Tag Archives: God

Gentle Jesus, meek and mild. NOT.


This started out as an Instagram post and then turned into an essay so I thought… let me come over here to this sad piece of internet and scribble this down while it is still fresh in my mind. If there’s anyone who still comes to this spot, hello! This blog has recently seen less love than a homeless puppy on the side of the road but that’s a post for another day.

So back to the topic.

A few weeks back, Marcia gave me this book by Francis Chan. It’s called Crazy Love – Overwhelmed by a Relentless God. Before I go any further, if you are a Believer you need to read this book. PLEASE READ THIS BOOK. Prior to that, I had mentioned to my Bible reading whatsapp group that I had done one of those Bible studies on the app on my phone by this dude Francis Chan and his thinking was so radical that I HAD to read this book. And by some divine intervention, Marcia was like “oh, I have that book and I’ll give it to you.” Score. So I read the book. Mind.Blown. Plain and simple truths that I think we gloss over once the exuberance of being saved dies down. Mind.Blown. I’ve read it twice in two weeks. That good.

?

Right.

Then our church, Rivers, released a new song a few weeks back. It’s called Wild Love. Get it on iTunes here please. This song speaks of the WILD love God has for us. It’s amazing and awesome and all the other synonyms that mean amazing and awesome. I swear.

Words and imagery speak to me. I am a words person. It’s very rare that words like Crazy / Wild / Radical are mentioned in the same sentence as God / Jesus, right? But the last couple of weeks that’s all I’ve been picturing; this crazy, wild love that God has for me.

Now if you know me, you’ll know I am crazy and wild. I’m all those things you DON’T learn at finishing school. That’s unapologetically me. But I’ve been pondering on how crazy and wild Jesus was / is. This is the same man who stormed into the temple, upturned tables and threw people out because they were dishonouring God’s house. This is the man who always had a quick quip for his 12 disciples who were sooooo slow to get what He was saying some times. The man who offended many because of the raw and honest truth He spoke. That baby in the manager, meek and mild, is no more. He is the Lion of the tribe Judah. He is the Hunter not the hunted. He is all conquering, all powerful, the Creator and King of the entire universe and all that is within it. Demons tremble at the sound of His name. While sin and troubles exist in this world for everyone, He has overcome the world. He is a warrior who will not hesitate to crush those things which aim to harm you. He is Almighty God. The angels and saints are roaring shouts of praise to Him all day, err’day.  And He loves me with a wild and crazy love that I cannot even comprehend. And while God is to be revered and is the Holy of Holies and I don’t EVER want to lose sight of his magnificence, there’s this part of Him that makes my tummy flip… the part that says I get my crazy, wild side from my Daddy. Who loves me fiercely, wildly and crazily.  Don’t get it twisted, He ain’t the meek and mild baby in the manger no more, He would DIE for me. In fact, HE DID. And when you seriously consider this, how can you NOT be radical about this radical man? I grew up in a very conservative faith community, and that’s cool, I believe that there’s space in Heaven for crazy and normal saints, ha! But I’m so glad that God fashioned us all differently. I’m never going to be meek and mild, soft and gentle, calm and angelic (much to my earthly father’s annoyance!). And for years, I thought this was how we Christians needed to be. But the more I look to Jesus, the more convinced I am that in all His absolute glory, in His sinless human form, Him and I could have had lots in common.

So if you’re feeling like a square peg in a round hole, or if you’re scared to take the jump into being saved because you’re scared that you will have to undergo an identity change, please can I encourage you that God says come as you are… He loves you as crazy, wild and radical as you may be. And even when He does a transforming work in you (and He will), He will use you as you are, to bring Him glory. After all, HE created you, He KNEW you before you were even born, silly! He knew I was going to be all sorts of crazy and yet He still chose to bring me into being in my mother’s womb. I think that settles it… God loves a bit of crazy in the kingdom. I want to be crazy for Him, just as He is crazy for me.

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Seriously, what’s your purpose in life?


Last night I had a team meeting at church, so the kids were home with their father. When I got back I went into their rooms to say good night and I jumped in with Hannah for a minute:

Hannah: How was your meeting?

Me: It was good.

Hannah: What did you learn?

Me: We learned about staying motivated, about being obedient even when it’s hard or you don’t feel like it.

Hannah: Oh, like Jonah.

Me: Hey? (I have got to stop saying hey)

Hannah: Like when Jonah wasn’t listening but then after he got out of the whale he was obedient to God and he went to Nineveh, but he didn’t feel like it the first time.

Firstly, I was gobsmacked at her absolutely perfect pronunciation of Nineveh, when she can’t even say “probably” properly! She says “pahbly!”

