2014- Our routines are pretty much in place, and we are settling well. The boys have a social life, and we are adjusting to that. This means that the weekends are harder work than the weekdays, as you are generally trying to make sure that no-one is late for their movie night at a friends house / brownie making event / play date; and that you remember to do your half of the lift club and not leave anyone else’s child that you are supposed to be taking home. I have to become consistent with those Omega 3 supplements.
But I have been overwhelmed recently by one thing, and that is what this update is mostly going to be about. It will be like a tribute. To my husband. He is so incredible, so thoughtful, accommodating….well, let me just switch to this, and you’ll get the gist:
“A Few Days in the Life of Heathcliffe’s Wife”
DAY 1- Monday
After Heath does the school run at 7:10, we go for a walk around the neighbourhood. We have just started this routine. This is not a leisurely stroll to get some fresh air. This is an essential part of my psyche, because I have struggled without exercise, and my back is often sore, so to begin walking alleviates bees in my head, gets me back on the road to being fit, and makes me feel better. It is also not on level ground. We live at the top of a hill, with all roads leading down, so actually, whilst you may want to come back home at the end of the walk, you very well may not be able to. Heath does not need to walk, he wants to run, and get back to the gym routine, which will happen when he begins work, but he walks for me.
A short collapse on the couch follows, where I lie there feeling my legs do that twitchy nervy morse code thing to each other; I guess they’re trying to figure out what the heck just happened. We drink spinach juice. Well, okay, with cucumber, apples and ginger too. This is again, my alleviation of guilt for what I know I should be doing healthily. We are cutting all sugar out of our diet (save Saturdays, where we’ll probably have some junk; okay- I’ll definitely have some) and I do juice for the boys with breakfast on a couple of days. Someone has to invent a self-washing juicer. Just saying.
And yes, Heath drinks all of the juice, and takes all his supplements. He has learned to not fight, and trusts me, even when he’s really not keen on the fishy smelling ones. But we have 4 kids, and our social calendar is gonna need those fishy ones.
My car is in for a service / repair and is taking 2 weeks, as it requires a part from Johannesburg, which has been sent incorrectly…twice. Anyway, having one car is not too much of an issue whilst Heath is not working. Regarding work, he has been discussing working as a sales manager for a smallish family-owned business, who specialises in resins, bonding, laminate flooring etc. Yes, very different from hospitality, but the hours are 8am to 4:15pm and no weekends, which means Heath’s priority of family time stands, and his invaluable input into this family can continue. Well, to jump ahead a little, Heath has been offered the job. This event followed a weird week of incidents where I met several people– my hairdresser, other moms at the school– who were all commenting on how difficult it would be for Heath to find a job, let alone one that paid properly, and how they knew so many people who weren’t making it here, and they only had 2 children, etc. I have to admit, it did shake my world a little, and I had thoughts of what the heck are we doing? How can we expect to walk in here at 41 and make things happen? Heath and I were in the mall when we got the email on our phones confirming that the company’s offer had met what he had asked for. The world did stand still for a while, and whilst the bustle continued around us, we just hugged and cried a little. Not my first time feeling emotional when surrounded by large department stores, but this was different. A huge relief, and gratefulness and excitement. And despair as to how I was now supposed to get used to the days on my own, when I had been so spoilt having him near every hour. Selfish, huh? For Heath it is obviously a huge burden off his shoulders to know that there will be some income to replace all that I spend on lunchbox fillers and supplements!
He is completely determined to learn all that the job entails and I am excited for his loyalty, commitment and efficiency to blow those people away. So that’s the new season of Heath’s life, which begins in September 2014.
Heath is so thoughtful. Like crazy detailed thoughtful. Joshua has a calculator, which then turns out to be the wrong kind, as it solves squares as 5,372836.728 instead of 5 root 5. Whatever. Anyway, we got this feedback from Joshua that he needs the Casio, not the Sharp, and I write it down and hope to get to the shops between laundry, dishes and homework sometime this month. Heath REMEMBERS (he did not write it down. In my mind, this is superhuman) and buys it when he was at Checkers getting something else that he popped in for. This really ministers to me that he has the intricacies of these details of running a family always at the forefront of his mind.
