Thursday, 28 June 2012

Letter to My Husband

My dearest love,

You think you know, but you have no idea, how much I love you. 

Do you know that sometimes when I wake up before you do, I quietly prop up on my elbow and just watch you sleep?  I watch your chest heave in and out, listen to the gentle sawing of wood as you breathe, and simply thank God that you're alive; that you're in my life!  I've never told you this, but, for a while after we got married, one of my last prayers for the day was that this was not all a dream.  I had waited so long - a lifetime, really - for you.  And, I am so very glad I did.  Someone tweeted a quote by Billy Graham's wife, Ruth, some time ago: "God did not always answer my prayers.  If He had, I would have married the wrong man - several times!"  Suffice it to say, I could relate. I used to pray then pause then watch then wait - a cycle that continued for years.  And then I just stopped.  I was like, whatever!  Then, one day, out of the blue, He said yes.  He said yes, because you were the right man for me.  Not Mr. Right. Not Mr. Perfect but Mr. Right-For-Me. 

Alas, when it happened, I had not seen it coming!  How could I?  It was at a time when I was not looking. You kinda just... appeared.  My mom had always said that when the time comes, it would be effortless.  I fell, effortlessly, in love with you.  You made it so easy.  Funny how life is.  We'd met before, but, "weirdos and creeps are single because they're weird and creepy; normal people like us are victims of bad timing", goes the line from one of my fav movies.  I'd never really lingered on the idea that I might have met my "The One" before.  Yes, the thought did cross my mind occasionally - but never lingered.  After all, as my reflections showed, the male friends who'd stuck along the way were all "just good friends".

By the time I realized I was falling for you, I wanted to ask, "What took you so long?"  and, "Where have you been all my life?"  But, apparently, both of us had taken the long way; the broken road that led us into each other's arms.  (See what I did there with my country selections? :-))  It had been such a long way that, by then, I had pretty much given up the idea that this thing beautiful was gonna happen for me.   Speaking of Rascal Flatts' Broken Road:

I set out on a narrow way, many years ago
Hoping I would find true love, along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow and kept pushing through
I couldn't see how every sign, pointed straight to you.

Every long-lost dream, led me to where you are
Others who broke my heart, they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way, into your loving arms
This much I know is true,
That God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you.

I think about the years I spent just passing through
I'd like to have the time I lost and give it back to you
But you just smile and take my hand, you've been there you understand
It's all part of a grander plan that is coming true...

Little wonder that I wanted that song for our first dance - before we dove into Buju's Bonafide Love, before we plunged into Nickelback's Gotta Be Somebody!  So glad you obliged - even though I know you don't dig country :-)  But, that was just like you.  You were willing to learn what's important to me and, in no time, began to support me. Gotta admit, it was a tad strange, at first.  So accustomed I had become to doing everything for myself - including trying to rub my own back with Vicks VapoRub (the worst part of being single, by the way) - that it took me a lil while to realize that in my allowing you to help, I was demonstrating my trust.  It takes trust to love.  I felt rather vulnerable offering you my love; my heart, not being quite sure of whether, or how much, you'd care for it.  But, in no time, you showed me that there was no need to fear - not even a little bit.  How wonderful life is, since you entered my world.  There are many songs that are my life, but, you are one of the best songs of my heart.  I sing you every day.

They say you can tell a lot about a person by the way they handle three situations: lost luggage; a rainy day and tangled Christmas tree lights.  Husband, you ace them all.  It's in you to be patient and kind and strong enough to be gentle.  I admire that.  I really admire that.  Oh!  Remember that Easter we spent in Jamaica?  You definitely passed the "cheese test"!  While my sisters and I waited and chuckled, I secretly hoped you would.  You were courting me at the time, and I'd like to think that it wasn't my brother-in-law that gave you the heads up :-)  But, you took it out of the tin - all the way to slicing off a thin piece to make me a bun-and-cheese sandwich.  How cool was that?  If I hadn't known by then, that alone would've told me that you were a keeper.  And, if not by then, you telling me, "I'll do laundry," had to be the clincher!

