Sunday, September 26, 2010

Enjoy This Moment

Sunday, September 26, 2010
I usually get moments of bursts of spiritual growth. When it happens I tend to be highly aware that I need to constantly pay attention and need to constantly seek God every moment. I'm not sure why this happens to me but it does. I've been experiencing this burst these last few weeks/months.

This particular spurt I think comes from my new sense of orientation, my new world as it may be. I'm after all now a wife. Perhaps soon to be a mother. Most importantly I'm the head of a new household of which I bear responsibility for. There's something in the Bible about a wise woman building up her home but a foolish one tearing it down. I'm aware of the weight of this. I'm trying to build my home, this is a magnificent task when one thinks about it. Finally I can set about the business of life with the love of my partner, this love which truly is the mirror for me to view myself (I of course agree with From Now Till I Do here). I read once a statement from Selwyn Hughes, whom I greatly admire, that marriage is the institution God put in place for us to finally begin to understand His love for us, to finally understand what it means to say "like Christ loved the Church". I get this now. I think it is from this new realization that this growth is spewing forth.

To shorten this post a little, I've been drawn to meditation lately. Not in the strange sense but after my daily exercise routine I just feel a great need to sit down, stretch, and just be still. There a saying in this book I'm reading that resonates with me. It says prayer is our time of communicating with God, talking to him, but meditation is a time to listen. I chose a relaxation method then I'm just quiet...and still. I used to meditate a lot in college but I stopped years ago. The first time I pick it up again a few weeks ago, I sit and just sing my Anglican hymns I can remember in my head. And then I start praying, you know the normal prayers - thanksgiving, acknowledgment and repentence, asking asking asking, prayer for friends & family, thanksgiving, end. I think to myself instead of asking asking asking, I should give too. Give to my Church, give to my neighbours, to strangers, to everyone, just give of myself, of my resources, of my time. I'm going to start adding, God grant me the grace to give of myself freely.

My post today though is that we're always worrying about tomorrow, or about the past. To relate this to Bo & I and our relationship, or our journey, we're always thinking do we have enough to meet our desires to travel, to have children soon, to live comfortably? Or perhaps looking in the past - maybe we should have done things differently, etc. But part of being still, is enjoying the moment, the NOW. Wherever we are in life, we should enjoy it, experience it FULLY. I think as newlyweds, this is very difficult as I think part of our job description is to worry and get caught up in planning for our families, our futures. This I understand, but perhaps for now, for right NOW, we are exactly where God wants us to be, doing what exactly He has prepared for us at this moment. And this is okay. Smell the roses. Yes, there are thorns by the side, but LOOK, you got ROSES sister!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

All On Our Own

Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Our cleaner quit. Not in that respectful, thanks for everything but I'm ready to move on kind of way but in a I'll just not show up and that will tell them I'm not showing up ever again way. Which is awful. Bo and I have always had a cleaner. This guy. He comes in once a week and does a phenomenal and thorough, almost clinical job of cleaning our apartment. He took a break once and we hired a replacement in the meantime and she was horrible. I had dried water droplets on pretty much everything. Our cleaner (I'll call him Oye) came back and all was well with the world. I helped him develop his business ideas and Bo gave him free financial advice. And now he has quit. Without telling us.

I hate domestic staff, i.e maids, maiguards, stewards, drivers, all. Luckily Bo and I agree very much on this so as long as we can't absolutely live our lives without staff, we won't have them. It really isn't about child labour (which is quite frankly a good thing to keep in mind) or any activist reason but I like my personal space and I don't like strange people in it with all the faux bowing madam/servant dynamics. It's just not for me. Also I've decided that I actually don't like or enjoy training any illiterate person. Nothing against them personally but it's just not for me. So we have what's almost a no domestics vow in our household. The only aspect on which we give on this is the cleaner. But the caveat is/was no live-in person, and a very professional service which we got with Oye.

I know many Nigerian ladies equate getting married with being the big madam and you can't be a madam without someone "madame-ing" you. I have a friend who hired a second driver and a maid the second she got engaged (I'm exaggerating on the time but not by much). Yet another who has 2 drivers, a gateman, 2 maids and a nanny living with her and she just got married in March! They have no kids yet and the nanny is in anticipation of her getting pregnant this year. It seems such an odd thing that we as a society so readily accept strangers into our homes, even still when we all have heard all sorts of stories about such strangers. I had a friend who's gateman ran away with all her jewelry and stories are abound. I think to myself of course, they are strangers! They don't know you and you don't really know them. I'll just never understand it. When I have kids, I'm going to try and raise them on my own but of course I know absolutely nothing about that phase of life so who knows, maybe I'll change my mind. I'm determined not to though.

