The Men in my Life

I would not be where I am, or who I am today were it not for the influence - be it intrinsic or implied - of the men in my life. I have always considered myself to be an independent, strong I-can-do-it-by-myself-I-don't-need-a-man type of girl (thanks mom!). And I still believe this. But there are significant men who have left an indelible footprint in my life. Father's Day was a day of reflection on these amazing men.
I grew up without a dad. He died when I was only six years old - younger than my kids are now. Although he is not physically in my life, he is forever in my heart.  Six was too young for actual memories, and I sometimes think that what I do remember of him is prompted largely by photographs.
I have this image of him being this larger than life figure (he was a very tall man - clearly my height is no reflection on him!). He worked in computers (possibly where my love for all things techno comes from!), and I remember him bringing home reams of computer paper (boxes of perforated sheets - it was the '70's!) for us to draw on. He was also a Police Reservist in his spare time. In the late 1970's / early 1980's in JHB this was quite a terrifying part time profession to be in. It was deep in the days of apartheid, where the "dompas" controlled who was out on the street after dark, and  I vaguely remember my mom worrying relentlessly when he was called out on night duties. Luckily for us, these dark days in SA's history are far behind us. The pictures I have of him in his uniform portray him as a formidable figure, strong and dominant, with kind eyes. His eyes are probably what I remember most. I have his eyes, and so does my son.

My Mom and Dad had a special kind of love - love that lasts forever. His death did nothing to dilute this love she had for him, and it was felt everyday by my sister and myself. It left a lasting impression on me - that was the kind of love I was going to have.
And I do. Life hasn't always been plain sailing. It has been full of ups and downs, days of absolute adoration, and days of sheer hell, where holding a pillow over his face didn't sound like a bad idea! But 17 years later, I am still with the love of my life, my soul mate. Warren and I met in 1995 - a HUGELY significant year - SA won the Rugby World Cup, and I realised that along with my induction into this sport by my rugby mad in-laws, my life had changed forever. We were so young when we met. Still at 'Varsity, still living at home. Although it took him 6 years to propose, I think we both knew from the start it was meant to be. We went though all the important firsts together -  first jobs, moving out, first homes, first bonds (!!), babies, life . And we learnt from each other along the way. I would not be who I am today if it weren't for Warren. He is strong, determined, passionate about all things in life, highly motivated, kind, generous to a fault, and single-mindedly focused on his family. And I could not ask for a better father to my kids, or life partner for me.

My son is the littlest man in my life. He is very much like me in image and in his insecurities and anxieties, and like his dad in temperament. He is an amazing little boy - full of passion for life, incredibly determined, with a bottomless hunger for facts and information. Like his dad and I, he loves history and reading. He is also techno mad (he very quickly figured out how to bypass net nanny!). He torments his sister (my gorgeous, I-am-stronger-than-boys daughter!) relentlessly, but loves her whole heartedly and unreservedly. I have learnt  so much from Dyl. Patience, determination, resilience, complete unconditional love, that drawing a picture with actual sounds makes it come alive, the more friends you have the better your games are, and that cuddles and kisses all over your face instantly make you feel better. I have every confidence that Dyl will grow into a man I will always be proud of, and will keep teaching me life lessons along the way. I hope I can keep up!

Life has a funny way of shaping us. We can either choose to ignore the lessons, the hints, the big flashing signs, or we can embrace them and become richer for it. I for one, am far richer having these these three strong men in my heart. Squashing down my over powering independent, stubborn streak, I can acknowledge that I am a better person because of them. So, I'm Just Saying...Thank You.