You are a good man, my love.  And, like the movie line, you make me want to be a kinder...better person; to emulate you in some ways.  Your kindness brings out the best in me; makes me want to do all I can for you- including cook several times a week!  And, look at you, teaching me how to make certain dishes.  Smh...:-)   I admire and respect you and care about you. Remember when we spent six hours and Fifty-four minutes on that first phone call catching up?  We were swapping stories about ex-es and, toward the end, you said stteo: "You don't need to try to impress anybody; you don't have to do anything extraordinary.  You are beautiful.  Just be you - and let him know that you're interested."  I thought, "Hope so, 'cause I can't be anyone else."  I didn't tell you then, but, I misted up a little when you said that.  I kept thinking, "He thinks I'm beau-ti-ful; he thinks I'm fine just as I am."  To be honest, it hadn't dawned on me then that you had...intentions.  After all, it was just a first convo; you were a good friend saying kind words.  But, we were inseparable after that.  You showed me you loved me and I showed you just how interested I was.  That big chune by Nickelback so rings true:

You can't give up, (when you're looking for)
A diamond in the rough, (because you never know) 
When it shows up, (make sure  you're holding on)
'Cause it could be the one
The one you're waiting on...

I'd always heard about couples who clicked; who just always seemed to be on the same wavelength; who got each other.   You get me.  Oh my goodness.  You have no idea how much that means to me.  Finally, not having to explain the me-niqueness of who I am. And, how precious that you've come to know that I would not hurt you; would not spite you; that, as Proverbs says, your heart can "safely trust in me" so you "shall have no need of spoil";  that I will "do you good and not evil all the days of my life."  And, in your patient way, you helped me to learn you, too.  True, occasionally, "teeth and tongue must meet" as the Jamaican saying goes.  We will, at times, drive each other up the wall.  We've had our spats - our first fight scared me, to be honest - but, we know that those moments don't mean we no longer like each other or are no longer in love with each other.  There's a country song that says stteo:  I love you, I'm just mad at you right now.  Yeah, it's kinda like that.  But, oh, the making-up.  Buju has a line in one of his songs: "But the making up part/Dat is the greatest/Discuss matters over a cup a tea/And kiss and caress."  I enjoy making-up.

I enjoy when we make love.  As in, enjoy.  We honour the divinity in each other when we do.   I had long ago promised myself that when God blesses me with a husband, I would make love to him in a way of wild abandon and worship.  God should look down from Heaven, elbow Jesus in His side, point with His chin and say, "That's my girl!"  You now know that I'm ladylike only in ...every other way. #thatisall.  Oh, by the way, when you kiss me, nothing else in the world matters - at all.

Honey, I wrote the kids. I've written to them telling them that we will both be welcoming them into our love.  I know you're looking forward to taking this next step into fatherhood.  I can tell by your grins; by the way you intercept me on my way to the kitchen, lift my blouse up a little and rest your ear against my tummy.  I can tell by the way you pull over sometimes when we're driving out, put the flashers on, then simply lean over and rest your ear against my tummy.  I don't know what they're telling you - how do you decipher the cacophony? - but, you always come back to me with that look of admiration mixed with anticipation.  In true Nemo's mom's voice, "We're gonna be parents!"  Let's not panic, okay? We'll do our best.  Like I told the children, with the help of God, our extended families and the village, we should be okay.

I love that you love the Lord and that you pray for me.  That gets its own paragraph.

I am proud of you, my love.  You work hard and you achieve your goals.  Yet, in wisdom - and sometimes, plain common sense - you know when to fold 'em and walk away.  The children will find in you a very good role model.  I am happy to support you in your endeavours.  (Well, except for the whole wanting-to-try-mountain-skiing thing.  Yeeeeeaah.  No.  But, I converted you to Monk.  So, sure, I'll think about it.)

My dear hubbidiboo (tell me you aren't knitting your brows at that!  LOL!) Anyway, my love, I was just gonna say I understand that life happens.  That sometimes, as Mary Schmich's essay (popularly known as Wear Sunscreen) says, there is the kind of thing that "blindsides you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday."  I pray that the adversities that may come our way will help make us stronger; love each other thicker and live life fuller.  I pray that, amidst the best, the worst and everything in between, we will have each other and each other's touch; that we will grow old together.  And, that, if we don't depart this weary sod together, the one left here will be blessed with long, fond and comforting memories of the beautiful times we shared.

My dearest love, you think you know, but you have no idea, how much I love you.


