Super Mom

Family

Questions

Every now and then I ask the children some questions.  It’s nice to keep for the future. It’s so sweet that they still answer them for me.

What do I say the most:

Kyla:  Use your fucking flicker light you idiot! Also: it’s not so bad.  Horses died in the war.

Jason:  Who is making food tonight? 😊

Zander:  I love you.

Quintus:  Clean up the dog’s poo on the lawn.

How tall am I?

K:  1,68?

J:  How much I know?  1,66?

Z:  1,75

Q:  1,60

What makes me happy:

K:  Peanut brittle or some surprise

J:  To make money / work

Z:  When we are happy.  When we do our work and when you work.

Q:  Snowy (my dog)

What do I most like to do?

K:  Read, Netflix

J:  To work or watch Netflix

Z:  To work or watch Netflix

Q:  To read

What makes me unhappy?

K:  …. This is a private (not my story to tell)

J:  When we don’t listen

Z:  When we are unhappy

Q:  When we fight

What is my favourite food

K:  Pasta

J:  Ocean Basket

Z:  Ocean Basket

Q:  Rice with garlic sauce and prawn

What about me irritates you

K:  When I don’t discipline the boys when they don’t do their work.

J:  Nothing, ek en Ma is rustig

Z:  Nothing that you do, Mom.  I get frustrated with schoolwork and then you think I’m frustrated with you but I’m not.

Q:  Nothing

What is my favourite TV program

K:  Blacklist / Modern Family / Superstore

J:  You don’t watch TV programs.  You watch Netflix series and Survivor.

Z:  Modern Family

Q:  Survivor

How old am I

K:  46

J:  46 (because Kyla said so)

Z:  42

Q:  46

What is my favourite colour

Everyone said red

How much do you love me

K:  Unconditionally

J:  You are my only mom, so I have to say a lot 😊

Z:  Indescribably lots

Q:  Soos die son (Something between us)

What do I drink most:

K:  Water and coffee

J:  Water and coffee

Z:  Coffee and water

Q:  Coffee

Where do I ride to the most

K:  To work (and Ouma)

J:  Work

Z:  To Potchefstroom and work

Q:  Ouma            


I’m gonna love you through it

I remember when I went for my mammogram and sonar thereafter. I was waiting in the doctor’s office. Alone. I didn’t have to be alone. My mom badly wanted to go with me but I wanted to face it alone. I remember sending my mom a message “The doctor thinks it is cancer”

I cannot image what she must have thought. She wanted to drive to the doctor’s office but I said that I was fine.

I remember going for the biopsy. Alone. I didn’t want anyone else to worry or go through that.

I went back to the doctor when he got the results. Alone.

Again, not because I had to but because I handle tough situations like that.

I was alone when the doctor said he had bad news. That it was cancer. I was calm. Listened to his thoughts and what we needed to do next.

I walked out of his office and saw my dad in the waiting room. We know that lady who works there and he phoned her to hear what the results were.

All of a sudden I wasn’t alone and I didn’t want to be. My daddy was there.

I’m a proud person and I don’t think that is such a good personality trait to have. I needed to see my dad there.

I have since learned that so many people want to be there. So many people want to love me through this.

Tommie takes time of from work to go to appointments with me. The children go way and beyond. My brothers, sisters (in-law). My friends. People who I hardly knew have fast become close friends. People want to help.

They want to love me through this.

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I heard this song and cried. My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer about two weeks ago.

I want to love her through this. I understand now how important it is for me to allow others to love me through this.

Mom, I can’t fix this. I can’t make it better. I can’t take it away but I can love you through this.


Letter

I recently found this letter from my grandfather while looking for something else.

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His handwriting.  His words … and he is no longer here.

I read his letter and my heart ached.  We did phone.  We took him out for breakfast when we passed through Pietersburg on our way to Louis Trichardt.

We did not phone enough.

I read those words and how he mentioned how much a phone call meant.

I did not phone enough.

Maybe I’m older (I definitely not have more time now) but I realize that a call every now and then was not enough.  I should have called more often, with random news even if the phone call was for less than a minute.

I did not phone enough.

He must have been so lonely.  I cannot actually imagine a man spending so much time to write a letter.  He wrote a letter to all the family members.

I did not phone enough.

I try to make up for that mistake by getting the boys to phone their grandfather every Sunday.  (Not my parents because they SEE them every day)  They should phone their grandmother as well come to think of it.

Make those phone calls.  It takes a minute.  Phone while waiting to pick up your child from school or waiting for them to finish sport.  Just phone.  It must make such a difference to them and it is such a small thing for us.

Make that call.

I wish I had phoned more.


Cellphones

This weekend, specifically after the Easter Egg hunt, we were sitting as a family.  All on their phones.

My dad took a photo of this (mmmm which means he was also using his phone) and posted it on Facebook.  Some people were pretty much disgusted that we are a family were all on our phones.

However.

We all just took part in the Easter Egg hunt with the kids.  Spent time capturing their joy on camera. We wrote letters from the Easter bunny.  Took time hiding the eggs. Helped them look for it (and helped them eat some)  We were THERE.  In the moment.

