Visibility

It was Valentine’s yesterday. We didn’t celebrate. We never really have.

Although, in the early days, when we were dating, we did make Valentine’s night a time where where we would cook dinner together. I think I have some vague memories of doing that at my parent’s home a long, long time ago. Although… I really must ask Deric what we cooked because I don’t seem to be able to recall.

Yes, it’s really been QUITE SOME TIME.

Mostly, we don’t do the typical Valentine’s date thing because the thought of being out and about when dozens of other couples are too just feels like too much effort. Also jostling busy joints just to get a meal or grab a coffee. Not my cup of tea. Heh.

And the only time Deric ever bought me flowers was, actually, in our first month of dating. It was a rather funny thing to remember. We were having lunch at Pasta Zanmai in Sunway Pyramid and he had excused himself to make a trip to the washroom.

I remember thinking he was taking awfully long to be at the toilet by a guy’s standards. And then at long last he finally reappears at the table. With flowers. That is and was the only time I ever got anything of that sort from him. I guess I told him somewhere along the line that I wasn’t too big into caring for dying blooms and would rather have more practical gifts that last way longer so he took heed.

We did go out yesterday, but it was to the hospital, and it was with Jamie in tow. No one was ill though. It was checkup time for me. While we were there, there were visible reminders of others celebrating Valentine’s. People toting pink balloons walking around the hospital and the hospital staff joking amongst one another about Valentine’s.

Deric told me yesterday that he noticed many of the ladies at his office had flowers sent to them.

I’ve always wondered how that feels like because I never had that done for me. Ever.

(In fact, the only time I ever had a Valentine’s gift, it was from a guy I had no feelings for. It was a really sweet initiative on his part and I appreciated it. But I actually accidentally lost his gift a few days later. Note: It wasn’t flowers he gave, it was jewellery. I wore it to uni, and it fell off somehow. Yup, that’s the kind of person I am, I guess. :|)

Anyway, back to what I was saying… Valentine’s. Flowers. All these public professions of love.

Me being the private person I am, I often think that the best kind of love is the quiet, steady kind. The type that isn’t so readily visible to the rest of the world, but yet is strong and undeniable. Sort of like a well kept secret. It is more special that way, because even though the rest of the world is oblivious, you know it’s there. And it brings a smile to your lips, even in the moments you are on your own.

Not going to belittle Valentine’s traditions that you and your significant other may have, of course. We all ought to do whatever we need to in order to keep our feelings and commitment to each other alive and well.

Just that… This is my view of love. Or rather, the version of love that I have been afforded in this life. But I am thankful for it.

For the love that is expressed through dishes done and meals made when I am too tired to handle it and have passed out in bed. The little snacks brought home just for me. The responsibilities shouldered to bathe, play and put Jamie to bed on most nights. That sloppy kiss and that cheesy smile. Punny jokes and those same old stories, told over and over again.

All those little things and more that make being together special. Even if it’s not Valentine’s today.

Weekender

The weekend! That wonderful breather from the weekly grind.

It’s the weekend! 

Over here, I love the weekends because that’s when Deric will be around all day and we get to do stuff as a family which we can’t do at other times. 

Jamie is also generally happier when everybody is together, just as I am too. 

This weekend, we haven’t done anything too fancy so far, but a lot of what we did was influenced by a desire to create fun and happy experiences for Jamie. 

Actually, that basically sums up a lot of our motivation whenever we find ourselves with a considerably sized block of free time. 

This time around, it was about taking him on a train ride via the LRT line that runs near our place as well as letting him linger at the car workshop while we sent one of our cars for a routine service. 

Along the way, he had other delightful wishes fulfilled too, like yet another ice cream and a chance to use his new kid sized umbrella. 

It’s interesting to note how our focus changes when we’re a family now. 

Back when Deric and I were just dating, weekends were wide open for whatever we fancied doing. We would often go for dates that lasted all day (and night too, sometimes). Eat lots of nice food. Hang out with friends. Practically anything. 

But now, we need to break our weekend activities into segments to make sure we don’t get our chirpy toddler into a nasty grumpy spell. 