Monday, 18 June 2012

Letter to My Sons

My dear sons,

I'm writing this letter the day after Father's Day 2012.  It was the last Father's Day before your arrival.  By this time next year, your dad will be beaming, no doubt!  He has been talking a lot about you guys.  Sure, he's excited about his girls, too.  But, I can tell there's that much more to his anticipation when it comes to you.  Something about teaching you sport and spending quality time.  Ahhh.  Who would've thunk it?  With you four on the way, we'll move from two to six.  Supermix! (As Barry G, Jamaican radio DJ, used to say.)  Well, ummm...we're not a hundred percent sure that we'll have two boys and two girls.  But, I've prayed for that combination for so long, when we saw four, I just knew that my prayers had been answered.  Why two and two?  Well, I started off in my early twenties thinking about a pair - boy and girl.  Then, later on, I was like, it'd be great if the boy had a brother and the girl had a sister.  That was it, really.   No deep thinking.  That'd mean twice the amount of spending but, good thing your father and I are doing well, financially.  We both agreed that it was time for children.  I told him about my long-held desire and that I'd "placed my order".  Well, when the results showed not one, but four, he was far more surprised than I was.  Still, it didn't take us long to adjust.  When you get older, you'll learn I'm a successful writer - I'm working even when I'm "just looking out the window".  Honest.  Your dad?  I could tell you but...not now ;-)    I've gone on quite a bit, haven't I?  I don't even know whether you'd be interested in this stuff.   But, just in case you ever wonder.

Sons, as I wrote to the girls, one of the first things that you should know, that you will come to know, is that I love you.  I have been looking forward to this.  But, may I be honest?  I am terrified!!!!!  Sweethearts, I know nothing, nada, zap, zilch about raising a son - much more two!  Your mommy is a girl.  I grew up with sisters.  So, I kinda have the girl thing - nuances and what not -  down pat.  But, I gotta admit, your mommy is a little scared  - a lot excited and happy, but a little scared.  What do I do with you?  I mean, apart from breast-feeding you and bonding with you, holding you close and smelling your hair, and hushing you when you cry, and singing to you, and bathing you, and changing your diapers - I imagine it will sometimes be in that order - and teaching you how to read and write, and playing in the park with you and protecting you when you're with us and more so when we're out with other people...I...I don't know what to do!  And, it's freakin' me out.  Oh.  Language.  Bad Mommy.  See what I mean!  Oh my goodness!  It's started already.  No, seriously, your mother does not use foul language.  But, words like that are okay for adults... It's complicated.  Okay.  Okay.  I won't panic. 

I mean, I grew up with my father, and he was a boy.  And, I had a few male friends and I have brothers-in-law. And, I have your dad - my sweet hubbidiboo!  (Don't ask, sons.  Really.  I just made that one up and he's sure to give me one of those "Ummm...are you okaaay?" looks when I use it on him.)   But, as I was saying, I've interacted with enough males to have an idea of what to expect and how I should help to raise you.  But, my father and BIL and husband are not sons.  You are sons.   My sons.   And, I want to do right by you.  I really want to help raise you well.  Help.  There's a good word.  I am ever so thankful that your father is right here by my side and will be here as we work together on raising you.  No, we won't split it evenly down the middle in a I'll-take-the-girls-he'll-take-you-guys kind of way.   All of you need each of us and each of you need both of us.  But, well, he will more naturally know how to deal with certain things that concern you because Daddy is a boy. Got it?  Sigh.  Quite frankly, sons, I don't know how some single parents do it.  I shudder at the thought.  This is serious stuff.  I didn't quite get that before but, now that the time draweth nigh, I'm (kinda freakin' out) realizing that this is not a walk in the park on a lovely warm spring day.  This...the older I get, the more I realize I don't know squat.  And, there's a lot of squat to know.  So, anyway, I'm just really happy that he will be here for you - and for me being here for you.  That which I may not be good at covering?  He got this.  And, what he hasn't "got", we'll try to swallow our pride and ask for help.  God's got our backs.  Between Him and the village, we should be okay. 

