Sunday, 26 April 2009

For better or worse...

For better or worse. In sickness and in health. Till death us do part.

Don't think I actually said those words y'know. I mean I said something along those lines for sure. Something about forever an all. I have my vows kicking around the house somewhere - the ones we said the day I married my husband for the second time. Yes - I loved him so much, I married him twice.

The first time was shrouded in secrecy - only a handful of people knew, none of our families. The day itself involved a couple of friends, a registry office on the Kings Rd (Polanski and Sharon Tate, Judy Garland and Marco Pierre White all got hitched there) and a token bunch of flowers. I wore a white trouser suit and husband (to be) wore an unironed shirt and a permanent cigarette. We had to use my Grandmother's Grandmother's wedding ring and I got the giggles at the vow part - it felt like we were being especially naughty, not making life long legal promises. We called it the step between 'living together' and 'getting hitched'. A cool summer's day - July 31st 2002. We'd had our first date exactly a year to the day, before. Husband, an Australian with a visa recently expired, could then stay in the country - and we could work it out from there...

Deep down I already knew. He was 'the one.' Husband clearly wasn't so sure, or so ready - as it took him another year and two months to finally propose.

That happened at 2am one Fri night/Sat morning when he stumbled in from work. We lay in bed talking about relationships, (a mate of mine had just been horribly dumped) my fingers invisibly on his back - encouraging him in a not so round about way, to take that leap. His eyes looked ceiling ward and then he did it. He asked those life changing words.

I was shocked. I didn't believe he meant it. I had proposed about... 31 times (mainly drunk) - he only proposed the once. I asked him if was serious, then screamed 'yes!' and then made him wear Shrek ears I'd just brought him back from a work trip to Florida. (It made the enormity of what we had just done feel somehow more frivolous). No shaggathon for us. No, he asked if he could watch Sky sports. The romance of it all. It was 2am but I still called my Mum - so he couldn't take it back. This sums up our diverging paths. Something happens, he goes one way, I another.

A date was set - 24th October 2004. Halloween being my favourite holiday - I indulged myself and gave one helluva a party. For the service: (to get married again we had to go through the whole 'we are not married in the eyes of 'god' malarkey and attend hideous wedding classes which Husband always turned up to having sunk a bottle of wine first) a candlelit church my Mother and Grandmother had all married in (my Mother, twice). The reception in an old yacht club overlooking the sea - filled with pumpkin lanterns carved with hearts, toffee apples with our baby photos on, mulled wine, a pumpkin and ghost covered chocolate cake, and fortune teller (who had a panic attack and left early - perhaps a sign?) for 90 friends and family. It was the best day of my life.

Here we are 4 years on. 7 years legally married. 8 together.

Husband is depressed which means I have to walk on eggshells and be supportive when I want to put a rocket up his ass and explode him into a million little pieces. He has signed up for counselling (wasn't that meant to be me?) and even ventured to my acupuncturist. He hates his job and is beyond burnt out. (Tell me something I didn't know). His problem is that he has no time to make these crucial life changes. I understand - that he feels he never has time for himself. (Welcome to my world buddy). But instead of saying this - I have to take deep breaths and say supportive things - being careful to listen but NOT advise. Apparently that is imperative - the whole listening but not actually reacting thing. It is what men want. Not solutions, not help, no - they just want to share.

After a hard week and Sproglet being 'challenging' you guessed it - I am so in the mood for this sharing! Oh please, bring on the sharing! I just can't get enough of your woe!

Sorry. In sickness and in health. Remember. REMEMBER.

Saturday, 18 April 2009

Just brilliant

Sproglet came home from nursery wearing a sticker the other day. It said 'I am brilliant.' It was a simple unapologetic fact. He wore it with no trace of embarrassment - well, he is almost 3, and is content to proclaim his sheer wonderfulness.

The next day he wore another one with pride: 'I am growing up.' No bones about it - Sproglet knew what was what and he wasn't afraid to let the world know it. I coveted both stickers, particularly the Brilliant one. If only I could wear such cheery badges and believe them completely. What a confidence booster eh? Being able to look folk in the eye the minute they clock said statement sticker and look questioningly as if to say, 'really?' Puff that chest out, tilt your chin at an angle and give a quick nod of the head - yep, I rock.

