Keeping it private.

Strangely, the first person I texted was my second sister and we are not close. Subsequently I shared the happy news with my little sister. Till today, I wish she was the first person I had shared the news with! This was before we had seen the doc. Two weeks later, after the doc’s appointment, I informed an employer-to-be to make sure she was okay to work with a pregnant me.

Timmy and I then discussed when we would tell our folks and he decided he would tell the good news on Good Friday, 18 April. I didn’t know when and how I should tell my folks. Initially I felt a good time would be on my parents wedding anniversary but since we haven’t seen the doc by then, I decided l will tell when the opportunity presents itself.

I see my dad at grandma’s every Sunday and on one Sunday, he noticed that my grandma kept asking me if I was sick and why I was refusing dinner. When he drove us home that night, he asked if I was unwell and seen the doc. Timmy and I looked at each other and Tim told him the news. My dad was surprised and even clarified with me if what Timmy had just said was indeed true. He asked if my mum and grandma knew and I said no and told him not to tell anyone yet. But much later, I found out from my mum that dad had told her that very night.

I told my mum on my little sister’s birthday. I had seen the doc earlier that day and showed her the ultra sound images from that session. I shared the good news with my grandma on her birthday and she was so so glad and hugged and kissed me! By end May, the uncle and auntie whom I am close to were informed. My auntie even cooked a huge pot of chicken curry to celebrate the good news!

As for friends, Timmy and I didn’t discuss who and when we want to share the news with. As and when he shared with someone, he would tell me. For me, it didn’t occur to me to tell anyone. Perhaps I was busy with work and dealing with 1st trimester fatigue. But I suspect I felt it was not important or make any difference for anyone to know. Of course I was so happy and still am to know I am pregnant. I remember my heart would be and still is, so full of thanksgiving and I would and still tear at every church service reflecting on God’s faithfulness and goodness. And yes typically, people share good news with one another.

I guess I didn’t see how a friend knowing my happy news would make a difference to my pregnancy. Afterall, this is a journey I take with Timmy and God.

My stomach started growing and became obvious. And when I met friends casually for dinners, they saw the good news for themselves. Some asked why I didn’t tell earlier. Honestly I wanted to ask if it made a difference to them. But instead, I said its better to announce or in my case ‘show’ in person.

Our ex care-group leader and his wife asked a couple of times, to my annoyance, if we had shared the news with any of the members. We stopped going to the care-group end of last year and have occasionally met a few of them for meals this year. Perhaps we are not particularly close to any of them to share the news and pregnant belly wasn’t very obvious to do the honour itself. We recently met one of them for lunch and she was pleasantly surprised and I liked that she didn’t question or even ask why we didn’t share earlier. To me, I felt she was simply happy for us and nothing else mattered to her. Simple and genuine. Once, the care-group leader’s wife asked if she could share on our behalf. I was shocked at her suggestion and thanked her for her assistance but highlighted that it was only appropriate that we as parents-to-be share the news and we will as we are led to. I kept asking Timmy why we were being pressured to announce and he had no answer.

A while ago, an old school mate informed me that she had just given birth to her second child and not to be surprised by the news. But I was surprised not because I didn’t know earlier that she was pregnant. We haven’t been in touch for more than a year afterall. I was surprised at her good news as she didn’t seem keen in having another child when we used to meet up previously. And she started encouraging me to have my own kid so I decided I’ll let her know that I am pregnant.

I now remember I shared the news with two friends – Ashley and Sasi – via text. We were chatting about random stuff and then told them that I am pregnant. They were both happy and Sasi recently checked in with me to see how the baby and I were doing and to keep him informed once the bun is out.

As I write this, I sense I am somewhat digging deep; to know why I couldn’t care to tell anyone. I even turned down an invitation from a friend to hold a baby shower. Perhaps we have grown apart or rather we have become so busy with our lives and have no time for anything else that isn’t that important or on the same page as us. We have different purposes in life; it is no longer about exams or project deadlines or job interviews or who we are dating or our first home.

And honestly, I don’t know if motherhood/parenting will be that connecting link now. If relationships are based on topical or situational moments, or milestones, I don’t see the roots going deep.

