Tag Archives: relationship

Small Days – a storehouse of memories.

When you bring that brand new baby home for the first time, no one tells you that time will fly.  No one tells you that you will blink and they will be 10, that you will sigh and they will be teenagers, that you will wake up one day and they will be adults. Our baby is turning ten soon and I’m learning to treasure every small day because I know that sooner than I would like, he will be grown. Here is my letter to him…

Dear Joel,

One day the Lego boats will disappear from the side of the tub. One day I won’t hear the sound of your small feet running to my arms in the night. One day my face won’t be the one you look for first. One day you will tend your own bumps and wash your own clothes and I will stand to the side, proud of the man you’ve become.

One day I will close my eyes and smile because right there, in my heart, I have stored up all your small days. I will close my eyes and remember when you fit in the crook of my arm so well and I’ll let the smell of newborn you fill my senses. I will close my eyes and laugh about the days you were small enough to stand under the table with your little fists clenched and face purple, wanting your own way. I will close my eyes and wave you off to school again and sigh that even then the days seemed to pass like lightning. I will swell with love for the little boy who came home broken-hearted about the cruelty of others. I will hug that little boy again and feel the jab of that day. I will be proud that you didn’t let the opinion of others define you. I will close my eyes and draw on a thousand memories, a thousand moments of joy, love, laughter, tears, overcoming, and growth. A thousand memories that are mine alone.

And between now and then, I will tell myself to savour every moment (even the ones that make me pull my hair out). I will tell myself to really listen when you tell me your stories, because this is the only time that your voice will sound this way. I will tell myself to laugh at your silliness and love the way that you don’t know how to behave “properly” yet (and pray that you hold on to some of that silliness forever). I will remind myself never to be the first to end your hugs, because one day I will be wishing for just one more small moment with you. I will build memories that are full of you. I will tell myself to linger in these small days because one day, the Lego boats will disappear from the side of the tub.

Message send failure. 

I’ve saved all the text messages my sister and I sent to each other this year.

I thought it would be comforting to be able to look at them when I’m sad and know that we connected when everything else got stripped away. I saved them but now it’s a bit of a double-edged sword because somehow my last message to her went astray. It didn’t send and now when I look at my phone it has her name and next to that is the line “message send failure”. And I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry. I’m not sure whether to be distressed or comforted. You see I know she would agree that in some ways “message send failure” sums up our relationship perfectly. We spent a lot years trying to communicate with each other but neither of us were very good at getting the message across. It was only in the last months of her life that we managed to strip everything else away and speak the same language. The only language that’s left when all else is taken – Love. 

I’m so grateful that we had those moments. Moments where we could look at each other and know that nothing about the past mattered except that we loved each other. Not perfect love, real love. Love that doesn’t need the other person to live up to your standard. Love that sees all the bumps in the road we walked together and all the cracks in each other’s character and says, “that’s okay, you are still beyond precious to me”. So I suppose that in the middle of the pain of saying goodbye to my sister I’m learning about love. I’m learning that love lowers the bar to include us all. I’m learning (in my sister’s words) that “imperfect love is still love”. 

Maybe, most of our lives could be summed up as a message send failure – each of us speaking a different language and neither of us understanding the other- but really, that’s okay. That’s okay, because when I scroll past the failure I can see the heart. I can see her message to me “hey bub, love you” and I know that whether the text got there or not, the message finally did and really there was no failure….. 

  

Love (& Other Fairy Tales)

source:rgbstock scottsnyde

Before I met my husband I had a list (I like lists).  It was my perfect man list and I knew I couldn’t be happy unless my dream man ticked every item on the list.  Then I met Dave and he made me want to throw my list to the wind and write a list of a completely different sort.  We fell in love quickly and utterly so it wasn’t a big shock to find myself married within 12 months.  I was so in love… and so clueless.

I’d swallowed every Hollywood chick flick and fairy tale hook, line and sinker.  I knew what falling in love was all about but my examples of love finished at the kiss.  What was happily ever after supposed to look like?  That’s the thing that Hollywood never tells us isn’t it? They tell us what “in love” looks like but brave love, the everyday love that comes with monotony and routine and sacrifice isn’t interesting enough to hold our attention for two hours. So, we end up in relationships with unrealistic expectations and shattered fairy tales wondering where all this mess came from and whose job it is to clean up.  What we really need is for our chick flicks and fairy tales to teach us what comes after the happily ever after.  Here are some real lessons from our fairy tale romances…

Sleeping Beauty: You have a life to live, don’t live it on pause! Sleeping beauty was so bored waiting around for Prince Charming that she fell asleep and stayed that way for 100 years.  You were born for a reason and whatever that reason is it’s waiting for you! Go climb a mountain, explore the world, dance in the moonlight in Paris or better yet make life better for others.  Don’t stand around doing nothing while you wait for love to find you, live a big life and let love catch you on the run.

Shrek:  If he looks like an ogre, smells like an ogre, and acts like an ogre then he is an ogre. If you weren’t looking for an ogre then you need to run a mile!  Before I got married I received this advice; “This is him on his best day, on his best behaviour. If there is something that you can’t live with when he is at his best, don’t think that it will change when he has won you”.  When we’re falling in love we are on our best behaviour – after we’ve won our partner we feel safe to let it all hang out (not the other way around).  We need to stop looking for the “perfect” person and start looking for a person with character.

Rapunzel:  Grow a thick skin or very long hair.  There are times in every relationship where we want to run to the tower and lock out the world.  Sometimes it’s because of the big stuff (like grief and loss) but a lot of the time it’s the small stuff that makes us want to run.  Here’s the truth; tough times will come.  There will be a time at some point where you sit down and wonder if it’s worth it and then you’ll have a choice.  You can pack a bag, find a tower and lock out the world or you can find your partner, unpack the baggage you’ve both been hauling around and face the tough times together, as a team.  It’s lonely by yourself in the tower, let down your hair.  He is just as scared by conflict and struggle as you are; it’s so much better to face it together.

So what does happily ever after really look like?  It looks like a lot of consistent and hard work.  It looks like long nights and dirty nappies and serious conversations.  It looks like humbling yourself when you want to scream that you are right and he is wrong.  It looks like your hand on his knee as you drive along the beach. It looks like coffee dates snatched from busy days and warm looks that no one else understands but you.  It looks like a lifetime of choosing them over and over again even though you know them better now with all their ogre-like qualities. It looks like a real life fairy tale.