Friendship

So the other day I was having my usual morning chat while driving to work to one of my best friends.  My mom.  I was catching her up on what had happened in Chez Young over the weekend and we somehow got chatting about friends and friendship.  My mother is truly one of my best friends in the whole wide world.  I tell her everything and know that she will give me good, honest, ethical advise when needed, will whip my butt into shape when needed and will sometimes just listen and let me cry when needed.  My sister is another best friend.  One that drives me up the wall at times but a best friend.

But…

I have always been the type of girl who has that one special girlfriend.  A friend who doesn’t HAVE to be your friend (like a mother and a sister have to be) I have always had a substantial circle of friends but have always had that one “extra special” friend.  You know the one I’m talking about right? The one who you can climb into bed with and talk non stop about life, boys, crap, laugh together, share jokes with and the like.  As I  morphed into being and adult then finding my partner in life, there has always been my close friend, my BFF if you will in my life.  As Cliff and I got together, we joined not just our lives but our friends as well.  So his mates became my mates and vice versa.  We had single friends (me with that one special one mixed in there) and our couple friends. As we started battling with infertility we found that we were being left behind by our couple friends.  They all had kids, we did not.  We didn’t get their lifestyles and they started leaving us out of things to spare our feelings. We started drawing away cos we were hurting and not nice to be around.  I lost many of my single friends too as my life was about obsessing about falling pregnant and theirs was about trying to find a husband and partying the nights away.

As life changed we made and found new couple friends through the fertility clinic. (To be fair Cliff made friends with the men cos I was friends with the women from the clinic)   Many of us have (thank God) crossed over into being parents of our own kids.  Life happened and it morphed again and somehow in all that has happened I find myself in a place where I have many good friends, one or two really close friends but no one I can say is that person that I can climb into that bed with.  If you watch Greys think Meredith and Christina.  I feel like Meredith who has lost her Christina.

I have a friend of 20+ years who I miss like crazy, I guess she will probably always be my soul friend… She and her family live in Dubai and when they visit SA it’s like no time at all has passed.  She is my one special friend that I don’t think I will ever lose but it’s not the same as having that friend close by.  The one who you go away for weekends with and put up with her dodgy husband cos you love her so much… Am I even making sense?

I miss having that person.  That friend who I know I can call at 03h30 in the morning when the shit is hitting the fan and who will come get me in her jaarmies… That person that I can bitch about my much longed for  family to.  The one who will be honest with me no matter what.  The one who will tell me when they disagree with my decisions, what I’ve said or whatever.

It is weird for me, because I like being that person to someone else as well.  And right now I’m not.  But maybe I will be again someday.

I hope so.

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Another awesome first…

This weekend was another jam packed one, so much so that I didn’t have any time to put on my running shoes to hit the road with my last “long” run before attempting the Soweto half this coming weekend.

What it was jam packed with though was some pretty awesome moments spent with family and friends.  For many years I wondered if I would get to experience the many awesome firsts that parents got to experience.  Last year I was super excited to hear that Kade’s school was hosting a school concert.  Only to be crushed super disappointed to hear that the class Kade as in did not take part in the school concerts (which I know actually believe to be the right tack)  But I digress… so bright and early on Saturday morning we all woke up and undertook the massive task of getting all of us ready, fed (we only managed to feed the kids) and to the school by 08h15 sharp (geesh anyone ever try get a toddler with too long hair which needed to be gelled up, a 9 month old baby who is due a morning nap at the VERY time you have to be at the school and two adults to an event that early before?)

We dropped Kade in his class to get dressed for the show and went to find our seats.  It was SO surreal to think that here we were attending our son’s first school concert with a baby in tow!  Me, the infertile, waiting with anticipation to watch MY child in his first show.  I was nervous for my child as we had not been hearing much practicing of songs at home and he needs time to settle himself and will do things when he is good and ready for it.  I had thought that he would be one of the kids who cried or got stage fright when faced with the prospect of having all these people looking at him.