A few weeks, on a rainy Saturday morning, Timmy and I sat at our void deck to enjoy the breeze. The rain was so refreshing after weeks of dry spell. I asked him about his 2015 wishes but he haven’t thought about it. For me, I told him, I want to wish for new friends; like minded and simple folks and preferably believers though I know not all believers can believe the same thing. I told him that perhaps we need a few good friends whom we can grow old with; walk alongside with Jesus in our midst. Sincere, open and happy folks who wish each other well. Roots that grow deep. I was quite surprised at what I was articulating to him that wet morning. I never thought this was of any importance to me as I was happy with who I was friends and acquaintances with and it never mattered if I didn’t meet anyone for months. There were also times when I don’t turn for gatherings as I didn’t feel like it.

I don’t know the reason for the sudden change. I can only conveniently blame it on the pregnancy hormones. Perhaps, I will sing a different tune when 2015 arrives. After all, who has time for friends when you have a baby.

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sometimes,

I feel like I had enough. I feel like I had done more than I should have. I feel like I can’t give any more and that I should not. I feel I should protect myself and I should detach.

Sometimes, I just want to run and not care. I want to scream at you to grow up; not in size or age excuse me. But in character.

But then I’ll hear a whisper; assuring me I am not giving more than I have or can. And I can only whisper back “help me Jesus.”

Why are families the hardest to love and care?

Especially when it comes in the form of a 19 year old. Sometimes, I am pushed to my limits and I want to snap and bite. Surprisingly, the very limited patience I have would choose to work overdrive and hardly any words escape me. But there have been times, I have let it all out and felt really bad afterwards.

I remember being 19 and yes there were exams, projects, stress, friends, issues, acne and etc etc. Sorry my life wasn’t perfect if you imagined it was. Neither did I have a village to cheer me on; just a handful of school mates/friends to get through a damn lousy day. And the funny thing is, challenges don’t run away when you turn twenty or thirty or ninety. I know because I have visited 2.

I didn’t have an elder sister to love or encourage me; to pray or look out for me. And here is a big truth in case you didn’t know – our parents were the same in 2000 and now in 2014.

If you will indeed face the truth, everything is the same. The difference is you and I.

I learnt to encourage myself, lift myself up when I fall, be independent and responsible. If I want something, I work for it. I try my best not to act like the whole world was against me though at times it definitely felt so. Yes I cried too. Yes I know frustration. But so what, this is life. Just live it.

Because if you don’t start now, you will never do. And you would have missed life.

For a start, you can start being responsible and I’m not talking about your studies because that is a given. You owe it to yourself to do your best in school or else you will live out the consequences. I’m talking about respecting my time. Be responsible to turn up at the time and place we both agreed to. You don’t own my time. I make time and take the effort to meet you and honestly, I don’t need to do all these if you would just pause and think. But I chose to. Likewise, it is time you choose to be responsible because now, it stinks.

I have walked away from family members to protect myself and because I have felt they didn’t deserve me. I don’t wish to walk away from you but if I have to, just to protect my heart, I will. I have been 19 so I know how to be self centered and selfish.

Just so you know, I have tried to be the best sister I can be. I mean best and not perfect. I have tried to be someone I wish I had when I was 19. If you think I have failed, so be it. Thank your lucky stars that you will never know how it feels to be an elder sister.

I know you have been nice and sweet and I have told you so, far too often. And I have also told you things that need to be improved for your good. If you have to work harder, then just do it.

I spent my last seventy dollars on you today; just so that you know what causes the boils etc. And I didn’t even get seven seconds of appreciation; just like many other times. Lack of appreciation is something I can live with but irresponsibility I don’t wish to tolerate anymore.

Sometimes, I wish I had the heart to be indifferent; just like you are. Perhaps I can’t because I carried you when you were a few days old and saw you grow from a charming feisty toddler to a dreamy angsty sweet hardworking teen.

I walk away knowing I have done what I can. See if you can do the same.

how much is too much?

he doesn’t like it when I touch his mobile phone. he knows when I do, I’m most likely looking at his messages. he knows this as I do it in front of him. I don’t do it because I think he is keeping something from me. I don’t do it because I have nothing else to do. I don’t do it because I want to know everything that is going on with him.

maybe I do.

I don’t really know.

