It all lead me to you

Yesterday on our drive home D and I were chatting, as we do, and talked turned to past relationships. We shared stories of how relationships started and ended, what we had learned from each relationship, funny stories and such. Now anyone who knows me, knows I am incredibly sentimental, I tend to remember things forever and love looking back now and realizing the value in past events.

 

I remember the boy I was ‘going out’ with when my dad died, his name is Michael, same as my dad. I was totally devastated following my dad’s death and he was the only person who was just there for me, without stupidly trying to say the right thing, without having any expectation. He just held my hand, let me snot cry on his t-shirt and still stared at me adoringly all the while. He made me feel so special and so pretty. I can remember him taking my face in his hands one day and staring into my eyes and telling me I was the most beautiful person he knew, both inside and out. He sang to me, all out of tune and stuff but it was so sweet, think, ‘A blue eyed boy meets a brown eyed girl, oh oh, the sweetest thin’. We were so young and so innocent. He was not my first love, it was never that serious but I sure did like him a lot.

 

When I was in standard six, there was this boy in matric. Tall, dark, beautiful and he was a musician and he wrote poetry and did art and I was besotted. It was Valentines day, I was standing talking to him with a friend, all my red ribbons pinned all over my shorts, trying to make the small talk seem casual. In a burst my friend just blurts out, ‘You know she’s crazy about you right?’, my face was more red than the ribbons on my shorts, I just stared at the ground wishing it would swallow my whole, I could hear my heart beating in my ears, it was as though the world stopped. Then I heard him say, ‘That’s ok cos I am mad about her too’, my heart stopped, I looked up and he was smiling at me, his beautiful, moody smile. We were boyfriend and girlfriend for about three months, that’s a long relationship in high school. He wrote me long letters and I swooned in his company. The standard eight girls hated me and the rest of the standard six girls were so jealous. I learned I could get the hot guy and it was great. To be fair though, he was 18, I was 14, that’s a lifetime at that age, we stayed friends. He now has a beautiful wife.

 

Then there was my first love, the guy who forever changed everything where relationships are concerned. He called me beautiful, he challenged me on every level. He was wild. A lot older. He drank and did drugs. He had tattoos and listened to heavy metal. My dad had recently died, I was on a path to self destruction, he fuelled that. We went to clubs, we drank, we did drugs, we hitchhiked, we slept at random people’s houses, we fought, we made up. It was all so intense. I was 15, he was 21. Yes. Recipe for disaster. I got pregnant. We fought. He moved out. We got back together. He was arrested. (long story for another day) I cried myself into labour literally. We welcomed our beautiful baby boy on a cold day in May. We fought. He threatened to take my baby. I tried to commit suicide. We broke up. We made up. He hit me. I felt worthless. Wash, rinse repeat for roughly seven long years. This relationship taught me what I wanted by being everything I didn’t. I refused to let this define me, I was not going to be that women too afraid to leave and do better. I left and never looked back.

The next serious one was IT guy from Cape Town. Me met online (hahahaha)we chatted, we had a few visits, we had feelings we agreed to explore. Now if I am to be completely honest here, and I will, there were never any warm and fuzzies with this one, no passion, no great love. It made sense on paper, he has a high IQ, he has ambition, he doesn’t drink or smoke, he had his own company and could support himself. Like it balanced in terms of stability. He is emotionally retarded. Still today. He has zero concept of what an adult relationship is, he is cold and without feeling, without a doubt the worst s*x I ever had which makes it that much sadder that I got pregnant. He tried to force me to have an abortion. I bled and though I was miscarrying, he broke up with me before I even had confirmation from the doctor, classy like that. We fought. I told him I was keeping the baby. He threatened to take my baby. I fought back. I moved back to Joburg, he decided he wanted nothing to do with the baby, he signed away all parental rights. I was ok. I got a beautiful baby. To be honest this break up hurt me very deeply, I was adamant I was done with love and men. I did learn that one cannot build a relationship on intellect alone, feelings matter. A lot.