But more than that, I can’t believe how she ‘gets it.’  We haven’t read this story in ages, yet it has stayed with her, and she knows this very important Bible truth. I mean the stuff I was learning about in an adult prayer meeting, this 4 year old summed up for me in a few words.

Obedience rules over emotion.

We have to be obedient to the Will of God even if we don’t feel like it. Even if we’re tired, or life gets busy, or it just becomes too hard. And obedience to God falls out of the parameters of just The Ten Commandments. We always think as long as we don’t kill, steal or commit adultery, we’re doing OK as Christians. Well actually, no. It means being a GREAT wife, even when I don’t feel like it, because God has called me to be a GREAT wife. It means being patient and loving and gentle with my children even when it’s really hard because they can be really difficult, because it is God’s will for me to be a GOOD mother to my children. It’s fitting in quiet time with God during every day because that is obedience to what God instructs us directly to do in His Word – even Jesus went aside from the crowds to have quiet time with His father and he was perfect! It’s helping the poor, it’s going out of your way for someone, it’s being up early every Sunday morning at my post where I volunteer, even if I’ve had a rough Saturday night and I’m tired, it’s staying away from gossip even when it’s REALLY hard because it’s such a juicy story. It’s forgiving others EEEVVEENN when you don’t want to, or it hurts, or you’ve been really offended.

Obedience to God rules over emotion – it trumps our feelings.

Oh boy, it’s hard. It’s SO hard. I have two special friends and together we’re trying to plough through the Bible – one book at a time (Captain America voice), and even that can be difficult for me. I get bored, I get tired, I find something else to do in that time. Doing the right thing is not always easy. It takes motivation and it takes making a decision to do so every single day.  Putting aside your own desires, for the  plans and purposes of God.

How do you know what God’s plan and purpose for your life is? Well how do you know what your plan and purpose at your work is? How do you know what your plan and purpose for your marriage is? You talk to your boss and you guys discuss your career path, right? You talk to your husband / wife and you guys discuss your hopes and dreams and your plans for your marriage, right? And you connect often to make sure everything is on track, right? And so it is with God. If we’re not talking to God, reading His Word, praying and praying and praying (x50000), then we may be confused about our purpose.

You know what always amazes me about other faiths and religions? The emphasis they place on KNOWING, MEMORISING, FILLING THEMSELVES with their “scriptures.” Jewish boys need to know and quote the Torah before they reach bar mitzvah. Muslims are urged to learn the Qur’an off by heart. But as a Christian. I’ve only recently come to understand the importance of knowing what the Bible says, what GOD is saying about keeping His words and storing up His commands within me. About guarding His teachings as the apple of my eye, about binding them on my fingers and writing them on the tablet of my heart (Prov 7:1-3).  Growing up in a catholic family, DIRECTLY out of the Bible, I probably only learned the Our Father and I vaguely remember having to learn Matt 5: 3 – 10 before I was confirmed – The Sermon on the Mount. That was it. We had no other urge to read anything else in the Bible, other than a few verses on a Sunday at church.

I was chatting with my mother and sister, and we were talking about getting the kids (and me) to memorise Bible verses that speak truth and life and speak the promises of God. We need to KNOW these things, people. We need to be able to say it out loud, to motivate us and move us, to keep us focused on the goal, to keep us from succumbing to the challenges that life brings. If we don’t know what the Master is saying, how can we possibly know what we need to be doing? Yes, we have an idea but do we know word for word what God Almighty is saying?

My kids can recite poetry for days. And it gives me ABSOLUTE joy listening to them recite, truly I LOVE it! My granny used to love listening to us sing songs and say poems for her, and now I kind of know why. How much more when God hears us singing love songs back to Him? How much more when God hears us understanding and knowing and figuring out our lives according to His will?

So we started. If they can learn poetry, then they can very well learn the  Bible. We’re learning Psalm 91 off by heart. The kids know verse 1 – 2 already. And when we say it together, let me tell you, I get goosebumps. It’s like praying – it’s like an infilling of the Holy Spirit, it’s like God’s Word COME ALIVE.  “Those who live in the shelter of the Most High, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. THIS I declare of the Lord: He ALONE is my refuge, my place of safety; he is MY God, and I am trusting HIM.”

You see, I learned a lot of these things late in my life. But here I have the chance to get it right with Liam and Hannah. And if receiving this revelation so late has made such a difference in MY life (and most importantly in where I spend eternity hereafter), how much more amazing if I get to plant this seed for my kids NOW. If I can help set them up and position them for God to reveal Himself to them. This is part of my purpose, I have no doubt.

Obedience rules over emotion.

 

God made me who I’m meant to be…


 

Hello Liam and Hannah

Mom again. One of our favourites songs at the moment, an oldie from Hillsong, goes something like this:

God made me who I’m meant to be. He loves me just the way I am.

God made me who I’m meant to be. His dream for me is so amazing.

