“So babe, should we do it?” Just like that. My marriage proposal. No sky writing, no down on one knee, no mumbled, gushing declarations of how wonderful I was. But after waiting patiently for six years (yes, six!!), my “YES!!” was uttered (read: screamed) with no hesitation. And so began my happily ever after. My fairytale wedding (pre-empted by an epic hens night – complete with a classy stripper hired by my mother-in-law), a move into our first home, and our first “child”, (Sarah the epitome of a mixed breed New South African dog), arrived. And life was complete – perfect in the way Good Housekeeping depicted it would be.
Then reality came thundering down.
Believe me, I love my husband like nothing on earth, and I love being married, but it is by no means the bed of roses all those single girls think it is. Firstly, there’s the whole cooking thing – every single night! (No more eggs on toast if thats all I felt like!) And the actual housekeeping. I married a trueSouth African male – “Babe? (I asked) Have you seen the iron?” “What does it look like”, he replied (in absolute seriousness). Then there’s sport. Every single rugby match is THE match not to be missed. I like watching Patrick making history on the field as much as the next girl, but EVERY match? And shopping – where I thought I might have a lifelong shopping buddy with on tap credit, I instead had a member of the censorship board watching (and commenting on) my every move.
Given the choice, though, I wouldn’t change a thing. There is a unique bond that develops with that partner you have chosen to spend your life with. Knowing exactly what you love, (and how you love it!), building and sharing a history, a life. Yes, I wouldn’t change a thing. Being married makes up for all the ups and downs. And to be honest, what I don’t get from him I get religiously from, well, from my bookclub! I'm Just Saying..
What do we teach our kids? Speaking from experience, the age old adage "Do what I say and not what I do" springs to mind. This has never really been much of an issue for me before (after all, isn't it my prerogative as a mom to have my kids obey me no matter what?!), but lately, in the light of some of the questionable actions by those in positions of power in our country, the quick and lasting judgements we pass on them, and the scathing and disappointing opinions we form of them, I started to think about the message I was sending to my kids. And I squirmed.
Eat all your vegetables. An easy one, you might think, and one that is logically a sound instruction. Unless I don't eat all of mine. While spewing forth about the virtues of carrots making you see better in the dark, beans making your teeth squeak, and broccoli giving you bigger brains, I push my butternut around MY plate, and eat only what I like. Great message to my kids!!
You have to eat ALL your breakfast. Again - a good one. I can wax lyrical about the benefits of a good breakfast for as long as my kids stand still to listen, but if I do it while glugging back two cups of coffee and rushing out the house, the message seems hollow.
Early school nights and NO electronics in bed! Even as I write this I am blushing. The early nights I can certainly lead by example, but the no electronics in bed? I fail dismally! Thanks to my ipad (my third appendage), I am either pinterest'ing, facebook'ing, twitter'ing, blogging or reading from my kindle app. Until I fall asleep - never as early as it should be.
As Warren curses in a moment of losing his temper, or I curse at that highly irritating driver on the road (pick a lane and drive!!) I hear myself saying "and don't think you kids are allowed to use language like that." Mixed messages? Oh yes!
But its not all bad. My kids do learn from my positive behaviour as well (I just hope these lessons last as long!). They watch while we donate to charity, while we help out friends and family, while we give one hundred percent at whatever we do, be it work or sport, while we are supportive of each other, and they watch how we demonstrate our love. But is this enough?
I don't think so. And while it may be easier said than done, I am going to make a concerted effort to eat all of my vegetables (even the ones that make me gag!), eat breakfast properly, go to bed with no electronic diversions, and bite my tongue and grip the steering wheel when I feel the urge to unleash my road rage.
Franklin P. Jones said, "Children are unpredictable. You never know what inconsistency they're going to catch you in next." Bearing in mind the sponge like quality and unnervingly long memories my kids have, I will either have to pull up my socks, or be more creative with my inconsistencies!! I'm Just Saying...