And then there’s the consideration of how crowded a place might be and how unsuitable that might be for him. And limiting dining options to venues where there’s something decent on the menu for a young tummy to ingest. 

These and more. 

But the part that makes our hearts sing the most is when his face lights up while experiencing something that we had planned for him. 

There’s hardly ever enough time on the weekends, and usually not much from my To Do list gets done, but these tiny moments we have, these joy inducing ones, they make it all seem worthwhile somehow. 

Making memories with our son is the little bit of magic that we have been afforded and for which we are grateful.

Son

Never knew having a son could be as heartwarming as it is.

“I want to comb hair for Mummy.”

“I want to hug Mummy. Make Mummy happy.”

“Mummy, have a bite.”

“Mummy also come along.”

Never knew a son could be so endearing. Prior to having one of my own, I thought only daughters would think such sweet thoughts. Guess I’ve still a lot to learn.

Third tribute

  
Parenting isn’t a responsibility that’s meant to be taken up alone. After all, 2 people were involved in bringing a baby into existence. 

My experience carrying Jamie to full term and now, raising him day by day, would truly be different if not for the presence, involvement and support of my husband, Deric. 

I’ve heard and read that seeing the way your spouse care for your children will make you fall in love with them all over again in new and surprising ways. 

Well, they were right. 

This past year or so, I’ve been deeply moved by how Deric has welcomed Jamie into our lives, even from the very early days when Jamie was just a Little Dot in my belly. We had this photo album thing that I started to commemorate our entire pregnancy journey with Jamie, and in it, I recall the many endearing notes addressed to Jamie which Deric would add to the collection. 

“Loving you will be the easiest thing to do”, I recall him once writing to Jamie. 

As my pregnancy progressed, there were tons of decisions to be made. Things to be bought. Stuff to be done around the home. All of which me, with my increasingly heavy and huge belly, I could not have accomplished on my own. I didn’t have to, anyway, since Deric was always very involved and actively part of the process every step of the day. 

I remember the days during my confinement period where Deric would literally be doing most of the household chores. This was due to my gynaecologist having restricted me from doing much of anything in the first 6 weeks following Jamie’s delivery, The reason for this was that it would give my body enough time and space to heal from the emergency C section that I had gone through.

I felt rather bad that it was literally a case of me having to tell him to fetch this or that for me, and to instruct him to do everything that needed doing around the home. 

And now, with Jamie here with us and part of the family, I continue to be encouraged each time I see how Deric connects with Jamie every evening after he gets home from work. 

I suppose for others reading this it may all sound too ordinary. Just the regular things that a spouse is supposed to do and should do. 

But to me, all Deric does for our family each day really means a whole lot. Especially the enthusiasm with which he does it. For me. For Jamie. For our family. 

He could, as a husband, get away by doing far less, but he doesn’t choose to do so. 

Today marks the 3 year anniversary of our marriage. It may be a short span compared to the track record laid by those ahead of us, nevertheless I think it is still significant and good reason to rejoice and celebrate. 

Deric and I have made it this far, and that means we can keep it up for the many more years to come. As many as God in His graciousness will afford us. 

In this 3 year period, we have gone through a fair bit of experiences together. 

Excluding the experience of becoming parents to Jamie, we also weathered a difficult season of caring for Deric’s dad all the way in JB. There was a time that we would make the journey from PJ to JB every weekend. It was tiring, but we would go together and it wasn’t so bad. Then, when Deric’s dad finally passed on, we faced the task of planning the funeral and tying up the loose ends by ourselves, without the help of any other relatives. It was tough as well, yet we managed. 

We also painstakingly put our home together over the last 3 years – one piece of furniture at a time. We painted walls, fixed cabinets, stayed up late to plan the layout of a built-in wardrobe and unpacked boxes and boxes of belongings that we had each brought into the home from the days of our singlehood. 

We served together in the worship team in 180. Hosted weekly Bible study sessions for our Circle (read: cell group). 

Talked about our career goals and dreams. Achieved some, tried out some, gave up on some. 

Listened to good music. 

Mused and mulled over current issues taking place in the nation.