And for this simple reason… I am happy to be me. Woah oh, woah oh!

My God watches over me. Woah oh, woah oh! I feel like royalty!

And for this simple reason… I AM HAPPY TO BE ME!

You guys love this song. I know it’s probably because it’s fast and punchy and the drummer and guitarist go crazy and we jump up and down and dance like rock stars whenever we hear it. But in time, I hope you will get as much joy from this song, simply because of the words. Every so often, I feel the need to remind you both just how amazingly awesome and special you are in the eyes of your Creator. God made you exactly who you are meant to be. I don’t ever want you to think of yourselves as anything less than royalty. Your heavenly Daddy is a king, that means you are a prince and princess respectively. No matter what the worlds says, no matter what your friends may say to you one day, or a scorned ex-girlfriend or boyfriend, or a teacher speaking cruelly – you are AMAZING.

You both have the potential to be something great. Recognise your self-worth, know that every hair on your head is counted and that there is someone who actually loves you more than me – I know that it is hard to fathom, but it’s true!! Be happy in this knowledge. Don’t ever wish to be someone else, because you are uniquely and beautifully created to live this incredible life, and all you need to do is keep your eyes on Jesus and he will direct your every step. When you come to know him in a personal way, His plan and purpose for your life will be revealed to you. It’s an ongoing journey, I’m on it too, but every day is a blessing in the Lord. I’m not saying life will be easy, or that things will go swimmingly well or that there won’t be hard, dark days, but when you have God on your side, you won’t be broken. You may be down, but you will never be out. You may be beat, but you will never be broken. You may grow weary, but you’ll still stand tall. So even if you don’t make the sports A team, or win a trophy at prize giving, or you feel you aren’t as pretty or handsome as the next kid, or you feel like you are a useless space-taker, know and understand that you were wanted, that God up in heaven was already thinking about this precious boy and girl that he wanted to create and how adorable they would be and how their parents would love them, and how Hannah would have this fantastic afro, and Liam would have these eyes that shine like stars – He made you EXACTLY as you were meant to be, He made you with love and He knew exactly what a blessing you would be to me. And the best part is, I didn’t have to do anything in order for Him to bless me with you. He just loves Mommy that much too, that He gave me the best gift of all – you two.

So go out there, be YOU, do YOU, put God first. Treat people with respect, love even when it hurts, forgive even when it’s hard. Be happy to be you. Because you are perfect, just the way you are.

Love you babies

Xxx Mom

Off-Kilter


Off-kilter: not in perfect balance, a bit askew   (Merriam-Webster.com)

I’ve been trying to find the perfect word to describe this funk that the husband and I find ourselves in. That weird “vibe” that I’m sure most couples experience at some or other point in their relationships. It’s not there all the time, but lately, it’s been rearing its ugly head way more than usual. It’s not arguing as such, it’s not the but-you-said-this or I-did-that, or the blatant silent treatment, it’s just well… like… as if… we are off-kilter – not in perfect balance, a bit askew.

I have no doubt that it’s just that time of the year when everyone has just had enough. Even the kids have that end-of-year frazzle going on which aggravates the situation between my husband and I. I’m not sure if a holiday will fix it, but I hope it does. There’s nothing worse than trying to find a solution to something, when you don’t actually know what the problem is. We talk about it, we agree that perhaps we just need to try harder, put in more effort, we kiss on it but a few days down the line, we’re back there.. in that weird space. I try to find triggers that set us off, and it almost always comes down to the kids – not that I blame them, but it just reminds me that parenting is hard work, it’s so hard to strike a balance between parenting and nurturing your relationship with your partner. It’s difficult to plan anything because you never know what to expect with little ones. A classic example is date night.. we agree that once the kids are down, we’re going to have a romantic evening and focus on each other. Of course, that’s the evening that both babies are restless; they refuse to go to bed, and after spending what feels like hours, FORCING them to just GO TO SLEEP, who really feels like being romantic? I sure don’t. Or how a kid has this insane ability to wake from a nap the MOMENT you and your husband touch each other. Never ceases to amaze me. Or just in general how your daily dealings with the kids, can come between you and your husband… I say yes to Liam having a sweetie after supper, the husband freaks out because unbeknown to me, he had given Liam a sweetie five minutes before. Liam is two yeras old and loves sweets, he isn’t going to tell me that he JUST had one? But of course, we end up in a huff over a sweet. So silly! Hannah wants to wear her brown bear slippers after bath time, but I’ve taken out the pink ones already. I freak out because it’s been a long day and I just want to get on with it, but instead I have to haggle with this baby over what shoes to wear. The husband walks in and says “JUST LET HER WEAR THE PINK SHOES!” (he is right, but because HE said it, I refuse to let him –and Hannah- win) so I get MYSELF into a huff and of course that sets the tone for the rest of the evening. So silly! Unless you are a parent reading this, you may think we are crazy squabbling over completely irrelevant and often nonsensical things, but for those of you with kids, you will understand that children bring out the best, and the worst in parents (please agree or else this means that we REALLY have problems!). And I know they will soon grow up, they won’t be as needy as they are at this stage, and our lives will be less child-focused and we can then focus more on ourselves, but I don’t want to lose my husband in the process or become so distant from him, that we don’t know how to pick up where we left off.

