Eight years …

On the morning of the 27th of February 2004, I woke up in someone else’s bed.  It was early, the sun was barely up, and I had time to reflect on the day that lay before me. In those quiet moments, with nothing but the sound of birds going about their morning routines, I wondered if my life was going to be different somehow, if I was going to be different somehow.  As the light crept in under the curtains, and filled the room with beautiful summer light, I felt peaceful and happy that my life was never going to be the same again. In a good way.

I started to day dream about the day Gary proposed, and how intoxicating it all had been. We went to Walkerson’s for the weekend, for a wintry get-away. It is certainly one of the most beautiful settings, and the rooms have gorgeous open fire-places that pair beautifully with a bottle of red.

We arrived there early on Saturday morning, and went for a walk up the hills in the cool winter air. On our way down, we came upon the small chapel on the property (which is famous for intimate weddings, although it is tiny and probably seats 20, if that!). So Gary suggested that we have a look inside, seeing as the doors were open.

We went in, marvelling at how cute and quaint it was, when we noticed a scroll on the alter, next to a small brass box. Gary picked it up, and removed the ribbon which was wrapped around it, unrolled the paper and began to read. (I remember telling him to put it back, as it was obviously there for a reason.)

 About a verse into the poem on the page, I saw Gary’s eyes had filled with tears, and I realised that he was proposing. And in the small brass box, was the most beautiful diamond ring I had ever set my eyes on.

Of course, I said “YES”! (the framed poem now hangs on our bedroom wall)

When we got back to the room, the hotel staff had prepared a beautiful spread of food and champagne for us to celebrate our engagement. (and later on, when we went up to the restaurant for dinner, everyone wanted to see the ring, and hear if I had said yes!)

It certainly was a magical weekend away, and a magical time in my life.

A sharp knock on the door pulled me back to reality from my day-dreaming state. Tanya (my best friend and bridesmaid) came in with a cup of tea. She was so excited for me, it was my wedding day!

We have been married for eight years today, and I couldn’t be happier, and I am so grateful and happy to have my husband, soul-mate, lover and friend, Gary, in my life.

Siblings

“To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time” – Clara Ortega

When Caris was born, I was relieved and happy that my little Alex would have a younger sister. Someone to play with, teach him to share(!) and show compassion and kindness. Someone to be there for him when we are gone, and someone to have a close bond with like only siblings share. As much as he has older brothers, the age gap means they won’t have the same age-appropriate bond of siblings who are born closer together. The bond that Alex has with his older brothers is great … but it is very different. I have an older brother, so I had wonderful memories, (of growing up together, experiencing life, being naughty together and sticking together in times of trouble) come flooding back to me the moment I saw my boy meet his new sister.

In April 1970, Kevin was born, a seven pound bouncing baby boy, to proud parents Marcelle and Dennis, destined to become, what I would later believe, the coolest big brother ever. Three years and five months later in September of 1973, I made my entrance. We were always close, and sharing a room for most of our childhood meant we spent most nights chatting away and laughing till Dad came in to tell us to go to sleep. We were always good friends, and were and still are there for each other when times are tough. Sadly, my brother lives in Cape Town now, so I do not get to see as much of him as I would like, but such is life.

When I look at Alex and Caris together, the resemblance between them, and my brother and I, is uncanny. Obviously the genes in my side of the family run strong.

I hope that they will be friends their whole lives, and that they will be there for each other through thick and thin.

First photo of Kevin and I (Oct 1973)

Kevin holding me (9 Days Old)

First Photo of Alex and Caris (May 2011)

Alex and Caris - 2 weeks old

Kevin almost 4 years, me 3 months

Denita and Kevin Dec 1973

Alex and Caris (5 weeks)

Alex and Caris June 2011

Alex and Caris (5 weeks)

Alex and Caris (3 months)

Alex and Caris (3 months)

Alex and Caris (5 months)

Alex and Caris (5months)

Alex and Caris (6 months)

Alex and Caris (6 months)

Alex and Caris (7 months)

Alex and Caris (7 months)

Denita and Kevin (March 1974)

March 1974 (K almost 4, D 6 months)

Denita and Kevin and Cousin, Doreen (Jan 1977)

Kevin Almost 7, Denita 3

Love; then and now

“from the very first moment I saw you
that’s when I knew
all the dreams I held in my heart
had suddenly come true
knock me over stone cold sober
not a thing I could say or do
‘cos baby when I’m walking with you now
my eyes are so wide
like you reached right into my head
and turned on the light inside
turning on the light
inside my mind hey”

David Gray (Be Mine)

 David Gray’s album “White Ladder” will always be filled with nostalgia for me. It takes me back to carefree days when Gary and I started seeing each other, falling in love and planning a future together. Our first non-official date was disguised as a business lunch. I had admittedly been flirting with him via email, and invited him to lunch one day when he had just returned from a holiday trip to the states with his sons. Something along the lines of (in reply to a real work email) “Hey Gary, you’re back, we missed you. We should do lunch to catch up.” (I worked for a reseller of the software company he worked for)

 So we did lunch. And at the time, I think neither of us had considered the possibility of anything happening between us. It was a business lunch, right? As it turned out, it was the start of our lives together, as we have been inseparable ever since. We shared oysters, a bottle of wine, and more importantly we shared our souls. I returned to the office, a little smiley from the wine, and a lot smiley from the conversations, laughter and, dare I say, that love drunk feeling when you just click with someone. (I remember my boss giving me a very suspicious look when I came waltzing back into the office after 3.)