While I was still in Cape Town, I had posted a Facebook status update, something along the lines of how some men should not be allowed to father children, not related to my situation btw. And I got this message to my inbox, from a guy I went to school with, he was older than me but I remembered him. Mr spoiled rich kid, who I had a crush on at a stage. The jock who played first team sports and was so popular. His message was along the line of how he would love to be a father one day. Little did I know, sitting at my desk in Sea Point, feeling sick from the smell of Thai food from downstairs, what with morning sickness and what not, that my life was about to change, in a big way.

 

Messages kept going back on forth. I kept pushing him away, I told him I had too much going on to entertain new friends. He stuck around. Cell phone numbers were exchanged. There were smses that made me smile, phone calls that kept me up. I told myself not to like him, I told him not to like me. There was something there. I visited Joburg and we hung out, he had amazing lips, and deep blue eyes. He kissed me like I had never been kissed before. I left and we agreed to be friends.

 

I moved back to Joburg at the end of March, we hung out, a lot, we stayed friends. Something was simmering below the façade. I had my baby. He was the first to visit. He claimed my little boy as his own and not long after we decided to stop pretending and got together.

 

From that day until now, nearly three years later, we have spent only three nights apart. We are engaged and have added a beautiful little girl to our now complete family. Each day I fall in love with this man who looks at me like I am the only woman alive all over again. His chest is the best place for my head and his arms make me feel safe when they are wrapped around me. Even after three years, every kiss is magical and I know I will still love him fifty years from now.

I guess the point of this rather soppy drivel is that I have realized the reason we work so well is because we had both been hurt and been loved before. We both lived enough to know what we have is real. We have both walked a path to this day.

 

I asked D last night what my label would be and where I’d fit in, like ‘first love’ etc and he said, that’s easy my baby, you are the redeemer. Yes. And he is mine.

Parenting, not for sissies.

So I hate to be the bearer of bad news but all you moms with babies and small kids who think its hard. Well. Truth be told, it never gets easier. I have a ten year old, and almost eight year old, an almost three year old and a five month old and believe it or not I’ll take the little ones over the big ones any day.

 

When Blake (almost three) has a tantrum or acts out, he is usually tired and frustrated at not being heard, in general his stuff is easy to handle. The baby, Kyra, is a lovely, happy, smiley baby who only ever fusses when she is tired, hungry or needs a change. Nappies are the biggest challenge with these two. As long as they are fed and loved and stimulated they never offer any real challenge.

 

Now for two mornings in a row I have been found standing in the passage arguing with Haedyn (ten) and Mycaela (almost eight) over who took whose school tie or socks *sigh* EVERY night they are told to get their things ready for school, EVERY night they assure me it has been done and yet EVERY morning there is some or other fight about random school paraphernalia.

 

Mycaela loses things at a rate unknown to man and really doesn’t get it most days. My mom fetches them from aftercare in the afternoons and every evening when I get home there is a new reason Mycaela is in trouble. Yesterday when my mom arrived to fetch her, she was rolling around on the ground in her brand new school jacket giggling like a mad person, really?! What is the point? As usual when asked she says her friends told her to, that is her go to sadly *sigh* When she wants to find something to wear she pulls literally everything out of her cupboard and throws it all on the floor. She never sits down and eats her dinner without a fight, she lies about homework and has over 20 demerits this year already. She is a challenge of the highest order, give me nappies and interrupted sleep any day thanks!

 

Haedyn is at an age where he asks awkward questions, stuff he has no business knowing anyway. He whines like a champion about everything and sulks for nothing. I feel like I spend my life asking him how old he is, surely at ten the foot stomping, lip quivering tantrums at five in the morning should be a thing of the past? Should he not by this point have some understanding of how things happen? The other day after I woke him up he chose to roll over and go back to sleep cos he didn’t feel like it. Crikey child, I NEVER feel like it. That said I have been your mother long enough for you to know you need a much better story if you think you are getting a day off school, for serious. Do not even get me started on his attitude, the attitude is legendary. He only recently (in the last six months) was actually allowed to operate the kettle to make tea/coffee but if you dare ask him to make any you get the monstrous sigh and eye roll with the exaggerated ‘Do I have to?’ Meh. Just meh. I’d actually happily give up some sleep to have dealing with him be easier.