So the other day, I reached out to grab his phone as we were watching the television. He must have seen me looking his messages and asked me “why are you looking at my messages? it is work.”

So what if it is work related, I retorted. we are not competitors; we are not mr & mrs smith, I reasoned.

“But there are certain stuff that I keep.”

“stuff like what? We are husband and wife lei. Do you have secrets? I don’t like secrets. I don’t want someone to knock on my door with a big fat secret.” I could feel myself wanting to get dramatic.

“There are things you don’t need to know and doesn’t affect you. And I don’t want to explain to you why I do things in a certain way.”

I was going to get mad by then, I thought. But I knew what he meant. There are times when I question too much and then, there are times, I tell him how he should have handled something at work. But he knows I do it out of concern or at least l hope he does.

He said he needs privacy. I need openness, I told him.

“Do you want our marriage to be like your folks? They don’t seem to know what is happening with each other and I don’t know if that has helped them. You have said it yourself that your family doesn’t quite know what everyone is up to. Is this what we want for ourselves?”

I laid out my expectation that night – I need to know everything; everything that you can remember to tell me. To protect myself and to an extent, you. I want to know what you are going through at work; the good and the bad. I want to share my thoughts to help you see from another perspective because we think different. I want to be able to pray for you if you are facing challenges, at work or elsewhere. I want to help you. I want to encourage you. I want to be here for you.

“I give you time okay. I know it may take awhile to be change but I give you time.”

“You need to change also. You must give me some privacy.” he said.

I let that conversation end without winning. Perhaps he does need some privacy. Maybe it is a man’s pride. The less a woman know, the more powerful a man feels?

I ain’t got a clue.

But how much is too much? How much should a wife not know and know?

Perhaps it’s not what I know and don’t know. It’s my way of finding out that’s unappropriate.

We already talk about work and everything else over dinner, in bed, on the bus and in front of the television and in the elevator.

If certain things are left out, so be it. Ignorance is bliss, I heard.

Investments.

Out of the blue, a few nights ago, in bed, I told him that men have been my worst investment to date and this came from someone who has zero savings and investments of any sort; unless of course we count insurances as a form of investment.

I mumbled about how I spent my youth, my life, my energy, my time and perhaps even money on my ex- boyfriend only to break up after six years. He had the best of me and to be honest, the worst of me. I was young and temperamental. I was bursting with life and hard to keep up with. He saw me through my last year in polytechnic, cheered me as I graduated in Australia, hugged me when I got my first job and then retrenched, took care of me when I stayed at his place for three months during the airlines training program and so much more. Together, we had built a treasure of memories and experiences, almost ready to take the relationship to the next stage – marriage – when the balloon burst in my very own hands.

How could love hurt me? I was in a pathetic state for a few months before my new job got me really busy and the hurt started to, not hurt.

A year later, Timmy who was working at the same agency asked me out after we had shared some exchanges at a beer party. On the second anniversary of our relationship, we said WE DO.

Our relationship wasn’t all smooth, from the beginning. He was in another relationship while seeing me on the sides. I tried walking away but he needed time, he said, to tie up loose ends. Then his mum turned into a monster when she found out that he had proposed to me, a non-believer then. As with all weddings, we needed to find funds, find a church who would marry us, find a home and more funds and this and that. Timmy remained focused and patient. I wavered when the situation sometimes got ugly and unnecessary.

And we married, oh that miraculous day! I never imagined myself to be in a white wedding gown walking down the aisle of a church with my dad. But I did. A dream I never dreamt.

But that was just the wedding. Perhaps an event to some extent. But the reality is; it was just the beginning of what we call a marriage.

We are different; not just gender wise obviously. We came from different backgrounds and family settings. I doubt there is any similarity in us. We are different. And to an extent, that keeps us and our marriage alive.

I can point out many areas of improvement for him; one good example would be how he should always listen to me. And without batting his eyelid, he will have a list of areas I should really work hard on, for instance, patience.

Being the vocal one in the relationship, I’m pretty darn good at articulating weakness and mapping ways for improvement. He, the gracious one, listens only.

So on that sleepless night, I let it out – my investment in him, is not profitable. I wanted an audience with my fund manager, I told him.

He laughed. I giggled.