Then I have to factor in work stress, Johannesburg traffic stress, financial stress, and just being TIRED from ALL that stress…it stands to reason that a normal person would be off-kilter every now and again, right? So what do we do to rebalance this off-kiltered-ness? I’m not really sure to be honest. I don’t feel like we’re in trouble or anything as serious as that, but all mountains grow from a molehill that wasn’t flattened at the start, so I’d rather bulldoze this molehill, than have to deal with Kilimanjaro later. Some days are glorious, some days are not as glorious but we still stand united, and then other days I want to gently place a pillow over his head while he sleeps. All the prayer in the world doesn’t seem to be helping with this compulsion. Talking about prayer… I think it’s the only thing that keeps us sane, placing Jesus at the centre of it all makes things easier. And even when we can’t find the words or understand each other’s frustrations, we know that God is working in the shadows. And no matter how hard it gets or how off-kilter we feel, we find our balance in Christ, who’s WILL will not take you, where His grace cannot keep you… even though I have serious issues with God’s sense of humour, a subject I will talk to him at length about one day.

That is all. Pray for parents with children. Kids – a blessing in DISGUISE for real.

What I’ve learned in the last few days..


 Liam has been on holiday in KZN with my sister and her family. I was grateful for this opportunity for a number of reasons:

  1. He loves his aunty, uncle and cousins and I know how much fun they have together.
  2. He gets to sleep in a bit, as compared to getting up at 5h30am for school every day.
  3. He gets to enjoy the open spaces, fresh air and laid back living – something us city slickers aren’t accustomed to. 

Moreover, I was looking forward to giving Hannah my utter and total attention because she really does deserve it, she has become a bad sharer and I guess this is because she has become somewhat annoyed at having to share EVERYTHING with Liam, including my attention. This week has been enlightening to say the least. It’s funny how you become “OK” with your routine, and by “OK” I mean we settle for, and accept a situation that was supposed to be temporary but has now become the norm, to the point where we forget what life was like before…

I have learned that my husband and I still have a life outside of our children. I’ve learned that we can still engage each other and enjoy each other’s company and laugh at each other’s dry jokes; that we still love each other as intensely as we did all those years ago. The problem is that everything else becomes somewhat jaded when you have kids, especially more than one – they require your full and total attention ALL the time, your focus tends to shift away from your partner and your marriage and becomes children centred – and this is not a good thing. All you talk about are the kids and their well being and their needs. You fight about everything and you disagree on almost everything – how to discipline, how to reward, what they wear, what they eat, their MEDICAL BILLS (OMW!), their school fees, how darn expensive they are; you can find a fight-a-minute when you have kids. You can become so absorbed in your parenting, that your marriage starts to take strain due to neglect, and you don’t even realise the cracks are there, until you have your light bulb moment, which in our case was Liam leaving home! What about those marriages who don’t experience their light bulb moment until it’s too late? It’s a bittersweet contradiction that kids complete a marriage by creating a family, yet their existence can lead to the downfall of that marriage if we, as parents, are not maintaining and nurturing our marriage, as we raise our babies. 

I’ve learned that I don’t miss my kid as much as I thought I would and that a break from each other is probably beneficial for us both. Now before you call the welfare on me.. I do believe that mothers love their sons differently, just as fathers love their daughters differently. Not more or less – just differently! That said, I’m beginning to think that I may be slightly OCD when it comes to my son, HENCE the reason my hubby and I bump heads often over Liam. So here it is in writing, I admit that I may be just a litte, just a tad, just a drop, over protective over Liam. I think that my great love for him leads me to overlook many things, makes me cover up for him even when he deserves to be disciplined, makes me fall under his eye lash batting spell every time. During this time apart, I’ve learned that he is growing, he is a big boy now, he can be away from mommy for many sleeps and consequently, I need to start letting go. Now hold back, I don’t mean I must let my two year old fly the nest, grow a beard and drink beer. I mean letting go in small ways and granting him that independence that he so craves. With independence, comes responsibility and accountability and I have to learn to let Liam deal with these, even in little things like: you wanted to paint, you made a mess, you clean it up. And if you cry, I can’t jump to your rescue and clean up your mess, because this is how we build character and these small lessons will carry you way further, than my mollycoddling will. OH IT’S SO HARD EVEN TO TALK ABOUT IT!

