you from killing your offspring. The cute factor  that melts your heart. It’s just gone. Right now, I do not like my daughter. I still love her, but I do not like her.

I have barely enough self control left to keep myself from lashing out. My exhausted, sun stroked husband had to take over from me last night when I turned away from the infant I was trying to put to bed and had to lock myself in the bathroom to keep sane.

I fear feeding her. My heart races when I know I’ll be alone with her soon. And not with excitement. I hear hubby reassure me that I am doing a great job, while he carefully watches me for signs of PND. I watch me for PND. I try to remain upbeat. I work to respond to her chats and her smiles. I hold her and hug her and love her and kiss her until she squeals, all while I silently pray she’ll remain pleasant long enough for me to eat or go to the bathroom or stuff my face with sugar.

I don’t know what this phase is. I hope it will pass soon. I need the magic to work again.

PS Did you note that she now squeals in delight? She also takes her own nappy off. She’s an amazing kid, she’s just also the devil.

The dangers of comparison

So today I got to spend time with one of my favourite people to celebrate her birthday. I want to say another year, but the truth is that, though she is now a friend, I’ve only known her for about 9 months, so not yet another year…

Anyway, I digress, as is my way. As these things generally go, I was not the only person sharing in the celebrations. In fact, she was surrounded by quite a few women who care greatly about her and the quality of these women speaks greatly to the amazing person the birthday girl is. And therein lies the rub, for me, anyway.

Spending a few hours with these extraordinary women really made me wonder how I got there. I’m nowhere near their league, to my mind. I mean, there I was, surrounded by bloggers (who have “made it”), PR people, degrees, accomplished mothers, people who had been featured and have been guest speakers and have just generally achieved. And I will be honest, I felt alone and outside. Don’t get me wrong, these are awesome women and I was not excluded. The issue is very much internal.

So, why? What is the problem. I guess the fact I don’t mingle comfortably plays a part, but mostly, I compared myself, and using someone else as the standard by which you measure yourself…. Welll…

So let’s have a list

  1. I was the only idiot showing cleavage – hey, I underachieve, but my WonderBra still works!
  2. Bloggers everywhere! Which makes sense in context, but these people are important enough for people to feel threatened and be mean to them.
  3. So much of pretty! 3 months postpartum, I am not feeling excited about myself physically.
  4. New mom, amongst the “veterans”. And their kids are special. And I don’t mean short-bus-special. I mean the apple stuck near the tree, impressive special. I refuse to use my kid to compete, but it’s intimidating.
  5. They know how to socialise. And network. I know how to say “get over yourself”. It’s not an endearing trait…

I could likely go on, but this is depressing. So the point? I’m not actually a chronic underachiever. I have achieved all my major goals, except getting my degree. Which is due in July, so…. I have a gorgeous baby, a wonderful husband, 3 amazing pets. I have great friends and few issues – aside from the obvious self-esteem collapse I am clearly suffering right now.

The problem in comparing yourself to others, is that you are comparing an actual 3D object to a 2D image – generally a cube to a circle, at that. The thing to remember is that I didn’t gatecrash that party. I was invited. Which means that to my friend, who is the one that matters, I have earned my spot in that group. I passed the only comparison that matters – I am her friend.

The surprises that are my girl friends

This is an acknowledgement and a thank you to a few special ladies in my life.

To my mind, there are a few special friends in life that one can turn to and honestly say “I love you”. For me, interestingly and despite being married, these are mostly male. That said, since hitting adulthood, a few special women have entered my life and made themselves comfy in my I-love-you zone. So this is for them.

Palesa Natasha Motapo. My first. That woman who made me want to be an extrovert, but accepted and loved me for the blunt, forward introvert I am. My favourite mirror. You never let me get away with bull, but you show me in the best light. You are my friend outside of time and distance and you inspire me, even in your absence. You see and accept me warts and all and you tailored your friendship to that. Until you, I have never desperately wanted to be in someone’s orbit or felt the need to hug someone on sight. But you, special, magnetic, radiant woman, you blew my mind and my defences and I am so blessed to call you a friend. Now stop working so hard, I miss you.