 

I am quietly dreading the teenage years, I sometimes wonder what the hell I was thinking I am going to have teenagers and little kids at the same time. I imagine I will have to bribe the little ones with sweeties to tell me what the teens have been up to or resort to being that mother who sits at the back of the theatre spying while they are out.

 

On the flip side I am looking forward to finding creative ways to keep them in line. I have this idea that punishment should hit them where it hurts, I am not about taking away phones etc the first time one of them does something to cross a major line I fully intend to collect them from their next party or sports even in my slippers and dressing gown, possibly with rollers in my hair. Hah, that would totally give me a kick. I also imagine we will get fairly creative when they start bringing girlfriends and boyfriends home. I have this idea that the first time they come over we’ll act like folks from Delmas, all hillbilly and redneck and then the next time they come over have them sit down to a formal dinner, starched tablecloth and all. *insert manic laughter*

 

I would totally understand if you felt terrible for my kids but I do believe my unorthodox methods have worked thus far so intend to continue on.

 

Right now I am still trying to get back into being at work and am still a little taken aback by how happy people are to have me back, there has been squealing for cheese sakes. I miss the kids when I am at work, they drive me bat shit crazy when I am at home. I have yet to master the whole work life balance and suspect it will be a while. I am on total sensory overload and am feeling a little sick for being exposed to all the bugs in the aircon at the office, yuck.

 

I sometimes feel cheated cos I never had the chance to want to be a mom, so I never considered everything that it would involve for the rest of my life. I will admit to wondering what I would be doing had I not fallen pregnant when I did. Then on a Sunday morning when I have all the kids cuddled in bed with us, my soul rests and my heart swells and I know, without a single doubt, that this is exactly where I am meant to be.

Perception is reality

I think it is the human condition to always go to the negative, to dwell on the bad and overlook the good. It’s also all about perspective really, one person’s walk in the park is another person’s devastation.

 

Things in my life are not all sunshine and puppy dogs at this point, I am facing a number of challenges that, at times, feel insurmountable. That said. I am still here, I still get up each day and keep on keeping on. Things have been better yes, but things have also been much much worse.

 

I don’t often talk about my life before D, the dark days of the ex, G. I tend to switch off when people tell me I don’t know how hard it is to be a single mother. I know. Trust me I know.

 

I can remember one day, at the age of 19, mother of two children, sitting on my bed sobbing at what my life had become. G had once again picked a fight, taken the last of our money and my car and disappeared. I was alone with the kids with no money and no food in the house. I did not know how I was going to feed them and I though at that point that my life was pretty much over.  I was scared, I had lost hope and I believed the best was over. Looking back now I realise just how much I had to learn.

 

I can remember the day I was finally done with G for good, the day that little switch in my brain flicked over and I finally understood he was bad for me. We had gotten into another fight, about my brother’s ex girlfriend and him wanting her number. He had cheated on me before and I was not about to give him the means to do it again. The fight escalated, he had been drinking, as usual. We shouted, he shoved and grabbed my hair, we ended up in the kitchen. I found myself pinned to the floor, his knees on my shoulders, a knife against my throat. His eyes were dead, cold and totally devoid of anything but the desire to end my life. I cried desperate tears knowing my children would grow up without me, I wished I had never fought back because I didn’t want to leave them with the burden of having had their father in jail for killing their mother. The only thought in my mind was my babies. Somehow my son had gotten out of the bedroom I had closed them in, he was standing in the kitchen doorway, and screamed, the look on his face will haunt me forever, “Leave my mommy alone!”. It distracted him just long enough for me to get away, grab my son and press the panic button on the alarm. My son saved my life that day, I am certain of it. The next day G left. Seeing my son hurt by what he had done to me was the last straw. He was never given the opportunity to hurt either of us again.