Later that afternoon, Heath takes Aiden for a haircut, which entails a cupcake for Aiden from the unbelievable cupcake store on the corner. I’m talking chocolate cupcake with mousse topping, milk tart cupcake and rocky road cupcakes. Crap, this is doing nothing good for my sugar-abstinence-resolve. Anyway, Aiden gets a cupcake, Heath remains true to sugar-free cause and goes without. Most afternoons, when boys are done with homework, Heath goes on the road with them and throws the ball around, or plays football, or lets Luke shoot his bow and arrow. Don’t ask. Save to say the guineafowl that roam around the neighbourhood are out of bounds. Yesterday, Luke came out of school wearing his trousers and school jersey, and his rain jacket. Which would’ve been fine for the day before, max temp 17º, but not for this day, max temp 31º. Poor child had no energy, was completely lethargic and exhausted and when I checked his water bottle, he’d had 2 sips all day. I messaged Heath to give him the heads-up that Luke wasn’t feeling well, and he took Luke outside to play and give him some much needed one-on-one time. SUCH a good dad.
Before dinner, Heath makes a salad dressing from scratch which was beyond my limits of creativity at this point in the day. At the dinner table, where we always eat, Heath and Joshua mess around. They sit next to each other, I really ought to separate them. He loves that boy so much. He measured his height the other day– he’s a smidge below 6 foot.
I come back from school run to find my husband jumping around at the door in his shorts and trainers, ready to go for a walk. Jumping around is literal. He makes me laugh, he encourages me, he supports me. After walk, we drink carrot juice. I have a hair appointment at 9:30, so I take the car, and Heath is stranded at home, mostly reading. The hair apptointment takes the whole morning as after the first wash, I get a cut- quite a bit shorter, then a tint (rinse again) then some highlights (rinse again). It’s a miracle I have any hair left, and my scalp aches. Its not ‘me-time’ for me, its torture and I’m not happy. It always takes cutting your hair shorter for you to realise how much you really like your long hair. Crap. Anyway, it’s a few days later, the golden streaks have calmed down and the length is much easier, so I’m happier. Heath loves highlights, and is so complimentary. More than that, the boys know how to handle a woman with a new haircut, because they’ve been so well trained by him! They ooh and aah and say how nice, they always honour me and make me feel so special. I think I shall forward this update to those idiots who say to me, shame you are very outnumbered by boys, aren’t you? Stupid, don’t you know how lucky I am? Luke makes me laugh as he quotes an inside joke: Mom, those highlights are really working for you! Let me explain the background. When Luke was about 8 years old, we were at a sports day. One of the mothers, who was currently sporting a beautiful, large, natural Afro hairstyle, came up to me and said, Luke just made my day. He said to me, ‘Mrs. Wakatama, that hairstyle is really working for you!’ It was said in complete innocence which is what made it so special. So it became a family joke– anything that was ‘working’ was told, hey, Mrs Wakatama, that hairstyle’s really working for you!
This afternoon, I was struggling with cravings. Sugar, oh sugar, how I long for you. I wanted to stick my head into the sweetie tin where the jelly tots used to be, so I could lick up the sugar that ends up at the bottom of the tin. And coffee, aahhh coffee– my newly loved friend; I have to forsake you for the sake of my ever-wrinkling skin and stained teeth. This is a weird one actually, as I was never a coffee drinker, but a routine of lattés every morning when we ran a coffee shop in Zim soon changed that. Craaaaaving it. Heath collected Joshua from school at about 4:30 today, and came home bearing a cup of coffee. Fickle as I am, I was so happy. And it was like supernatural coffee. It solved that mid afternoon slump; in fact, I was like Bradley Cooper in Limitless– I did everything, I cooked two dinners– ours and one for the new neighbour-who-just-moved-in, I managed to split my one-of-everything-bought-as-we-need-it dishes and bowls between us and her, I did all the dishes, and when I was chopping carrots for the lunchboxes, a carrot dropped off the counter, and it was caught with crouching-tiger-hidden-dragon reflexes and agility. I was so wired.
Later that evening, Heath had to discipline Luke and Ethan for continued messing around at bedtime. Putting them to bed at 7 for them to go to sleep at 9 is not really an option. I am so grateful he took care of that, as by now that coffee had worn off, and if I had dealt with them, it would not have been the learning experience that discipline is supposed to be!