Sons, about love.  As with the girls, I'm stuck at this part, too.  For, I can tell you so much about love, and being in love, but, you're still gonna have to experience it for yourselves; you're still gonna have to go through the joy and the pain and the bitter-sweetness of fighting and making up and learning and getting stronger and wiser.  Know this, sons:  men's hearts get crushed, too.  And, sometimes, they cry.  I'm not saying this to coddle you.  I'm giving you this heads-up because it is a fact.  Women can and will make your heart hurt.  Bad.  You would never believe that such pain can come from, or be caused by, someone so fair and pretty.  But, it can.  And, unfortunately, it will.  Hopefully, though, those times will be very few.  Try not to lash out in anger, nor be vindictive in your reaction.  That'd make you ugly.   Hindsight is 20/20 but be patient.  Even time takes time.  Don't be afraid to talk to your dad or me about stuff that's bothering you.  We'll be parents first.  If we do this well, in time, we will come to develop a great friendship with you!  When you work, work hard.  When you play, don't work at all.  Treat people the way you would want to be treated.  You will not always get the respect you deserve, but, be the bigger person in those situations.  Love and take care of each other - and your sisters. Be a man of your word, like your dad.  It means everything.  When you love, love thickly.  And, when each of you find your "The One", honour her as someone deserving of the number one position in your life.  Yes, even above me. 

The men in your lives are strong and loving and caring.  They have a few quirks, but, we love them anyway :-)  And, speaking of quirks - and, while we're at it, faults - imagine the day when you find out your mom isn't perfect!  I don't always get it right, sons, but, I always get it done.  Do life!  You will make mistakes.  I won't kill you.  Promise.  But, you must learn from them.  Do not stay down after falling and do not go to bed angry.  "Trust in God but lock your car", as the saying goes.  Trust in God.  Period.  We will try our best to grow you in the fear and admonition of the Lord.  As you grow, your eyes will be more and more on your dad.  He is already aware that you will be watching him; watching how he treats others; how he responds to certain trying situations; how he shows his love to me and to you and your sisters; how he moves in his relationship with God.  Yes, he is already aware and yet, the guy is crazy with anticipation!  No fear there!  Not even a little bit.  Gotta love it.

I love you.


Friday, 8 June 2012

Letter to My Daughters

My dearest daughters,

It is on a beautiful and warm Friday afternoon that I set out to write to you.  Spring is nearing a close; summer is almost upon us.  However, the very thought of your entrance to this world has long ago warmed the cockles of my heart - beating summer by a mile.  You have not yet been born, and, by the time you are both old enough to read this, you still would not have come to understand much of it.  Promise me that you will return to this letter, every so often, whether I am still with you on this weary sod.

I love you.  The first thing you will need to know about me; the simplest truth to understand.  These are among the first words that I will teach you. I love you.  Please know that there is nothing that I will not want to do for you, as long as it is in your best interest.  How do I know this?  First, the way I've envisioned showing you my love; wanting to make you feel the joy of being cared for.  I can do this.  And, I will.  Second,  I've learned from your grandfather and grandmother - my parents.   Know the saying, "Daddy loves his girls"?  I think it was coined off him.  And, it is said that parenting doesn't come with a manual, but I think my mother got the only copy.  Looking back, it seems as if she was born knowing how to be a great mother.  Me?  Not so much. I've had to pick up a few pointers here and there as I prepared for your arrival.  I once heard a friend of mine who had just had a baby describe her feeling toward her new-born as "the love that knows no end."  I could only smile as I pretended to know what she was talking about.  But, I believe I'm closer now.  I feel the time will be soon when you both enter my world - and I yours.

When you get here, as I'd hinted before, you mightn't take a manual with you.  That's okay.  Just know that I will do the very best that I can to take care of you; to honour God in the role of Mother that He will entrust me to play.  As much as I will try, I won't always get it right.  There will be blood.  Hopefully, no more than a few drops of it from bruises and scrapes.  If more, I pray that it will require no more than a bandage or two. If any of that is caused by my neglecting you for two seconds as I, say, step away to let the dog out - yes, we will have a dog.  Promise. - then, even from now, I'm sorry.

We will play - a lot.  Your father and brothers will join in, too!  Let's team up! I want you to enjoy your childhood and adolescent years and young adult years...I want you to enjoy every stage of your life - for all of your life.  There may be times when you will have to remind yourself to enjoy yourself.  Learn to love, laugh and really live, and those times will be few.