I’ve also learned that Liam can survive without me. The harsh, harsh reality about life is that we never know when our time is going to be up. When I consider my mortality, I am more afraid of what will happen to my kids if and when I die, than I am about actually dying. But I’ve learned that Liam would be just fine, he would miss me no doubt, but he would be alright, and that gives me a sense of peace. And not only in terms of life and death, but this time apart has shown me that he is a confident, self assured little boy, who can deal with being away from his mom, and that his emotional capabilities are developing well. There’s nothing wrong with being shy or timid, but I think every parent worries about a child who seems introverted, who can’t seem to function without his/her mom right by their side, who pulls back in fear at the thought of being the centre of attention. I think it’s every parents fear, that their kid could possibly be a target for a big nasty bully.

I’ve learned that Hannah is really and truly the easiest, most lovable creature who is happy to go with the flow, who rolls with the punches and who just needs to be watered and fed occasionally. I am well blessed to have such a gem, as compared to Liam who was a high maintenance baby! I feel bad to admit that I have missed out on many of Hannah’s milestones because I was too preoccupied with life, and work and her brother.. but I’ve learned during our time alone together to appreciate her for being so incredibly, edibly sweet like chocolate. Yes, she is a diva who can throw a tantrum that will bounce clear off the Richter Scale, yes she has her days when she can whine and cry for seemingly no reason – which women doesn’t? But most times, Hannah is happy to just chill, she likes to dance and clap hands, she likes it when you “act a fool”  and do silly things that make her giggle. She likes to follow her dad around the house, she is quite happy to play alone with her toys or watch Disney Junior, especially Mickey Mouse Clubhouse. She eats whatever you put in front of her, she sleeps all night and has a good long nap in the day, she adapts well to change and she doesn’t care that I have to split my time between her, Liam, the house, work, her dad, LIFE. She’s just cool like that.

So this week has been an eye opener. God uses all types of situations to talk to us, to teach and correct us, to speak to our hearts and to let us know if we’re doing it right or if we need to check ourselves and I do believe that I’ve learned some important lessons from my God this week..

A photo collage of my favourite girl, Hannah Ruth.


A daughter is a mother’s gender partner, her closest ally in the family confederacy, an extension of herself.  ~Author Unknown

When you were born, I was in a bad space. I cried a lot. I was not ready for you, or rather, I thought I was not ready for you. But from day one, you wormed yourself into my heart and every day I think to myself there’s no way I can love you anymore than I do, but as you grow I find myself wanting to squish the life out of you because you are just that adorable and lovable and squish-able and I feel like my heart will explode with this deep love I have for you.

These photos depict your journey from babyhood to toddlerhood – you grew so quickly! Some days I want to press pause and just keep you as a little girl for a while longer.  You love to explore new things, you aren’t afraid of much, even the neighbour’s big barking dog. You love getting dirty; be it sand, grass, cake or yoghurt, you love to feel it, lick it, pour it all over yourself and just for good measure, roll around in it. You are a bit of a bully-boss, especially to your big brother and your other little friends, but I love your tenacity, you know what you want, and you know how to get it.

You laugh a lot. Like way more than is healthy for a little girl, you laugh until your milk comes out your nose, usually at your brother performing antics for your pleasure. You love him. You love him so much, I think he is your favourite person in the whole world. But I’m not sure, it’s a tie between him, Zoleka and Daddy. You pull the funniest faces, you have the juicest thighs and you have this gorgeous mop of curly hair that truly has a mind of its own.

I always wanted a daughter and I am so pleased that I got you! You fill a void that I didn’t even know I had. You remind me every day that God really does have our best interests at heart and even when we don’t see His plan and purpose for our lives, He is hard at work in the background. You were my unexpected blessing and I am so glad that He chose you for me. 

Love you Hannah Pushkin Pudding Baby xxx

Happily Ever After…


I love weddings! I love how they make you feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Weddings make me feel so sentimental, so maudlin! Partly because it’s wonderful to witness two people who are in love, declaring publicly and before God, that they want to be together forever and ever, but also because it always reminds me of my own special day, and it evokes all the emotions I felt on that day, how surreal everything felt, how I felt like I was positively going to float away because I was so light with happiness! My husband is way less emotional (about EVERYTHING) than I am, so he poo-poos my syrupy gushings about how wonderful weddings are and complains about having to wear a tie on a Saturday. Anyway, we attended a wedding of a dear friend last week, it was a beautiful wedding and hit my wedding-junkie sweet spot good and proper!  