Along with his excellent tidying skills and sincere empathy - over the past week or so Sproglet has shown off his ability to count to ten, speak continually without breath and to boss everyone around to within an inch of their lives. That's a hell of a learning curve for a week. Frequently I find myself staring at his handsome grinning little face and wondering when did he suddenly evolve into this energetic, most boyish of wee boys?

His random acts of love are by far my favourite moments - when he will suddenly clamber onto my knee and kiss me with such urgency I am almost knocked sideways; or when he rubs noses and giggles at the silliness of it all.

An article in today's Times suggests that it has been proven that having children doesn't make one any happier. In fact the year prior to having kids is the best in a couples' relationship. Who writes this stuff? Yes, parenting is the hardest job in the planet -thankless, relentless and all consuming. But I wouldn't swop it for all the money in the world because it simply is Brilliant.

Monday, 13 April 2009

Happy Birthday to me

So I turn 30....something tomorrow. Something that is nearer 40 than 30. Something that feels very remote and grown up and absolutely nowhere near my mental/emotional age whatsoever. Do I have to be it? If I don't look it, act it or want it? I am going to be 33 - again. Even that feels odd. Better move on quickly before I slit my wrists. Young looking wrists though they are...

How was your Easter? I took a bunch of girls to my fav restaurant ( Yauatcha for tasty dim sum and glorious cakes on Saturday. The place is exquisite to look at, never mind the food. All sirene blue fish tanks and women in pristine aprons bringing you mellowing teas and delicate flowery cocktails. An array of cakes that are modern works of art and almost (but not quite) a shame to eat. I love it!!

It was Easter - most folks were away - so there was an eclectic mix of mates, who had never met before. Recipe for disaster possibly - which turned into a rip-roaring success! Hurrah! You know those moments where amusing anecdotes flow into each other until everyone is crying with laughter? Being only 6 of us there was only ever one conversation going on at the table - everyone contributing. I had one of the best afternoons I have had in ages... No one made a move to leave until we realised we were meant to leave the table an hour before... I came home to Husband cooking up a storm for some friends - we had duck and roasted root vegetables and champagne and a fabulous b'day cake. The bunny cake - again! Not that I was complaining. My best friend Esther bought it thinking it was very 'me' - and I explained that I had already chowed down on the very same cake for most of the week. Yes, it was very me. About the 6 inches of me that have grown on my waist because of it. She gave me Mac's Hello Kitty lip gloss - because I may be hideosly old - but the inner child still loves her pretty kitty gloss.

So although official b'day is tomorrow - it feels like it has been and gone. I'm sending Husband to my acupuncturist this week - which is putting him in the safest hands he has ever been in since 32 years ago when a midwife cut the cord. That is my b'day gift to him - and therefore us. In return he is taking me for some champagne and fine grub (if I can ever get into any dresses post bunny cakes 1 & 2). Sproglet thinks it is in fact his b'day tomorrow - partly because he has his body weight - or rather - my body weight in chocolate to chomp through thanks to friends' generosity. Thank god Easter - and birthdays - only come but once a year.

Now what shall I wish for??

Monday, 6 April 2009

Where you belong

Husband thinks I can be bi-polar at certain times of the month. I am epicentre of rage just before my body finally gives in to my period. It is almost like it takes my body (and mind) prisoner until (sorry to be so graphic) menstruation actually begins and then I become a needy, vulnerable squishy bucket of mush. From one extreme to another - usually with only an 8 hour sleep in between. From intense angry frustrated wildcat to simpering sensitive kitten.