I imagine that we will have spats.  You will think I could not possibly understand the challenges of growing up and I will try to convince you that I do.  Be assured that I do.  True, the challenges and pressures that you will face will, in some way, be different than those that I did.  At the core, however, it is a struggle to do what is right; to be yourself and to please God.  You will be asked to define "right"; be tempted to do what others are doing; be challenged on who sets the moral standard.  Who knows what the world will look like by the time you can understand this part?  It continues to change before my very eyes, trying to dictate what is true and normal and healthy.  Know that you will not have to face those pressures alone.  Even now, before you get here, some might say I plan to open your skulls and pour me in.  That's okay.  I know you will be your own persons.  In addition, I am ...I will be your mother, and it will be my duty to raise you in the way of the Lord.  The course you take thereafter will be yours to choose.  My faith in God is important to me.  I pray that, in time, you will come to develop a personal relationship with Him, too.  That would be the legacy of all legacies that I could leave for you both - an exemplary life of love, lived for Him.

Girls?  About love.  The thing about love now...  Know that love is life itself; life is not worth living without it.  In its many forms, it helps to get us through this one-way journey.  I don't want to wax poetic or philosophical.  I just want you to know that, as simply as you will be able to understand that I love you, it will be as difficult to understand love.  I will not be able to love you in all the ways that you should be loved.  But, I will love you as much as I can.  There are other people you haven't met yet who will love you and care for you in different ways.  You will come to know the difference in those ways.  You will come to know the heart that lacks sincerity in its profession of care and the heart that genuinely cares about you.  Then there's the matter of being in love.  Hardly any other feeling of  joy and delight comes close to that which you experience when you are in love with someone.  Being in love brings out the best in you.  It doesn't matter who you are.  It doesn't matter at what age you are, whenever it happens, you feel like you're sixteen.  Love does that.  This love for that special someone spurs you to give of yourself and, while you give, makes you feel that it is okay to trust enough to receive his in return.  Allow yourself to be loved.  And, love thickly.  For, as Toni Morrison's Beloved asks, "What good is thin love?"

Sweethearts, I don't know how it will be for both of you.  Maybe you will fall in love later than you would have imagined.  Perhaps you will meet "The One" several times.  Maybe you will meet him in your late teens or your early-twenties or mid-thirties.  Whenever and however you do, I pray that you would not have felt the pain of more than one heart-ache prior to that.  A heart aching from unrequited love - especially a first love - is like torture.  They tell you that you have to go on living and that you will feel better in time, when all you know is that the one you loved reached into your bosom, ripped your heart out with his bare hands and smashed it into a thousand pieces.  So, you might feel there's nothing left with which to love another.  Not true.  Not true.  Hearts are not made of glass, my darlings.  Hearts are made of love.  And love grows back as long as there is life.  So does hope.   When they hurt you, some lovers might make you sad; some might make you angry; with others, you might just feel annoyed that they wasted your time.  That tends to happen as you get older.  Know what's funny?  The one that disappears, vanishing into thin air, taking away his friendship without discussing it with you.  Yes, that right there is a riot!  However, no matter what, never hold on to ugly.  Let such experiences make you better, not bitter.  Think that it were better to have happened then than later - before joining in the covenant of marriage.

I am happy to let you know that you will be born into our little circle of love.  Your father and I love each other and, though it does take work, we enjoy being married to each other.  Before we met, we each had pretty much given up on finding, not the perfect one, but, the right one.  When we met, he initially wondered whether I felt I could do better.  I was quick to reassure him that I wasn't concerned about doing better; I was concerned about doing right.  And he was right - for me.  When he came along I was oh so set in my ways.  But, he loved me into charting a new course together.  I felt like sixteen again!  It might have been old fashioned but, I held out for love and married for love.  And, it's been worth it!  I am happier with him than I was on my own.  Otherwise, what would've been the point, right?  I was told before - and learned quickly - that love alone is not enough.  But, love and friendship make a great start, which, when built on Christ the sure foundation, makes our bond gentler, happier and stronger.

"It takes a village to raise a child," says the old proverb.  When you get here, look around!  Once you get past the "paparazzi" Aunties, older cousins and grands, you'll find them a warm, loving and welcoming extended family.

Family.  We're going to be a family!  There's a saying, (you'll come to learn I love quotes :-)) "Babies are a great way to start people!"  I think you'll both be the start of beautiful people.  I can hardly wait to meet you.  And, remember, I love you.