We tied the knot on a crisp June afternoon in Durban, it was a huge affair with 300 guests – half of whom my husband and I didn’t know or hadn’t seen for years – but a wedding is more than just the bride and the groom in the Coloured community, it’s a family affair. Nevertheless, it was the happiest day of my pre-kids life, although my memory may be a bit hazy (kinda like how you only remember the good parts of childbirth and forget the bad and the plain down ugly bits). I do remember looking at certain things and thinking “when did I ok that?” but on the whole, our wedding was perfect.

I loved my dress from the moment I laid eyes on it and in fact, I still have it in a box in our garage – purely because I can’t find anyone who wants to buy it off me, and not because I have developed some sort of emotional attachment to it. But when Hannah was born, I did have this weird wistful notion that she would one day want to wear my dress, but let’s be honest, if fashion is anything to go by, in 20 odd years my daughter will not want to be caught dead in my dress, no matter how classic and timeless I think the style is. I had a blast choosing the décor, invitations and party favours, the husband-to-be had very little involvement other than handing over his credit card and nodding yes in agreement to everything I said. In fact it was more like MY party than OUR wedding, he was like my fabulous accessory of sorts (I’ll probably have to pay severely for that comment, sorry babe!!). All the same, he showed up on time and looked dashing in his suit and made an endearing speech that almost caused my very expensive mascara to run off my very fake eye lashes.

The thing about weddings is that, after funerals, it’s the next biggest event that brings a family together. And I think it is this, more than the glitz and glamour, that I really love about weddings. It’s a chance to see cousins and grand-aunts and uncles that you hadn’t seen in years. It’s a chance to meet the next generation (who are only invited to the church, because you do pay per head at the reception!) and it’s a chance to reminisce about the past. I always cheekily say that if I could do it again, I’d have a small affair and splash out on a fabulous month long honeymoon instead; because let’s face it, the two would cost about the same! But truthfully, I believe a wedding should be as grand an affair as your budget allows, with all the bells and whistles – and this doesn’t mean expensive and Top Billing-ish, it means it should be everything spectacular that you’ve always dreamed about, surrounded by the people you love.

It’s an auspicious event, and the start of your life long journey with your life long partner, and it’s something that indeed needs to be celebrated in these times where love, relationships and family ties have become more like fast moving consumable products, rather than like the “cast in stone” relic it should be. Call me a sentimental dreamer and a hopeless romantic if you will, but I do still believe in happily ever after.

BC / AD (Before Children / After Darlings)


Before our kids were born, my husband and I would spend hours talking about what we wanted for our children, how we would raise them, how we would discipline them, what wnderful parents we would be, who would be bad cop, and so on.. Of course once they were born, none of those conversations mattered, our conversations were more along the lines of: who made the last bottle, who changed the last diaper, who had the least amount of sleep last night and who could have the next night off. While laying in bed last night, thankful that the house was dark and quiet, I started thinking about the way life used to be, BC (before children).

The husband and I were movie buffs. We would  go sometimes twice a week; we were the Barry Ronge’s of our day. We could hold intelligent conversations for hours, dissecting the movie we had just watched, while sipping on post movie cappuccinos in a QUIET spot where non parents could gaze into each other’s eyes, without getting a blob of ketchup thrown in your face.  If we stayed up late, burning holes in the carpet, it was because we were having an adult party and dancing the carpet away, not pacing up and down with a baby who couldn’t settle. We used to watch the news after dinner, and Sunday mornings were for church, followed by fresh hot bread rolls and reading the newspapers.. Now the only news I get to follow is via my social networking contacts, and the only papers I read are clinic cards, report cards and bills. If we didn’t feel like cooking, we’d order in; if we felt like going to bed as soon as we walked in from work, we’d do it. If we felt like a night of pigging out while watching hired movies, and leaving the dirty dishes to soak, we’d do it! AD (after darlings), we have to ensure that there is at least one wholesome meal a day, we have to wait for the kids to go to bed before we break out the junk food – and even then, we have to open wrappers verrrry quietly, chew slowly and hide all the evidence. We don’t leave dishes in the sink, because there’s nothing worse than getting up at dawn to wash baby bottles, and the sink is covered with leftover dishes – that’s got to be one of my pet peeves! I remember sleeping in until the heat emanating from our room would eventually wake us up – midday sun is HOT! Now if the sun is up before me, it’s probably because I’ve been up all night and only got to bed at 5am – no not partying, nursing a sick child!

But the one thing that has really evolved AD, is the relationship I share with my husband. Our conversations are limited to baby talk – quite literally. He’ll say “I’m going pee-pee” when he leaves the room to take a toilet break. Or I’ll quite seriously say “give mama some love” when I need a hug? The only time we have alone time is when both kids are asleep, and by that time, all we want to do is sleep too. We get excited about Pampers being on special or half price kiddies meals at a restaurant, when did this happen?!! We argue over missing baby socks, and Hannah’s bad hair day and Liam’s increasing vocabulary of rude words; COME ON! We used to argue over who’s soccer team was better and how my t-shirt showed too much cleavage!

