Travelled to Singapore so many times we’ve lost count
Gallivanted through parts of Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales
Farewelled two loved ones
Made two beautiful babies
Loved and laughed
We didn’t get much chance to make it a big celebration this anniversary. Visits from family overseas and interstate was one reason. And then there was the rather tiny matter of birthing a whole other human being and being severely sleep-deprived as a result.
And yes, part of me wants to knuckle down and get real Deep and Meaningful about my marriage at this time of year. Part of me wants the big fanfare to mark this significant milestone. Ten years! It should mean something. I want to tell him how he’s changed me. I want to tell him how I never want some things about him to ever change. I want to tell you that there were rough bits and boring bits and tough bits, but they were few and far, faaar between the absolute comfort and joy and love and certainty and assurance I get to enjoy every day. Every. Day.
It’s been a real privilege being a wife and from that, a mother. Ten years! Thank you, God.
We just ended this excellent series at bible class on how we communicate to family members. Amongst many other things, the series involved identifying our personal styles and reactions in times of conflict, and having a look at other historical examples in the bible. I am kicking myself at the moment because I’d stored my notes from 2 weeks ago in a real safe place… which of course now means I can’t find them. But I did remember that the first question on the top of the list had to do with personal values.
It was something along the lines of,
Have your told your family what your personal values are?
It’s a great question, at least for me. Mostly because I have no idea what my personal values are, much less thought about articulating it to my family of origin, or to Tony and Arddun. It’s also a great question because it highlights that most fundamental assumption that trips all of us up: just because we’re in the same family, doesn’t mean we all inhabit the same attitudes and exhibit the same behaviours.
It’s like common sense in housework. It’s not actually that common. So if that’s tricky enough to determine sometimes, then we need to start talking out loud about what we think our personal and family values are.
A quick look around the interweb has produced a number of familiar and less familiar examples. More than anything, I’m awed and rather ashamed that I had never thought to do this.
Of course, articulating family values is something that needs to be discussed and agreed on, and not just cobbled together by me, the overenthusiastic part-time SAHM. But even before I’m ready to go broach the subject with Tony (and Tony, my love, consider the subject already partially broached!) I need to work out what it is that I value.
I’m still working through the list, but I thought I’d start with what I already do. I think we ALL like to think that we champion huge concepts all the time like Love, Justice, Loyalty, Kindness, Purity, Courage. And we aspire to be diligent and successful in areas like Health, Beauty, Finances. Still, I think we all know that attitudes don’t speak the loudest – actions do. So here’s what I’ve come up with so far this week, based partly on what I spend my heart on. And I’m sure there’s more to come.
My Personal Values (that I’ve come to recgonise anyway)
I value continual self improvement, hard work, and the desire to reach my full potential
This one took a while for me to get to, especially the bit about reaching my full potential. I think we get constantly inundated with the World’s vision of how someone reaches their full potential. They get a Nobel Peace Prize, for instance. Climb a mountain. Start a company. Become a celebrity. Write a book. Write 10 books. Work 85 hours a week. Have 7 children, foster 10 more, adopt 3. Basically spend every waking moment Living and Doing, in the hopes of becoming the best version of themselves.
I believe it’s no coincidence that I choose to be a Christian. It’s also not a coincidence that I choose to blog. The former requires a lifetime of a renewing of the mind, and the unlearning of old ways while putting on Christ. The latter is one of my means of documenting the process, and checking in. My problem is finishing – I’m not great at that. But I do genuinely seek to do better, and I do spend quite a bit of time examining my faith, my actions, and my shortcomings. Which is why I’m constantly goal-setting (but still suck at seeing some of it through). And also, I get REAL excited putting together a 23-step program to get me there. That’s probably the funnest bit for me.
I value Discernment, Sagacity, Temperate Judgement
This one came about because I’m increasingly aware of how I balk when given “expert advice” on many subject matters – health and nutrition, parenting, technology, religion, self-help… I am especially leery of magic bullets. Yet when Celina and I were growing up and identifying our polar-opposite traits, we had always regarded her as the suspicious one, while I would swallow a concept whole first because I trusted people so quickly. That seems to have changed along the way.
