Friday, April 25, 2014

Dear Martin,

Dear Martin,

I hope you're having a good time on your mountain biking holiday in Turkey. I just thought I'd write you this letter to let you know how things are going at home.

The kids and I are basically just sticking to our normal routine. We are doing school runs, swimming lessons, baths, shopping, housework, etc. In addition to that, I have been doing a little bit of DIY, going to book club, and squeezing in some work during school times (my boss, Elaine, has been so wonderfully accommodating).

The bed that you made is fully finished now. I stained it, then waxed the wood. It's a beautiful oak colour. I also managed to finally hang the bed curtains properly. I think you'll be pleased with the effect.

Dylan and Edith have started a new reading competition with school, this one lasting until the half term break. It's only 4 weeks away now. They have both read every single night, as they want the reward. This time, it will be a trip to the "ice-cream parlour" that the school will be setting up. Last night, Edith even read her scripture in the Book of Mormon with no help from me whatsoever. We are really very lucky that they both love to read!

Things have been quiet around the house. I've been very organized in the mornings and we have actually been ready to walk out the door BEFORE the alarm's gone on my phone every day this week. Dylan was a little bit concerned at first that I wouldn't remember to do their pack-ups, but he's confident now that I will make his lunch!

I've been going to bed early--never later than 10:30 all week long--and getting up earlier, too. The house is staying cleaner than it normally does. Things are running more smoothly since you left for Manchester airport on Tuesday morning. No shoes left lying all over the house, no dirty dishes in the sink every morning. No bread crumbs left on the counter, or cupboards being left open. No giant piles of laundry on top of the laundry hamper rather than in it.

I hate it!

I miss having you home to make packed lunches. I miss your noise and your mess and your serious lack of punctuality. I miss you waking me up when you get home from work. I even miss leaving that plate of dinner on the side for you. Every single meal I've cooked this week has had an extra portion left over!

I really missed you on Wednesday, when we would have normally had the day off together. I've come to count on those days with you, when it can just be the two of us, no kids, for a few hours. You help keep me sane and happy and healthy.

So yes, I hope you are having a great time with the lads. But I hope the next four days pass quickly. Because even after all these years, you are still the person I most want to see every day. Going a full week without seeing your best friend is tough!

All my love,


Thursday, April 17, 2014

Daddy Doug's visit...

My relationship with my biological father has always been a strange one.

He and mom divorced before I was even a year old, and she was remarried by the time I was two (and a half!) to a wonderful man who I grew up calling "dad." Mostly because he IS my dad. He has never treated me any differently than his own flesh and blood, and did an excellent job of raising me. Well, I think so anyway.

My relationship with "Daddy Doug" didn't develop until I was 17, for reasons that I completely understand now that I know him well. We met, it was awkward, we developed a relationship that was completely on my terms, and we had contact as often as I initiated it. Slightly dysfunctional, but still nice.

Then, his wife got sick. Rae Dawn developed Alzheimer's disease about the same time I had two children just 19 months apart. All of a sudden, we had a whole lot in common. His lovely wife and my beautiful children became the sole focus of our worlds, and we talked, laughed, and cried together about the way our lives were going. In short, I guess we bonded.

Then, just last year, a miracle occurred. He called me. For the first time ever, he picked up the phone and initiated contact with ME! It only took 17 years!

He's just spent the last two weeks with us here in Barton. I drove him to Manchester airport on Tuesday to fly home. We had lots of fun, going out to eat, visiting some favorite places, and just hanging out. The kids miss him already. I miss him, too. Because even though our relationship is strange, I really do love him.

It's nice to have the house to myself again though. Because one of the things this visit taught me is that I am becoming a bit of a hermit. When Martin first started working at Stables, I nearly went mad. I was stuck inside every single night, with nobody to talk to and no chance of leaving. Now, though I am still stuck in the house every night with nobody to talk to, I really enjoy that. My evenings are my own. Once the kids are in bed, I can literally do whatever I want (as long as I don't leave the property). Four years on, and I am finally used to Martin's working hours.

Daddy Doug is already talking about coming back. I am already looking forward to that. And not JUST because he brought me a whole bunch of Macaroni and Cheese :)

Always a bridesmaid...