Sometimes I ask myself if this is the life I signed up for? Is this the man I married? Are these the sweet angels I used to dream about when I was pregnant? The truth is – NO! My rose coloured glasses were knocked clean off my nose, that very first night in the hospital when that darling nurse nudged my shoulder at 3am to feed my screaming baby. Of course this is a blog my kids will read someday, so I do need to end it on a positive note! But the blatant truth is, that even amidst the hardship of raising babies, and mommies and daddies having to sneak into the bathroom to have a cuddle, and crying louder than my two kids because I just don’t know what they want sometimes, and wearing the same pair of butternut stained jeans two days in a row because they are the only pair that fit, and wanting to bust a cap in Liam’s teacher’s XXX because he likes her more than he likes me sometimes, and wanting to SCREAM at my husband when he promises the kids something that I have said no to already… even with ALL these things, the blatant truth is that if a genie had to appear and ask me if I wanted to rewind.. I wouldn’t even consider it. When you know the feeling of tiny soft fingers wrapped tightly around your hand, when you’ve giggled with your toddler until the tears flow, over something utterly silly like watching a dog pee, when you come home to little arms outstretched for a “love”, when you’ve kissed a bleeding booboo, when you’ve fallen asleep with a stiff neck because a little face is nuzzled deep into your neck, when you feel that joy of a baby who has learned to clap handies or blow kiss or say ta-ta, when you see little eyes light up at unwrapping a gift – there’s just no going back and there’s just no giving them back, not for all the chocolate in the world! And even though my husband and I are no longer the people we were when we got married, quintessentially we are better. You see, babies force parents to connect and reach out to each other and rely on each other in a way that you never thought was possible. Babies strip you bare, they force emotions out of you that you didn’t know you could muster up, they make the highs really high, and the lows dreadfully low; and for my husband to still be here, to still love me like he does, to still be the almost-perfect father to our kids, after witnessing firsthand the highs and lows of parenting two bambinos, 15 months apart; I love him now, more than I have ever loved him in my life.

I know this season will pass, and there will come a time when Liam and Hannah leave the nest empty and the husband and I can go back to our movies and junk food and sleeping in. I know too, that as I sometimes miss our BC past, I will one day miss THIS time when my kids were babies who still looked up to me like a demi-goddess. Because the old adage is true: live in the present because it is a gift from God.

Previously Loved Goods


I like making a quick buck. Who doesn’t? If there’s money to be made, I want in on that action! With this thought in mind, I was pondering the many milestones my babies have reached and how so many items and accessories have now become obsolete in my household. When I think of the thousands of Rands we spent on all this paraphernalia that’s now just cluttering up my garage,  it makes me want to have another baby just so that I can get my money’s worth. What? Did I just say that? Slip of the finger.. If God so wills, I trust my family is COMPLETE! But seriously, being the frugal tightwad that I am, I am considering having a garage sale or opening a second hand baby store to get something out of this baby business.

Why not donate it or give it to another family having a baby, you ask. Let me state for the record, that I have graciously offered my leftovers, but these days ALL NEW parents want ALL NEW goodies – especially for their first born baby! I have given many things away to charities and to those less fortunate, I’ve even boxed old clothes and sent them as far as rural KZN, but now I think I’m going to get my own back and start a mini business selling baby leftovers. I could call it “Used But Not Abused” or  “Worn But not Torn” or “Hand Me Down Couture.” Ok, the name needs work but that’s the least of my worries, my leftovers will actually sell themselves!

Presently I am hoarding a walking ring, a feeding chair, a car seat, NUK bottles which Liam has outgrown, a Bumbo seat, a breastfeeding pillow, a changing mat, toys for every age, clothes and shoes galore, a breast pump (missing one small vital part, but I won’t tell if you won’t – hey sales is a cutthroat business). I have cot linen in all shades and colours, and receiving blankets upon fleecy blankets upon crotched blankets, a humidifier which I must admit was a real blessing for a croupy baby, but now stands stagnant. Bottle warmers, flasks, dummies in an array of colours and shapes, nappy stackers and a cupboard dedicated to baby bags – for what? What about all the items that looked useful at the time but actually proved to be useless – like the bath ring which both my children couldn’t stand to sit in, the cupboard locks that both my Macgyvers could unlock, small umbrellas – children don’t know what umbrellas are even for, they think it’s fun to get wet in the rain, not cover themselves up – DON’T EVER BUY YOUR KID AN UMBRELLA, no matter how cute it looks in the store, it’s a waste.