Don’t get me wrong – I can still get incredibly excited over new shiny concepts. But Tony often balances off such enthusiasm with a measured, factual response (and the occasional eyebrow-raise) that I’ve grown to appreciate his cautiousness. And I’ve become a lot more moderate (and sadly, a little cynical) over the last decade and a half, after an entire adolescence of my mother tsk-tsking me for being Too Emotional.
I value having the courage to speak up, to change, to meddle
While packing my old bedroom in Singapore last year, I came across a letter I had written to a sister in Christ and it took my breath away. It was basically me broaching the subject of how I’d noticed her changing away from God and church, and how I really yearn for her to hang on to her faith. It was earnest, it was honest, it was surprisingly loving and gentle (not my best traits), and because it had been such a long time since I’d done something like that, it touched me. Weirdly, I wish others had written that way to me when I was going through big stuff in my late teens and early twenties. I wish I had sent that letter to that sister. But perhaps I only wrote what I needed to hear for myself. Communicating through the prism of my own love language.
I can be blunt now, I know. I have a forthright manner. I call a spade a spade, sometimes worse. But I think I’ve mellowed. I used to have a lot more courage to speak up for the underdog, to broach difficult ideas, to poke at the glass ceiling, question the status quo, meddle with love. Of course, that also meant I tread on many toes, flummoxed many Aunties and Uncles in church, intimidated others without necessarily winning them over, and made enemies. I still do some of these things quite well. :-(
Coming to a different country and starting out as an outsider has subdued me somewhat. I am also more mindful, now that I’m married, of charging ahead but leaving my introverted, circumspect husband and partner exposed and hating it. And yet I wonder if I’ve swung too far the other way, like a pendulum. Where the good stuff is getting muffled with the bad. I believe I still have it in me to fight the good fight when it counts.
This personal value isn’t so much one that I’m exercising regularly, but one that is dormant and needs refining.
I’m sure there are many others – the dead obvious ones like I Value Beauty (which is why I window shop so much), and the more surprising one like I Value Family, which is why I’ve put the corporate career ladder climbing schtick aside for now, and am still working out how to reinvent that bit. This isn’t a comprehensive list, like I said, but it was the first 3 that came to mind and it’s an interesting start.
Today’s our 6th wedding anniversary. They say it’s the Iron year, which means Tony and I promptly went and bought each other anything but.
I had procured my love a watch, only to discover later that David Jones had left the price tag on, wrapped it as a Christmas present even though I’d left instructions, and had given me a dud with a flat battery. Tony’s surprise delivery to me was indeed surprising – it never came. He later found out that the lovely people at the hamper place had not couriered it like he had thought, but had sent it by Australia Post. Who currently “don’t know where it is”.
We celebrated our anniversary last night at the Hotel Realm, where they gave us HALF a dessert platter…
… and made up for it by giving us two bottles of Moet & Chandon Rose Imperial champagne instead of one. We’re cracking those babies open once Blob is Born.
To top it off, our little flat has finally gone to market today. The ad sounds great – includes the lovely USP of it having “quality curtains and blinds throughout”. Except the photos that accompany our ad are of someone else’s apartment. Which is the mirror image of ours. In a different block. And the windows are as nekkid as a newborn’s bottom.
All we can do is laugh, really. It’s been a slightly bizarre 24 hours for Canberra’s customer service.
On a more cheerful note, I’ve had a bit of fun today with T-shirt transfers. The last one I did was an illustration of a skinny man ironing his own work shirt, with the caption “My idea of an Iron Man”. Tony didn’t think it was that funny, but I loved it because I hate ironing, and he has no idea what a blessing it is to marry a man who is already house-broken.
Today’s creation is a little more relevant to this forum.
Am I excited about Monday? Just a touch.
I'm open to making contact, getting feedback, reviewing your product, and even writing for cash or stardom. Just so you know.
Interested? PM me at:
yummy.mummy.train [at] gmail [dot] com