My son totally surprised me!

He was SO confident.

Kade concert 3

He was SO charming.

Kade concert 2

He sang SO loud and was SO proud of himself.

Kade concert 4

I tell you I nearly came undone when he had been put into place on the stage and he scanned the faces watching him and finding mine, waved gleefully at me!  I will never under estimate this child of mine again.  My heart swelled with SO much pride and my eyes filled with tears at the simple joy of watching these gorgeous three year old children perform their hearts out for us.

Kade concert 1

What an amazing new “first” to have experienced with my little guy!

Words that we use…

I’ve been thinking a lot about the words that I want to use around my children.  Words that will help build them, not tear them down.  Words that will build the essence of who they become as they grow in my home.

I was chatting to my niece the other day on the way home from church.  She is slightly overweight and she was asking me how I had lost my baby weight and was asking me about running again, and what struck me most was the way she spoke about herself.  How self degrading she was about her body and how it made her feel.  How intolerant she was of the place she was in.  Words like FAT, DISGUSTING and ASHAMED were used.  She is thirteen.  She’s at such a tender place in her life.  The unfortunate fact is that she has inherited my mom, my sister and my “having to watch your weight” gene…

I grew up with a mom who was always dieting.  My mom has always battled with her weight.  As such I grew up being very aware of being on diet, taking pills to lose weight and constantly wanting to be thinner.  My mom has always been the one to point out if I’ve gained any weight and has always been the one to tell me when I’m getting fat.  (She is also the first to tell me when I am looking good!)  As a family of all girls we are very weight conscious.  This way of life has bled into my nieces fabric of how she looks and thinks about herself.  She is not a naturally slender child – she never has been.  She is going to have to watch her weight and work hard to have a healthy body.

Our conversation shook me.  For too many years I ate (and gained weight) and drank myself happy.  I hid behind my weight.  I too used words like FAT, DISGUSTING and ASHAMED to describe myself.  My whole life I’ve been trained to be focused on my weight and the worth I lose by being chubby.  It is not a nice place to be in.

When I decided to take control of my body and lose the weight I had piled on, I decided to be nicer to myself.  To use words like DETERMINED, HEALTHY and SLENDER.  I decided to change my lifestyle – not just while I was “on diet” and losing the excess weight but for GOOD.  So that I could teach my children the way to being happy with oneself by leading by example.

I try use words that build.  Overweight instead of fat.  Slender instead of skinny. I don’t always get it right.  Sometimes I have to catch myself and correct myself to use the “right” kinds of words… but little by little I am winning.

Healthy.

Happy.

Beautiful.

Strong.

Active.

Those are the words I wish to give my children.

Mean girl?

I am a very straight forward kind of person.

I call a spade a spade and whilst I appreciate this trait in the people I surround myself with, it seems that this is not the case with everyone.

I was chatting to a work friend today who out of the blue said she heard the two tea ladies talking about me in the kitchen today.  The one was trying to describe me to the other one and said something along the lines of “you know the girl who’s mean/nasty to everyone”.  So my friend asked who they were referring to and they described me.  She then asked them why they said I was mean/nasty to everyone and they said that I am too straight forward.

They referred to an incident (one I cannot for the life of me remember) where two other work colleagues were sharing a really small muffin for breakfast where I apparently offended them by commenting on the fact that the muffin was too small to be shared. I mean, what?  This makes me mean/nasty?

I butt heads a lot with one of our regional managers in our field marketing arm and do not tolerate being sold stupid excuses as to why my sales aren’t there.   This apparently makes me mean/nasty.

I have been trying in recent months to soften my delivery, as this friend told me once that I sometimes can be too honest and that people may take this the wrong way.  I wish it didn’t irk me that I am considered the mean girl of the office, but it does.  I like to think that I am a likeable person, one that is funny but also someone who can be trusted to tell it like it is.

I guess I need to work more on that delivery… or shut the heck up!