Megan Cousins. Who knew. You were one of those sneaky sods. There I was, minding my own business, happily oblivious to the world and all social expectations, when I look up to find myself a friend richer. That’s cheating, you know. You’re supposed to fire a warning shot, or something. You share my love of animals and you pour your whole soul into everything. You are inspiring and I wish I could give so much of myself to everything. There is no spirit more giving and I am so much richer for your unexpected spot in my heart.

Lisa Haworth. Sure, we’re technically family, but there’s no law saying we have to get on. When first you made contact after all those years, I was so taken aback. Today I am truly grateful. You have given me back my belief in family. You have shared a heritage and made all the moves, because I can be an obstinate cow about such things. You are a fighter and a hero and I get to share in your journey and I am grateful every day for that.

Mandy-Lee Miller. I never saw you coming either. From what I expected to be a no attachments interview, a friendship has grown. You bring wisdom and support and cheer to my life. You keep me sane during long days of being a mommy. You walk me through it step by step and you are just so present. I can’t believe I found you. I can’t believe that of all the random online encounters, I got to connect with you. I count myself truly fortunate.

To these 4 beautiful women, who each embodies strength, wisdom, gentleness and beauty in their own way and each brings something so incredibly special to my life, THANK YOU. You are amazing and I am so grateful you put up with me.

I love you all millions.

PS: My mom and sister are also awesome, but they are a post for another time.

Food Happens

I have yet to start on the various more serious articles I intend and am putting that off until my little one has arrived… In the mean time, I am very inspired by my own cooking right now, so I thought I would share.

I am by no stretch of the imagination a food blogger, so please be very forgiving of this post.

My husband and I try to make one “special” meal every month. A meal we splurge on a little bit, because food should be fun and budgets can be forgotten a little, sometimes. So, if you are willing to spend a little more for a special meal, here is this month’s winner. What I love about this meal is that it is delicious, sounds super impressive and is hardly any effort at all – probably because I cheat.

Kassler Steaks with Roast Potato, Stuffed Mushroom and Creamed Spinach (Sometimes I add glazed carrots)

Now, unless there is something very wrong with you, that should sound amazing! I get my Kassler steaks from Checkers – Smokehouse brand, I believe. They’re great and literally cook in minutes. For the mushrooms, we use either “braai mushrooms” or Portabella/Portabellini mushrooms. Basically, find big ones you like and go with those. As for the spinach, though I totally could spend the time doing this from scratch, I’m not a fan, so I cheat and buy Dr Oetker, or whatever brand of pre-made and frozen is available. As such, pretty much the most work I put into this meal is peeling and cutting potatoes – and I make my husband do that.

You will need:
Kassler steaks
Potatoes
Spinach
Feta
Mushrooms of your choice
Garlic & Herb seasoning (I use Ina Paarman)
Olive oil
Honey
Lemon Juice
Coarse salt

Start with your potatoes. Peel them and cut them in quarters. I pre-cook them in the microwave. While hubby does potato prep, I pre-heat the oven to 180C and arrange my mushrooms in a dish. Season them with Garlic & Herb, crumb tons of feta over them and drizzle with olive oil. Pop those in the oven while the potatoes are pre-cooking.

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When the potatoes are done in the microwave, I toss them with salt, arrange them in a second oven dish and drizzle them with olive oil. They go in the oven with the mushrooms. At this point, if you are making carrots, it’s a good time to get started. If not, make small talk with hubby for a few minutes or clean up your surfaces. The meat cooks very quickly and you need to waste a bit of time here.
I make my Kassler steaks in the electric frying pan, just pop them in like you would with bacon. You can use some oil (olive or coconut) or not, depending on your preference. The meat is smoked, so technically it is already done. Just make sure both sides are to your liking. When I’m happy with my meat, I pop my spinach in the microwave (5 minutes, as per package instructions). While this is going, add your honey and lemon juice to the meat – 2 tablespoons of honey to 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. Allow this to start caramelising, ensuring your meat is well glazed.