A widow at a young age, with two daughters aged 4 and 6. Moving home, moving province, to settle in a new town, leaving the familiar behind, but doing what she knew to be best. Settling kids into new schools, encouraging new friendships, creating a new life. Standing on her own, financially and physically. Starting again, determined, focused on the future, with an unwavering set of priorities. All the while mourning the loss of a husband, a soul mate.
Fast forward 30 years. Both daughters married, four grandchildren (with another two on the way!), a move once again to a new life, a new way of living. Rediscovering herself, and enjoying different things,new hobbies, a new circle of friends. A proud, content woman, socially a source of strength to those she loves, a strong support to her family, an indisputably amazing mom, a wonderful gran. That same set of priorities - namely her family - as steadfast as ever.
Strength in the face of adversity. A big one, and one that was certainly learnt through watching my mom as she single handedly raised two girls, through the tumultuous school years, the social challenges only those teen years can bring, through University and marriages (not to mention the more than a few boyfriend issues we gave her to deal with!). She never gave up, never gave in. She remained firm in teaching us what was right and wrong, and when adversity arose (which it did), she kept her back straight, her head held high and remained unwavering in her principles. This lesson is a big one. One I hope my children can one day say I taught them.
Absolute and unconditional love. There is no book that can teach you how to actively practise the depth of love a mother has for her children. I was lucky growing up. In everything she did, in every decision she made, in every "no you may not" and "yes you have to" she demonstrated the sheer depth of her feelings. At the ripe old age of 36 I can appreciate the lesson in this journey. To be selfless, to be motivating, to encourage, to teach. To support, guide, step up and step back, to know when to hold hands and when to push. I am lucky that she is my mom. But I am equally as lucky that she is grandmother to my kids.
So to my very special mom, I'm Just Saying... Thank you. And I love you. Happy Mothers Day <3
Our annual long weekend timeshare at Castleburn - the 'Berg, is always a time to relax and take things slow. Meals are planned beforehand, and its all about convenience - with PLENTY of wine time factored in! Apparently not everyone shares the same idea about what constitutes a relaxing holiday, however. In the next door cottage, instantly identified by the smell (freshly baked something), and the look (matching and co-ordinated outfit, accessories and proper shoes (i.e. not tackies or slops!!)), was Martha (OK so her name was really Jan, but Martha by any other name would still be Martha!). Not to sound hypocritical as I am a self-proclaimed Martha-wannabe, but Martha did NOT belong on holiday in the cottage next door to us!!
Day One saw Martha baking homemade custard slices, followed by day two's apple pie AND peach cobbler. With whipped cream. Served with Swiss coffee and WARM milk. By day three Ash and I thought we needed to "Out-Martha Martha". With our limited um.. talents, we decided on a cheese and wine spread. THIS we could do. So out came the Woolies cheese platter, the three Underberg cheeses recently purchased, the Woolies chicken liver pate, bacon pate, olive tapenade, marinaded olives, pickled onions (two kinds!), wasabi flavoured cream cheese (we like to patronise Woolies - they NEVER let us down!!), and our attempt at a friends recipe for oven roasted onions, tomatoes and Camembert. How proud were we!! Until Martha arrived (on instruction to bring nothing), with her perfectly roasted hallumi, with chilli sauce and FRESH basil. Enough said. Except it wasn't. Later on, a knock on our door revealed Martha had thoughtfully whipped up a lemon souffle (I kid you not), and had kindly sent it over to us. Gotta love Martha!
Our last day there saw us swearing to say no to any more invites. Until one predictably arrived with the offer of homemade lindt chocolate mousse. With barley concealed determination to find the Nigella in the Martha, we arrived armed with caramel vodka, and laid claim to the strawberry super moo tequila. After demolishing the made-from-my-grans-recipe-lindt-chocolate-mousse-with-choc-balls-and-whipped-cream desert, the vodka and tequila were encouragingly offered. And offered. And offered. Finally! The break through! An hour later and a brisk walk in the freezing dark saw Martha sitting on the floor crying with laughter!! The most fun she had EVER had, she declared!!!
The point of all this? In every Martha there is Nigella dying to escape. I'm Just Saying...