Since Oye left, my babe and I have tried to take on cleaning our apartment as a task. Last week I swept the whole house myself with our local broom and my backsides hurt for days! And Bo is just a Godsend of a husband. He most absolutely holds his own share of the domestic tasks. He probably even does more than me (and always has even with the cleaner). I'm so amazed at him and while I say thank you to him with kisses as he works around the house, I try not to let it show how overly excited I am that my husband is not one of those that leaves their clothes or shoes lying about. So we were kind of cute last weekend dividing up the house tasks. We're so determined to make it work. So he sweeps (he says he prefers sweeping to mopping), he sweeps and I mop. He does our toilet and bath I do the guest toilet and bath, I clean the mirrors in the living room, he cleans the mirrors in the bedroom. He also does dishes every night after I cook, and almost always does the laundry. We're like a little team BoKem! I love my man so much. To me he seems like more man than any other man I know if that makes sense. I think it takes a bigger man to do all those things. It takes a bigger man to step up to the plate with his woman and be her true partner in everything.

Even though we're definitely in the market for a new cleaner, I'm looking forward to us doing this together and figuring out a way to maintain the cleanliness of our home at a standard we want. We're fully on our own, which in Nigeria as a newly married couple, I think is somewhat of a feat.

Ok on a lighter note, my dorky (read I think he's cute lol) hubby just came into the room and said want to hear an investment banking joke?

So imagine you've been working late, you're extremely tired, you barely drag your feet to the station to take the last bus which is full and crowdy. Everyone's quiet and you start to doze off because you're so tired. An older woman walks into the bus and tries to make eye contact with someone who would offer her a seat on the bus, what do you do?

A: Nothing. You're an investment banker, you wouldn't be on a bus!


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Marriage = Happiness & Peace

Saturday, September 11, 2010
My hubby is in the study doing a bit of work and I'm in our living room surfing the web, it's quiet outside and in except for the sound of the dryer lulling on and off. I'm happy. I feel at peace with this my home.

Yesterday I had the privilege of having dinner with two of my close girlfriends and by December 2010 all three of us would be married and one would be very close to giving birth to her first child! It was a great dinner and we spent the time chatting about our lives, our loves, our homes, and really some of our hopes for the future. At a table next to us sat four women, perhaps in their late 30s with a few kids at the table, also chatting very vividly with laughs and hugs interspersed, like a later version of our own group. I'm happy. I felt at peace with my experiences this year.

A few days ago, Bo & I went to see the movie Grown Ups with Adam Sandler and some other funny men and while the movie was largely goofy and funny, there was a scene just towards the end when one of the characters says "You know the first half of your life is exciting, it's when you try all the new things, and do all the running around, but the second half...well that's well the magic REALLY happens, that's when you get depth to your life." I looked around the theatre for a moment because it was like whoever wrote that script was stealing from my thoughts. I've always said to Bo that I felt that with my weddings and my marriage I have finally left the first phase of my life and now moving comfortably into the next. Marriage and starting a family comes with it's own completely new set of realities and worries and concerns and joys. So different. I hugged Bo a little tighter in the theatre that night, snuggle in close and I'm happy. I felt at peace with this new phase of my life.

Recently I was discussing with a whole bunch of ladies, some who were just about to get married, some who had already celebrated anniversaries, and some of us who were still green and new. There was a pregnant woman amongst us and she says so when are you and Bo planning to have your first? I look at her and say "I don't know, just not anytime soon" She was taken aback. Another young lady who was getting married in October says , "Oh I know we're like that too we want to wait about six months before trying" and I said well, that sounds great but I think we'll probably wait for a few more years. She says, "Years???". I shrug and answer in the affirmative. The conversation then moves into preparing a woman's body for pregnancy and everyone calmly or kindly shoves me to the corner. Instead of feeling well, shoved aside, I felt free. I felt wonderfully clear-minded. I was happy. I felt at peace with my hubby and I's plan and vision for our family.

If I've learnt anything this year it's to stay true to oneself. There's so much societal noise, and Nigeria certainly a place where there's no qualms about societal pressure to conform, but it is important as ladies for us to find our inner true selves, our own voices, and follow that path and that path alone. If you don't want a large carnival wedding, don't have one REGARDLESS. If you don't feel like you are absolutely ready to push another human being through your female parts and nurse it, then don't do it yet. If you don't feel absolutely overjoyed and excited at the thought of waking up at 90, looking across at your husband, and thanking God that the man next to you is a witness to this crazy journey of life, then don't get married. If you can't find any logical reasoning as to why your name should change simply because you declared your love for another human being, then don't change it. If you don't feel like living in a big house in Lekki with a maid, a cleaner, two drivers, a maiguard, and a load of other strangers that bow to you and call you Madam when you're only 25 then don't.

Those who matter don't mind and those that mind don't matter.

At almost six months in, Bo & I and our relationship is no longer about whether we love the other person or whether Bo will propose or not, or whether he'll call or not. I know he loves me, he knows I love him. Dearly. Now the relationship is about building a life. A task that brings me indescribable and immense joy and pleasure. I firmly believe that this is because we are committed to defining ourselves and ourselves within our marriage on our OWN terms.
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