What irks me the most is that babies grow so quickly that you spend very little time at every stage, so just as your baby starts to enjoy something, they outgrow it! Hannah spent a lot of time just “lumping” in her walking ring, then she realised her car could take her places, but no sooner had she made this discovery, she started walking and we said goodbye to the walking ring. I’m beginning to think that babies should be left to run around naked in their first year of life and perhaps we could wrap them in a piece of cloth during Winter – they sprout so quickly out of their clothes. I have many beautiful treasured outfits that neither of them wore, because I was saving it for a “special” occasion – only for them to have outgrown it by the time that occasion came around.

So that’s it, I am opening shop! If you’re looking for previously loved baby goods, in excellent condition, I’m your (wo)man! I’ll make a fortune and probably spend my riches on more useless kids stuff. It just doesn’t end until they actually pack up and leave home and get their own garage to fill with useless stuff.

 

The Wonder Years


On sound advice from a good friend, I’ve decided to chronicle important events of our times, in a bid to give my grown children a feel for the economic, political and socio climate they were born into, and grew up in. Personally, I was born at an amazing time in history – I was alive at a time when the world was rocked by events which changed humanity forever.

I have lived through euphoric moments, with the release and election of our first Black president, Mr Nelson Mandela; the end of Apartheid put South Africa at the forefront of the global arena. South Africa took centre stage again in this decade, showcasing probably the world’s most cataclysmic pandemic – AIDS. Yes it was a worldwide problem, but the South African statistics shocked the world. On a positive note, the Soccer World Cup came home, and it was one of the proudest moments to be a South African. Terrorism reached new heights with the 9/11 attacks on America, as the world continued to wrestle over oil – how would I explain that to my children? America swore in their first Black president. We witnessed firsthand the highs and lows of influential people whose names will forever be ingrained in the sands of time: Mother Theresa, Bill Clinton, Osama Bin Laden, Robert Mugabe, Oprah Winfrey and many more. We’ve lived through other people’s lives, as reality TV overtook the airwaves.  Social networking opened up a whole new world called Cyberspace. Babies could be created in test tubes, sheep could be cloned, and cross-gender /cross-culture relationships became the norm. And sadly natural disasters unhinged the world as they plundered ferociously through continents, killing thousands, leaving millions destitute.

I was a child at a time in history when children could be just that – children. We played in the street until the lights came on, we were in and out of our neighbours homes and everyone was called aunt or uncle. We played games with sticks, tins and leftover bits from our mothers pantyhose. Your teacher was your parent away from home and we were disciplined with canes and rulers and that was ok, because abuse was almost unheard of, so we knew we were being deservedly punished. We’d walk to the local swimming pool, without fear of being snatched, we’d have sleepovers without fear of our friend’s parents. Our own parents trusted our neighbours enough to leave us with them overnight, while they went dancing. I grew up in a time when it was cool to be a kid.

One of my greatest fears as a parent today, is sheltering my children from experiences that they NEED to have, because of my own fear of what society has become. I’m too scared to let Liam play in the street because I’m afraid a drunken driver will run him down, or a preying paedophile will be lurking close by. Besides, there’s NO kids playing in the street anymore! I’m too scared to leave him at a kiddies party because I don’t know the other school parents well enough, so I stand on the outskirts watching and waiting. This is fine now, he’s two years old, but I don’t think he’ll appreciate my presence when he is at a 16th birthday party. I read the back of every label of everything they consume because I am so afraid of them being obese, or being exposed to tartrazine or too much salt or too many fatty acids because childhood diseases are on the rampage and kids are falling down dead from diseases that we can’t even spell. I spend more time in the doctors surgery than I do in front of the TV because they are always sick and constantly on antibiotics. I remember getting standard childhood illnesses like chicken pox, mumps and the odd runny nose, but not constantly needing a humidifier and allergy medication??

I want my kids to know the value of a well meaning stranger who honestly just wants to help them across the street, or to be able to run half naked through a sprinkler at the park, I want them to wave good bye to me at the school gate without being scared of being hassled by an older kid looking to steal their lunch money. YES we were hassled by older kids, but bullying today is nothing like what it was even five years ago. The suicide rate directly related to school bullying is terrifying!!!

So yes, these are the signs of our times. It’s difficult to be a good parent – I’m afraid of underexposing my children to the evils of the world – they need to know about stranger danger and about NOT touching their friend’s blood when he/she gets hurt and about the perils of Mxit, Facebook and other social networking sites. But do I really want to over expose them unnecessarily, and instil in THEM, this fear that has gripped me?

So my children, when you read this, I want you to know that I tried as far as possible to raise you “normally” in an otherwise crazy world. But I also want you to know that I didnt do it alone. I only got this far because of “He who is in me, who is greater than he who is in the world.” I pray for and over you, I’ve dedicated you and I believe that God’s favour is upon you. So although my fears and phobias do keep me up some nights, I know that there’s a greater force looking out for you and loving you even MORE than I do! And that kinda helps me sleep at night.