My lovely sister-in-law Cathy is getting married on Saturday. She and John have been together nearly seven years. They are so in love and make such a great couple. I'm so pleased for them!

I went to Cathy's "home hen do" on Saturday. She had another one, a boozy trip to Benidorm, that I was going to attend until it conflicted with Edith's birthday. Bit sad about that one, but Martin has promised me a later holiday as he is off to Turkey next week. Ooh, check out our jet-setting lifestyle!

But I digress. Back to the hen do!

It was in a little tapas restaurant in Cleethorpes. I picked up my saintly mother-in-law and drove us both in. There were 22 of Cathy's female friends there, including her future sisters-in-law, and we spent a delightful evening together, just talking and laughing and (most of them) drinking. Then Martin's mum made a little speech, and there was a Mr. and Mrs. game.

The support for Cathy in her marriage to John was almost overwhelming. Everyone there was so pleased for her, and they all know that Cathy and John will be so good for each other. It made me think back to my own wedding and bridal shower.

When I married Martin, pretty much nobody thought it was a good idea. My dad insisted he was only after a green card, and everybody else was just disappointed that I was marrying outside the church. None of them really knew Martin very well, and they hadn't been around me for years so they couldn't see all the ways that he had influenced me for the better. They only knew that I was marrying a non-member foreigner. How could they have supported me in good conscience? They were there, and they were happy for me, but the overwhelming feeling was that none of them were truly glad I was marrying Martin.

Several years down the line, when we were sealed in the temple, it was different. Most of those same people--aunts, cousins, and sisters--came to our sealing and went to the park afterwards for a picnic. They were happy for me then. I was happy for me then. But that initial support would have been lovely.

As I watched Cathy, in that little room completely surrounded by a loving and supportive network of women, I was more than a little bit jealous. It was like she was being cocooned in their approval and respect. It shouldn't have made me sad, but it did.

I have never before regretted anything about my marriage. Now I regret this. That I flew in the face of all of my family members. That I didn't work harder to seek their acceptance for my choice. That I didn't make sure they all knew Martin for how wonderful he truly is. Because it made our wedding seem all about defiance instead of all about love. And marrying Martin really was all about loving him and wanting to spend the rest of my life with him. If only it had felt that way at the time. Then our wedding would have been a joyous celebration, as Cathy's is likely to be, instead of a sad day for most of my family.

Thursday, April 03, 2014

Mothering Sunday...

It was British Mothers' Day on Sunday. Historically, this is a very bad day for me. It involves Martin working all day long, me taking the children to church by myself, and making sure my mother-in-law has a good mothers day since her son isn't available.

This year, we bucked the trend!

The kids each brought me a gift and a card first thing in the morning. We had a great time at church. I took us all out for lunch, and they were well behaved throughout. Then they let me take a quick nap when we got home. We headed over to the in-laws' house in the late afternoon and had a wonderful visit and a light meal. Then it was home and into bed for the kids, and I curled up with a good book for the rest of the evening.

As Dylan and Edith grow up a little bit, having children becomes more and more what I expected from motherhood. And I love it. Weirdly, I am especially looking forward to having teenagers. What fun...

Edith's birthday was also good. She was at school all day, but she opened a few gifts before she went. Then we had a family dinner when she got home. She requested paella (her favourite, apparently) and a strawberry cake. I obliged on the paella, and compromised on the cake with a warm vanilla flavoured butterfly cake, decorated with buttercream frosting, fresh strawberries, and fresh blueberries.

As per usual, Edith was very spoilt by all of her aunties, uncles, and grandparents. She got some lovely clothes, which she loves. She got some fun toys, which she is already playing with. And we got her a new bike, which she is learning to ride with confidence.

My Edith is such a joy to me. I love her to absolute pieces. She is a little ray of sunshine to me. Celebrating her birthday is a real privilege, just as having her for a daughter is.

I'm all aglow with the joy and happiness of motherhood. Kind of sickening, really. And just because I wrote it, tonight is probably going to be a crappy night with the kids. But I do love them both, more than I could ever express. They are a blessing to me, and they were well worth the wait!