 

For seven years I allowed this man to periodically control me. From the first salary I earned he would take my money and my things to buy drugs and alcohol. He made me feel worthless and hurt me in so many ways. He cheated on me, he alienated me from all my friends and family, he isolated me and made me feel like I did not deserve to be happy. He broke me. The scars are still there. Not just on me. My son to this day gets hysterical if anyone raises their voice to me. He still gets defensive if anyone is mean to me or about me. He has lived through and seen so much pain, and I wish, with everything I have, that I can take it all away from him.

 

It took everything I had to decide to try again, to love again and to let someone into our lives. I moved to Cape Town to start over with a man I believed was it. He was everything G was not, the total opposite. Until I got pregnant and he tried to bully me into having an abortion, until he turned out to be a frog rather than prince charming. I was alone again, scared half to death. I cried more in the month before I moved back to Johannesburg than I have ever cried over anything. Again, I thought my life was over. The truth is it was only just beginning.

 

It was at this time, my lowest of the low moment that D entered my life. I pushed him away, hard and for a long time. For some reason he stuck around. He was the friend I needed and my shoulder to cry on, he was everything I needed without me even realising it.

 

Now, today, three years later, the daily challenges I face seem meek compared to where I have been. They seem insignificant compared to the love I have and they seem a lot more walk in the park than devastation. After all, in life, it’s all about perception.

Recent happening and mad rantings

This week has been a special kind of hell. It was my first week at work after my nearly five months of maternity leave. I can safely report that nothing has changed at all. I am still outcast due to race/language, I am still the only person who has a solid sense of work ethic and I can still think of a thousand places I would rather be than here.

I have had to adjust to getting up at the ungodly hour of five o’clock. I have had to leave my baby at home all day and get home every night but one to a fast asleep baby in her cot. My heart aches for all that I am missing with her. I miss playing with Blake and truth be told I even miss the school run with Haedyn and Mycaela. I have always sworn blind that I need to work for my own sanity, for the first time I have my doubts.

I will admit to having missed a few faces around the office and enjoying catching up a little this week. I had my hair done by Roz, part of the Redken Master Artist class, stunning cut and colour, really am very happy with my new hair. But, the ever present but, I am no happier here than I was last year

I had hoped some time off to gain some perspective and to rest and enjoy my family would see me back and full of energy and passion for my work, sadly even the most fervent efforts would be wasted in current conditions. Now to blow smoke up my own arse here, but I am damned good at what I do, I am ambitious and driven and pay attention to detail. I am without doubt an asset here yet get treated like scum purely because I don’t speak zulu and am therefore excluded from all the banter etc in our office. I am seriously considering lodging a grievance this year. The good news is no one can make me feel like I am over reacting cos I am hormonal.

Our living situation sucks, like really. Our lease for our house was coming to an end in February, and we looked at a few properties and found one we loved but were faced with the issue of my mom not having a permanent job and possibly having to sell her car or house to survive. Both D and I are too stupid/selfless/caring/guilty/whatever to carry on with our lives while my mom stood on the brink of losing what she had worked her whole life for.

So with a six week old baby and three other kids we gave up our space/freedom and a large chunk of our finances to move back into my mom’s house so we could pay her bond, the water and lights, rates and taxes and give her a little breathing room to get back on her feet.

STUPID STUPID STUPID of us to believe that we would be shown any respect or god forbid a little gratitude for what we have done. Effectively we get treated like crap regardless, my mom still has her “My house, my rules” ideology, despite the fact that we are actually supporting the system.  My brother lives there too, contributes VERY little and consumes A LOT. It is frustrating as hell. We are spending more on our living costs than before, we have no privacy and we are often talked about behind our backs, treated with little to no respect and looked to to supply their wants and needs. So work sucks but going home is not much better. Only worth it to be with my kids.