Managed finances together, keeping a detailed, daily account of everything we spent on via a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. 

All these and more. And through all of that, I’ve come to realise time and again that I have indeed married the right person. I may not have planned for most of the things that happened to turn out the way they did. I did not even expect to meet someone like Deric at the particular juncture of my life when we did get acquainted. 

But somehow, God knew all along. And He provided. 

Singles spend a whole lot of time pondering over the question of what they should look for in a life partner. 

I can now say, having been married for awhile, that I know the answer: 

Marry the one with whom it is a joy to share life’s experiences with. Whose character is one that you respect and have grown to depend on because you realise you cannot do without them. The one whose arms you know will always welcome you home and whose voice will always cheer you on. 

Whose ambitions and personailty may be vastly different from yours, but who is still able to appreciate and respect you for who you are and what you believe in and dream about. 

Commit yourself in marriage to that one person, whom, although he isn’t perfect, loves you perfectly. 

Happy third anniversary , Deric. I love you. I’m blessed to have you in my life and look forward to making lots more wonderful memories with you in the years to come. 

The countdown to nine

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Source: Red Orbit

I keep losing track of how far along I am in my pregnancy.

Of course, it’s easy to answer this in terms of months. But what I mean is in terms of days or weeks.

Most people (meaning family, friends, colleagues and the general public) tend to ask a pregnant woman how long she’s been carrying in terms of months. But it’s interesting to note that doctors tend to talk in terms of weeks.

Why so, I wonder. Perhaps the urgency feels greater when it is expressed in weeks. And even more so in days, but I think not many of us monitor the countdown to our due dates that closely.

Well, measure it in whatever way you like. The fact remains that my delivery date draws nearer and nearer. In a matter of months (3 or less, to be exact), I will be a mother and Deric, a father. This is still something that continues amazes me.

Currently, one of the things I look forward to every day is feeling Jamie (which is the name we are planning to give our son) poking about as he moves around in my tummy. It is a sign to me that all is well with him.

For people like me that succumbs to occasional bouts of worry, it’s assuring to feel little Jamie inside of me. It’s such a special feeling knowing that he is part of me biologically; so close and dependent on me, more than anyone has ever been in my life.

Even Deric has his own entitlement of privacy and space. But not Jamie at the moment.

My yet-to-be born son goes with me everywhere. He hears everything those around me say to me. He also listens to every word I utter as I live through each day – both the positive and negative. He absorbs the tunes I play in the car as I drive. He draws from the nutrients that I consume in my diet.

It is such a precious thing. I have thought this over in my mind time and time again. In fact, I want to cherish it more than I am doing right now, but am unsure what else can be done in order to adequately savour the moment while it lasts.

It will be great to finally meet Jamie in person once he pops out of my womb and into this world. I look forward to it. But, when that does occur, I will, in many ways, miss the intimate connection we had while he was still inside of me.

The moment he joins us out here marks the beginning of his journey towards his own independence, which inevitably will involve slowly but surely distancing himself from me. (And Deric too, of course).

I am sure I will be happy for him as he arrives at the various crucial milestones of his life. Yet at the same time, I guess I will be hit by a certain tinge of sadness and melancholy at each of these points, knowing what it will eventually mean: That he will detach his life from mine, and go forward on his own to pursue whatever God has in store for him in the future.

Technically, I am not a parent yet, since Jamie is still just a fetus in my womb. But already I am coming to a realisation that parenting is all about the gradual process of letting go.

Of nurturing, no doubt, but doing so in the knowledge that it is so someday the life that now is so dependent on me will graduate into becoming his own person, carving his own space in this vast and often cruel world.

It will definitely be a long, challenging process. But at the very least, if I never make anything else significant out of my life, I hope I will be able to leave behind me on this Earth children who will be able to continue the legacy of faith in an everlasting, dependable God; the defence of godly virtues; and a healthy love and respect for everything and everyone around them.

If I can achieve just that, perhaps when I arrive at my final breath, I will embrace it willingly, knowing that I have done all I was capable of doing in this life.

Oh, and in case you were wondering, I am now 26 weeks into my pregnancy. đŸ™‚