I wouldn't want to be near me. Usually I try and get some good acupuncture going - those needles sure do prick some sense into me. The relief when my period comes - not for any prosaic 'not pregnant' reasons - but the sheer need for my body to stop being so sore, tense and rigid - is followed by a need to curl up into a small ball with blankets and cake and comfort. I bought a freakin' carrot cake today because it had bunnies on top of it. Bunny - carrots, geddit? How's that for a 1st day period buy? Anyway Husband and Sproglet somehow seem to be aware of my chemical imbalance and are liberally plying with me affection. Sproglet gave me lots of kisses and stroked my gently face as he smiled - and then asked for some bunny cake. Husband let me crawl onto his lap, curl into his chest and force my head into his neck like some desperate puppy, starved of attention. In the days when we first met I used to lie here to go to sleep - we called it 'where you belong.' Yes - it was that gooey first in love mutterings that are nauseating to anyone else.

He lost his wedding ring over the weekend - we searched high and low and in my PMT'd state the only blood I needed to spill was in fact his - it turned up at the dry cleaners... Don't ask. What bothered me most was that we made vows on those rings. They are symbolic - no? To lose them says... what exactly? Well it doesn't bode well that's for sure. They are engraved inside with meanings of our relationship: his says 'Carpe Diem' - mine 'Where you belong.' So he's got his 'carpe diem' back and I'm now allowed 'where you belong.' Things are looking up. In 5 days time, they'll be even brighter.

Saturday, 4 April 2009

Affluenza (just say no) a term coined for all of us ne'er satisfied folk who get more, only to want more. A plague that has engulfed all westerners in recent years. We want bigger and better - faster! Then we get there and are momentarily pacified - we've got that house/car/garden furniture/conservatory and then all of a sudden a friend or neighbour gets an even swankier house/car/garden furniture/conservatory and we are crippled with jealousy. Can we still walk back from the newsagents with such a jaunty swagger if we only have a modest VW instead of as top of the range Jag?? While all those around us drip with status symbols to scream at the world 'we are successful - SEE!!!' Have we the balls to stand up to all this insecure show-off bollox and say NO?

God it depresses me. Particularly when my friends get a dose of it. When you are growing up you all roughly have the same kind of lives (materially). Sure, there is always the rich kid who's parents tend to shower them in gifts but rarely their time. But all in all you have common social denominators. But when you get all grown up - suddenly it is all about people's incomes (the things nice suburban folk never talk about). Recently I saw a friend who has a beautiful house - truly massive - and yet complained that the kitchen was 'too small' - what does that say about my own lovely kitchen - a mere third of the size? All this comparing and measuring up does my head in. Makes me want to run off to an island with a backpack and Sproglet on my hip.

Don't get me wrong - I love a good handbag. Or a fine pair of shoes. Not that I buy them - where the hell would I wear 6 inch heels with little dangly feather bits and a wedge the size of a brick? On the nursery run? But I loathe the need folk have to prove their wealth - mainly at about 8:30am every day , when about 15 huge range rover cars jostle for space along my small road - all these yummy mummys who need such enormous cars for such tiny people. Where has this all encompassing need come from? Why did we all get so fucking insecure?

I confess I have dipped my toes in these shallow waters and found myself thinking - do I need a bigger house? Should Sproglet be going to the posh nursery that makes them wear ugly uniforms? Then I hit myself around the head and realise that the simple answer is no! A good friend compares her home/life to me all the time without realising it. Whilst she wandered around my house the whole time she said things like 'you have bigger bedrooms than us' 'you have more rooms but yes, we have the bigger bathroom' - she couldn't even hear herself!

All around I see people I thought were normal begin on cosmetic surgery, want the sexiest of cars (even if they can't drive) dream of walled in gardens and upstairs extensions. It is madness! Make it stop. We get more, then we need to earn more to keep it. We add more and more stress to our already stressful lives just to (briefly) enjoy more and more material things. Do they really make us happy? Well according to Oliver James's book 'Affluenza'- the answer is no.

I live in a neighbourhood were Affluenza is rife. I'm waiting for some notice to be served on me for the state of my garden - am sure it is bringing down the tone of the street. Like I give a rat's ass. It may be a Jurassic Park - but I have nothing to prove. I am not my house, my car, my washing machine and all it's wonderful cycles. To know people you have to look further. Maybe that's what everyone's afraid of?