More or less now, your microwave should bing. This means all your food is ready. Dish up and enjoy.

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To finish off this joy of a meal, I use a second cheat – instant chocolate mousse.
In a large bowl, combine 500ml fresh cream with one pack instant chocolate pudding, beat until stiff. Blend in 1 can of condensed milk. Mix until well combined and refrigerate. That’s it.
I serve this with citrus fruit, as it is rather rich and rather sweet. The citrus breaks it up a little.

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And that is all she wrote. It looks like I spent days in the kitchen, but really, this meal takes me 30 minutes and my husband thinks I fell from heaven 🙂

As a side note – my hubby is an athlete, as such, his salt intake is considerably higher than would be deemed healthy for us regular folk, as he needs to put back what he expends on the sports field. Please use your salt wisely – it makes for crispier potatoes, but it also makes for health problems 🙂

Lucky in love – Originally published 26 May 2015

Today I wish to sing my husband’s praises. I figure I will do so now, since I have approximately 4 months to go before I have to give birth and never have another good night’s rest again in my life and it’s all his fault…
So, basically this is about two things he has done recently, aside from the usual being supportive and working his butt off to support us financially and his usual awesomeness.
First, early last week he was telling me about a video he had watched about women discussing the things nobody had warned them about regarding pregnancy. Now, aside from the fact that he watched a video about women’s experiences of pregnancy and then told me all about it, he had given very serious thought to what the women had to say. He had also been listening to me babble on about every article, blog, open letter, column and academic paper I have read about pregnancy and parenting, since he could compare the comments in the video to things I had said.
I think mostly, we as wives assume that our husbands pretend to listen or phase out. I live on that assumption. I’m fine with it, since mostly I chatter in order to reinforce what I have learned or to solve a problem for myself, he just needs to make it look like I’m not talking to myself. (As a disclaimer, when I really need him to listen, I always have his complete and undivided attention). So, to find out that he had been listening quite intently and actually retaining the information I threw his way, was pretty great in and of itself. BUT, here’s my absolute favourite part:
I asked him what he had learned from watching the video. He turned to me, looked me in the eye and said: “I learned that you are a pretty amazing mother.” First-time-mother-to-be’s mind blown
Secondly, this past Saturday we went to our local dairy factory store. While we were standing in the queue, I stood up on my toes and gave him a quick, but loving peck. Being rather focused on us at the time, I only realised after doing it that I had done so just as a teenager was coming towards us, looking right at us. So I mumbled an apology to myself along the lines of “Sorry, kiddo, but you’ll get over it”. My husband merely hugged me close and said, “No, she’ll figure out that after you have been with someone for eight years and gone through some pretty rough things together, you hope they still want to randomly kiss you in public”. I smiled and commented on the fact that we’re pretty lucky that way. At this he turned and informed me that he had realised “again recently” how fortunate he is to have me in his life.
I tend to think he could have done much better, but to know that he considers himself lucky and that he thinks I’m great, is a wonderful gift, every time.
And another disclaimer: Relationships are work, marriages are a lot of work. It’s not always moonlight and roses and romance and cuteness. Most of life together is exactly that: LIFE together. That means he doesn’t replace the toilet paper and I leave my shoes everywhere. It means dishes and bills and laundry and money worries and work stress and sleepless nights and colds and broken valuables and disagreements. But with the right person, as with the right job, work really doesn’t feel like work. When you talk and you handle the little issues as they crop up and you really deal with what the issue ACTUALLY is, instead of arguing about the fact the cats aren’t fed when you’re worried about money, that makes a world of difference. No secrets aside from birthday/Christmas/surprise gifts, no lies. When you can manage all that, even shopping for cheddar cheese and strawberry milk can remind you how very much you love the person at your side.