By the time I got home from work, I kept telling myself that this was not meant to be. Our age gap was too big, he was just flirting with me, and that realistically he wouldn’t want to pursue anything with a “kid”, and that it was a nice lunch, but that would be all. I sent him an SMS saying thanks for the lunch, and hoped we could do it again sometime. He came back with yes, absolutely we should.

I had 2 friends over for dinner that night, and could not hide my elation. I mentioned that I had been for lunch with someone, but wouldn’t tell them who, as I wasn’t sure it was going anywhere (they were work friends, so they would have known who it was). I honestly could not get him out of my mind, and my friends kept telling me how absolutely smitten I seemed. We drank some more wine, talked a lot of shit as girl-friends do, and by the time I went to bed, my mind was filled with only Gary.

So we spent the next few days flirting via email and SMS, and acting like nothing was happening when he came in for meetings at my office. And we agreed to go out for dinner the following Saturday. I even agreed to let him fetch me from my house.

On the Friday night, I ended up having a bit of an impromptu party at my house, some good friends, music, dinner, alcohol … and got to bed after 5AM, not exactly what I had planned the night before my first real date with Gary! I was up early as I had a hair appointment booked … cleaned my house, did my usual Saturday chores, and had an afternoon nap. So by the time Gary picked me up for our dinner, I was at least somewhat refreshed.

We had dinner at an awesome Vietnamese restaurant, although I don’t think either of us ate much. We talked as if we had known each other all our lives, as if our age gap was non-existent. After dinner, I hooked my arm in his as we walked back to the car. We had crossed over from being business associates to friends. We then went to the blues room, in the hopes of catching some good live music. We talked, laughed, and shared our first kiss under the smokey club lights. We got home in the early hours of the morning, and he asked me if I wanted to go out for breakfast with some friends of his. So after catching about an hour of sleep (No, really, we just slept!) we got ready to go for breakfast. No-one even realised that we were still technically on our first date! We then went to his house for lunch, as he was expecting some friends for a braai. I went home close to midnight. We were officially together.

So, to get back to the David Gray album, it was Gary’s turn to do something for Valentine’s this year. He made me a great dinner of Oysters to start, Teriyaki Tuna and Salad for mains, and Papaya and Greek yoghurt for pudding. We sat outside, listening to music and talking, and one of the albums in the CD changer was “White Ladder”. The first time we went away for the weekend together, we went to a place called “Old Joe’s Kaya”, and one of the albums we had with us was this one. That weekend away was probably the most magical, special time that we have ever spent together, an almost surreal time, getting to know each other, and realising that we were going to be with each other always. We hadn’t listened to it in ages, and it brought back beautiful memories for both of us, and reminded us of that love-drunk feeling, and how our lives crossed paths because we were destined for each other.

Just over ten years have passed since that first lunch date, and I am still in love with Gary like I was then. So much has happened in ten years: moving in together, getting married, both of us changing jobs, having kids, etc, but I still remember that first lunch so clearly. That feeling of excitement, the fear of letting my guard down and getting hurt, but falling in love deeper than I had ever been in my life.

I am so glad I went to lunch that day!

Please stop the whining. Pretty please!

Alex is driving me mad. With incessant whining. About everything. From not wanting to watch TV, to wanting to watch TV, to not wanting to wear his black shoes, to wanting milk/water/juice, to not wanting to eat dinner/bath/get dressed. This morning, he wailed and screamed because his white shoes had been washed and were still wet. So I put on his black shoes, which he had worn yesterday with no problem. He promptly removed them, threw them on the floor and ran away screaming “I don’t like my black shoes”. WTF? ARGGH! I have tried the calm “what is the matter, what do you want my boy, please speak in your nice voice” approach, as well as the (embarrassed to admit) shouting at him in frustration approach. Neither works. And the whining continues to drone through my head like a jack-hammer. Come to think of it, a jack-hammer would probably be more pleasant. Whilst I appreciate that this is just another phase, my already spread thin patience is running out.

And to think that I thought he had missed the “terrible two’s” (and three’s) altogether. When all of my friend’s toddlers were behaving like Rosemary’s baby, Alex was happy as Larry. No bullshit, no non-compliance, no whining. That was until two and a half (by which point I was 7 months pregnant with Caris, and not as patient as I maybe could have been.) My once happy boy was suddenly moody, sulky, whiny, and prone to throwing himself on his knees in a pitiful wail, at the mere mention of perhaps having to do something he didn’t want to. It peaked when Caris was a few weeks old, when he treated me to a full-blown throw-yourself-on-the floor-in-a-screaming-rage tantrum in the middle of pick ‘n pay. All because I offered to buy him a toy car, but he couldn’t decide which one to choose. So there I was, tiny baby asleep in pram, psychotic almost-3-year old writhing on the floor, with horrified shoppers glaring at me, and the odd sympathetic smile from a mom who’s been-there-done-that!

The on-the-floor tantrums were fairly short-lived thank God, but have been replaced by (really annoying) whining. I am sure that if anyone took the average 2 or 3 year old for a psychiatric assessment, the diagnosis would be chronic Schizophrenia. One minute they are full of the joys of spring, the next, demon-possessed. The last few days have tipped the scale towards the dark side. His saving grace, is that in between whining, he is funny, cute, loving and charming.

It is said that animal babies in the wild are cute so that their mothers don’t eat them… maybe that is true of humans too!