DAY 3- Wednesday.
On the school-collection run today, Ethan decided to wander up to the other gate and wait there (there was a vague instruction ringing in his head about Friday collection, which he now mixed up with Wednesday) and so Heath ended up waiting an extra half hour. The school run always does entail some waiting time, as there is a half hour between Kenridge and Fairmont finishing times and another half hour between that and Ethan who finishes later after extra math, so adding on another half hour to any sane parent does not go down well. Good to know at this point that Heath is human! For homework, Aiden had to do a business plan for a new sandwich business, so Heath was the consultant on that one. Later that evening, Heath and Josh had a long chat about life in general– what he’s considering doing, what that will entail etc. Heath’s discussions with Joshua are very deep most of the time (not when they’re tickling each other at the dinner table—the other times), and it leads to some very thought provoking and challenging relationship building.
So that was about 3 detailed days in my life. I am incredibly blessed to have such an amazing husband, an incredible dad to my children, and my life soulmate. Just wanted to affirm him this way and say that I have cherished the season where he has been by my side every day; whilst we have settled, and found our way, and made hard decisions, and shopped, cooked, done homework, driven around, prayed, cried and laughed. Now we enter a new season, where I have to become a little more independent, remembering to write everything down, take note of the landmarks so I don’t get lost (I am so lazy when I get driven around) and pack 5 lunchboxes instead of just 4. I have to get used to making decisions on my own, as I don’t think the boss will take too kindly to my whattsapp’s every minute asking which Liqui-fruit is preferred, or if this roasting dish is big enough.
Last week, we were in a kitchen store looking for a pot. Just a standard pot, because I am going mad having to wash the same medium-sized pot 3 times whilst cooking one meal. I look at a frying pan (What? Did I say we were buying a pot? Yes, well, when your husband is such a good shopper, you tend to stray from what the intention was….) and Heath knows I don’t want a frying pan that has toxic PFOA’s in it– which is usually found in the non-stick pans. This has been a pain, because there are a bajillion non-stick pans, reasonably priced, but when you bypass all those and go for the more expensive “non-toxic” ones, your husband does tend to seek understanding on the whole issue. So Heath looks at this one and says, ‘Is that a BFF one?’ When he sees me rolling on the floor, he says he knew it was something to do with F. I must say I prefer BFF’s better. He certainly is mine.
We have had a tough decision to make regarding Luke. His teacher met with me a few weeks ago to refer us to a paediatrician regarding his lack of concentration which has been an ongoing issue with Luke, but I guess I had hoped that the change of scenery and new curriculum would kickstart him on a new route. But he is struggling. So the paed sees Luke, checks his heart is beating (literally that’s about it) and based on the report from the teacher, says that Luke will benefit from going onto Ritalin. For someone who is trying the all-natural route, this drug-in-the-same-family-as-cocaine almost does my head in, and the next few days are pretty torturous. I don’t have time to do much research as I intend, so most of it is discussions with Heath, who knows how I feel about the drug approach, but yet we are both so heartsore for Luke, and want to give him the best chance to succeed. We had a few days to make our decision; and it turns out that Ritalin is actually sold out countrywide, and they don’t know when they’re getting it in again. This buys us a few weeks at least. I have written to Luke’s teacher with our decision– for 3 weeks, we will try the non-drug treatment for ADD, which involves a lot of the fishy smelling ones(!!), and several other supplements. The research I have done is exciting and promising, but if for some reason, it has no benefit, we will consider putting Luke on the drug. Heath has been amazing. He has allowed me to spit, cry, shout, dissolve and panic. He hears me so well. When I found the article that brought revelation about the non-drug treatment, he read it through thoroughly—it was like it was written exactly about Luke– and then he hugged me and said, that’s it, then, we try this first. What a relief to be in agreement about such a life-changing decision. It has been just a few days since we began the supplements, and we have to be very strict with his diet. He’s doing great so far, and on the first morning, when he had 9 tablets to take (thank GOD all my children learned to swallow tablets at an early age!!) and everyone else had just 3 (D, B and zinc for the teens), he was fine about it and took it more as a challenge than a curse. Phew.
So, the update finally ends. A little different, at times a little corny, but definitely all from my heart. A glimpse into the life of Heathcliffe’s wife.
Lots of love to you all.