My best investment to date is Jesus, I heard myself say. I did nothing but have everything. To this, even my unprofitable investment agreed.

To God Be The Glory.

holidays.

in the morning while he was working in the living room and I was preparing lunch:

he : sq having 2 to go to Korea offer now.

i : travel by when lei?

he : may.

i : sounds good but too soon to book. Need to see if Ck’s internship schedule will work with the offer.

past midnight and in bed; waiting for sleepy monster to hit us:

i : dear, I miss hua hin (an island three hours away from Bangkok; a trip we took last July).

he : we can go on our anniversary lo.

i : sure or not?!

he : can lo. u want to stay at the same hotel?

i : I don’t mind! I loved the hotel, the pool and all! Yippee so happy! But then, we should go new places right? Maybe can go borracay?

he : hmmmm maybe. But I not familiar with borracay.

i : that’s the whole idea. Something new to discover.

silence.

he : hmmmm actually I don’t really want to go to Korea. I’m not sure if it’s a place worth visiting and if it’s our kind of place.

i : me too. If not Korea, then where lei? Where we go this year?

he : ck how? Will she be disappointed?

i : I don’t know if she can have a holiday actually coz it seems like her internship starts during her holidays. So let’s see.

he : okay.

i : so amongst all the places we been to so far, which has been the most memorable trip with me? I think it’s hua hin for me. No itinerary no rush. Hong Kong was not bad also I think we walked and walked and saw many things. You lei?

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he : hmmmmmmm .. New York for me. Furthest we have been and a place we both enjoyed. The snow and all!

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i : oh yes I forgot New York! wow that was a miracle trip! Can’t believe it happened. No idea how we funded the trip!

He points to the ceiling and I understood he was referring to Jesus.

i : so in your lifetime thus far, which has been your most memorable trip? all my trips are memorable and have something to remember with a smile.

he : perth. It was like a spiritual trip I took with Jesus. I still remember the valley of the giants and how I felt like I was in the valley yet Jesus is with me.

i : hmmmmm.

he : by the time I took that trip, I honestly had given up. I knew I could not with my own hands and that only he could.

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i : so this year we go where lei. I wonder where Jesus will bring us!

he : Tokyo! All the research I have done have not being used lei.

i : hahahahha oh yes! We almost went last year. So when you think you can go? Your project launch when?

he : think by April project should be live. Maybe can go in may then can avoid kids and families on school holidays.

i : okay can.

Tokyo or Korea or no where, I don’t want to travel with anyone but him.

And I just about remembered our honeymoon to isreal. How come it didn’t come up as our most memorable trip!?

what is the alternative?

someone asked me recently how has freelancing being? is it good? is it better than working full time?

it made me reflect on my journey thus far as i did my best to paint an accurate picture. i didn’t want to glorify it lest she decides based on my experience. because truth be told, there are downsides to this type of work – not being able to see things from start to end, lack of ownership and little growth are some of the things that bothers me from time to time, if i give it time.

but at the same time, i look at what i have gained from this journey – the opportunity to work on different brands with different people, learning to adapt to different processes, time to breathe and live in-between gigs, being able to appreciate the chance to work and contribute – completely nulls the downsides. most importantly, i am happy. frustration doesn’t last longer than it should. i get over lack of leadership, indifference and inefficiencies a lot quicker.

the pity though is some who hire me haven’t quite figured out how best to utilize me and i myself haven’t quite figured out how best i should exploit me.

in a tiny corner of my head and perhaps even heart, i wonder what i want to do next when i am finally done with this type of work or even lifestyle. it has been three years with 6 months of it spent on full time administration. if there is a kid now, i wonder if it would make sense. but there is happy me and that makes sense to me, only.

a friend recently shared that he lives life by reasoning – what is the alternative? i walked away from the conversation wanting to apply that to my life and recently had the chance to do so – do i accept the extension of the current gig? what is the alternative to that – not work and use up the tiny stack of fifty dollars i have managed to save from the last gig.

that was easy wasn’t it?

but the question now really is, what is the alternative to these freelance gigs?

restless

but thankful.

fourth week in a new assignment at a very familiar place but on brands that are new to me. new young people and familiar old faces. out of office by 6.30 most days. five train stops away from home. 30mins from door to desk. much to be thankful for, I reckon.