Sunday, 21 October 2018

It’s the tea towel anniversary !

It's not going to come as a surprise to anyone that I have two boys. I was raised in a mostly female household and as a result I was baffled by some of the mechanics of bringing up a baby boy. I can braid hair like a boss and co-ordinate outfits with shoes, handbags and jewellery in the time it takes anyone else to send a text message - a normal one, not one of those mammoth ones you send when a phone call would have made more sense.

My two have always had friends who are girls and they have even called some of them their 'girlfriends.' In the parenting manual that I have yet to write the rules are thus: Hubbie deals with the stuff like teaching them sports, helping with maths homework and generally plays to his strengths. I deal with the practical stuff and the emotional side of things.This includes how they relate to other people and especially relationships with people who matter. This began with teaching them to treat their grandparents and other adults with respect. I also instilled them how important it is to be kind and considerate to Daddy - it was of course implied that he would ask them to do the same for me.

Then I talked to them about being kind to others and being part of a community that cares for others outside of our family. That was supported by community activities in their school so it was a bit simpler to get them on side with this. The one that is proving more difficult is the one I think I can do the most with. I've been thinking a lot lately about how men and women relate to each other and the dynamics of relationships. I am not assuming that they will both have relationships with women, far from it. Brown Bear often talks about how men can marry men and even asked if he would marry a boy and I said if he loved a boy and they wanted to marry each other of course he could. I'm like the mother in the movie 'The Family Stone' who wished for all her children to be gay.

More than anything I hope my children will be caring and thoughtful in their relationships with others. That they will be loving and kind. It is what I try and instil in them and help them to cope with the heartache of loving someone who doesn't feel the same way about them. Or to deal with the day to day business of life with or without a partner. It isn't a given that they will be with someone, but if they are I expect them to be respectful and considerate. This applies to all friendships, neighbours, family and - of course to a significant other. We hope that our marriage serves as a positive example to them of how people who are different can make a life together. Despite all the challenges - and let's face it we all have those don't we ?

Hubbie and I both have parents who have sustained long-term relationships. Both couples will be celebrating their golden wedding anniversaries next year - that's right they have been married 50 years. We both had what we jokingly refer to as 'starter marriages.' The one that wasn't quite right, but didn't result in any lifelong ties (which is a blessing let me tell you !) In our marriage we have experienced infertility, miscarriage, bereavement, familial ill health, but also great joy, hilarity, family closeness and love beyond our imaginations. It isn't all wine and roses - well not since he gave up drinking anyway - and we don't always look at each other with lust and longing. What we do have though is a loving partnership that is based on mutual respect and understanding. We both want the best for each other. It is also immense fun. He still makes me laugh until I can't breathe. He knows when I need a hug and when it's best to just steer clear. I know what food he is going to order from a menu and can tell when he is worrying about something.

Yes being married is hard work. Hubbie has been with me through thick and thin - and I don't just mean my waistline ! We co-parent like professionals and share pretty much all the tasks in the home - well not ironing. I don't do ironing. Yesterday he phoned me mid morning when I was at work to ask if I was free for a tea. He paid me a surprise visit at work. I was so happy to see him and we had a little bit of time together without talking about the kids or the cat.

I suspect when our kids look at us they see a walking wallet and a full time snack dispenser. What I hope they also see is a partnership and a couple who enjoy being together. A Dad who cycles to work and has impressive calves and a Mum who swims and runs with the enthusiasm of an Olympian, but not as much skill.

Here's to the first 12 years !

* 12 years is traditionally marked with linen ie. teatowel anniversary 


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