I guess the main reason I am so frustrated is that this whole life thing seems to be going in circles, no major breakthrough, no big break, no light at the end of the tunnel or future event to look forward to. Fuck. This is not what I wanted to be when I ‘grew up’

That said, and lest my pity party become totally dreary, I do have four fantastic kids and a fiancé I love lots lots. I have a job, even if it is kak, I have my health, with a few extra layers of padding :p and I have my mind (for now) which means I am smart enough to know this too shall pass.

You may notice I have not mentioned friends, maybe not. I am honest to go not feeling very friendly right now, I have been a kak friend and have buried my head in my own life and have not wanted any interruption into my time with my last baby. I am kinda bored of the  talk of cliques and exclusivity and I am more or less than you. My eyes just glazed over typing that. For the record, I am of the mind that regardless of many things, mother/not mother, fat/thin, black/white/purple/green, rich/poor, young/old blah blah blah ad nauseum we are all PEOPLE. Stop being so damned judgy and get on with your own stuff.

I don’t generally comment, I exclude myself cos frankly I am not pretty or hip or cool or fabulous. I am a frumpy mom of four clinging to the last thread of my sanity hiding my scream behind a thin smile and enthusiastic nod of my head. I do not care what car anyone drives, who made their jeans or how much money they make, if we can share a laugh or commiserate over something we have both experience that is great. I like people, when they step out from behind the pretense and are just human.

I have matured to the point where I no longer crave validation and approval from anyone. My fiancé thinks I am awesome, beautiful and a genius, really, ask him 😀 my kids love me despite my inability to be all earth mother and home school domestic goddess. Actually, truly, that’s enough. I think some people are pretty freaking awesome, one very special person who messaged me when I most needed it this week, the friend who loves me enough to be my voice of reason and those who allow me the freedom to go a little loopy. If they happen to think I am awesome too, if not, that’s ok, some people have enough awesome to make up for those who don’t have any.

This post has turned out a bit muddled, no surprise really since that is the state of my life right now. I leave you with wishes of peace and hot chocolate with marshmallows for the chilly weekend ahead

 

Being more me

So I know I have explained before why I am not a ‘mommy blogger’ but to be fair I have not shared the whole story. So let’s start at the beginning shall we? I became a mom on a cold May morning back in 2002. I was 16, I was terrified and I had absolutely no idea who I was let alone how I was going to parent the beautiful cherub in my arms.

I didn’t want children (don’t die laughing now) I was as sure as anyone at 16 could be about what I wanted my life to be. I was (am) smart and ambitious and had such big dreams, dreams that were placed on hold when I saw two pink lines on a home pregnancy test.

I never had the chance to consider motherhood as an option, I never yearned for a baby and I cannot relate to those women who know they were born to be mothers. I am not suggesting there is anything wrong with it, I just cannot relate in any way, shape or form.

My blog has become a space for me to vent, to say what I can’t (won’t) say out loud. The place where I come to be myself uncensored, or so I thought. So much of who I am is being a mom, I have four kids, clearly this takes up a lot of my time and energy. Yet, I find myself avoiding blogging about them and I finally figured out why.

At the ripe old age of nearly 27 I have never truly explored who I am. I have never had the luxury of taking time to ‘find myself’. I am mother, daughter, sister, fiancé, colleague, friend and employer but I have no idea who I really am. This has lead me to trying to be just me, without fulfilling any of my daily roles, in this space and that is most likely why I have had absolutely nothing to write about while on maternity leave. I have been so absorbed by my role as mother that nothing else seems to matter and for the very first time I am not afraid to be mommy first and let the rest take a back seat.

I have decided to stop trying to define myself outside of each role and rather to understand that who I am is a mix of each of these things that makes me uniquely me. I am imperfectly perfect at being me. I think I may be growing up *gasp* because other people and their opinions are starting to mean less to me and I am finding genuine pleasure in living without self censorship.