Then we started sharing the photos from our phones.

Here’s the question that I have.  I don’t really see how this is wrong?  Why would people get so upset about us sharing photos that they all love and comment on, yet are upset that we spent time on the phones to share that?

I am very aware of the social problems that phones can bring.  I’m rather strict with the kids with regards to that.  I don’t allow phones while we are at the dinner table / eating out.  We don’t spend time on phones when friends visit.  It doesn’t really affect social interaction when people are visiting.

Yet, there are times (like when we shared photos) that I honestly don’t see the problem with it.


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Story from my childhood

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Day nine, tell a story from your childhood

There are obviously many childhood stories to be remembered and told. We would have to start a fire and get ready for a long night. Yet, I have to tell only one.

I clearly remember Sundays at the dam. We would wake up hoping for the wind to blow. We had a catamaran. I loved it when the wind would push it over and we all fell in the water. Or holding on to the pipe in the front and being pulled through the water. Or if the wind would calm down, just swimming next to the catamaran, waiting for the wind to pick up again.

Often my parents would buy a bucket of KFC. A big treat for us.

Wish we took more photos way back then.


So so selfish

*Warning*  If you smoke, be prepared to feel upset about what I’m going to write.

I can write this because this is my reality. Again.  I have 1st hand experience in this and you won’t be able to change my opinion.  I know that this doesn’t happen to other people.  This happens to real people.  So don’t try.

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Smokers are selfish. 

Yes, you’ve heard this many times.   

Yes you say it’s your personal decision what you do and what right do we have to tell you what to do.

Of course it’s your decision.  It’s your decision to be selfish.  The fact that it’s your decision, doesn’t make it right.

We all know that smoking causes cancer.  Right?

You know that if you smoke, the people around you can get cancer. 

Babies exposed to second-hand smoke are two times more likely to die of SIDS. Second-hand smoke is associated with 7,500 to 15,000 hospitalizations of infants and toddlers annually, leads to 136 to 212 deaths in children 18 months of age or younger, and contributes to 8,000 to 26,000 new cases of asthma in children each year.

Not selfish?  What is it then.  A gift to those you love?  “Here…let me give you asthma.  Cancer….

So yes, that’s not selfish.  That’s your choice.

You know that you can get lung cancer from it right?  Throat cancer.

Cigarette smoking kills more Americans than AIDS, alcohol, car accidents, homicides, suicides, illegal drugs and fires combined

Yes, your grandmother who smoked her entire life didn’t die of cancer.  I’m really truly happy for her. 

    • Smoking causes many other types of cancer, including cancers of the throat, mouth, nasal cavity, oesophagus, stomach, pancreas, kidney, bladder, and cervix, and acute myeloid leukaemia.
    • People who smoke are up to six times more likely to suffer a heart attack than non-smokers, and the risk increases with the number of cigarettes smoked. Smoking also causes most cases of chronic lung disease

But, this is your choice.  You know that you have a risk of dying and you are willing to take that risk.  So if you ignore the fact that you harm those around you, yes …. this is your choice.

Do you ever think what it would do to your family and friends if you did get cancer?  If they had to watch you die from cancer.  If they were left without a Dad, a husband, a son or daughter?

Yes it’s your choice.


Supporters

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Saturday the boys had a cricket match in Schweizer Reneke.  It is about 140 km from Klerksdorp and we had to leave at 6:30 am to be on time for the games. 

This would be accepted with much enthusiasm if it were for a different sport.  The sport that is part of the Afrikaner culture.  The sport that gets fathers shouting at the referees excited and proud of their sons.  The sport where parents don’t mind leaving before sunrise on a very cold winter’s morning to drive to another town for a match.

Rugby.  Yes, it gets mothers, fathers, grandparents, uncles almal excited and next to the field. 

Not cricket though.  No, we drove there with most of the children in cars of people their parents hardly know.  They let their kids go to another town, with no support but those of the coaches and their families.

Cricket is sport loved by many but it’s not part of what makes up our culture.  So parents aren’t that keen to get up early.  To drive far. 

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Does this mean parents only support their children playing rugby because they enjoy the sport?  Not specifically because they are there to support their son?

Could it be?  If that is not the case, then why do we hardly have any parents at cricket matches?  Why do they drop of their children and go to town for the morning?

I believe this is true.  I saw it last year when Quintus was in the school choir.  I don’t think there were more than 2 or 3 parents there when they sang.

It’s sad.  Your child wants your support.  No matter what sport or activity they take part in.


Just us

We tried to figure it out.  The five of us, sitting in a restaurant.  Just us.

That would be me, my parents and my brothers.  Just us.  Not wives, husbands, children.  Just us.

It’s been at least 15 years.   Most probably longer, though. 

It felt surreal.  Nice actually.  Just us.

We had to take a photo but we had no proper camera.   Thankfully, 15 years later, they make cell phones with cameras 🙂

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Photo post

It’s summer.  Oh lovely summer.  The sun and swimming.  I love summer.

The boys get to swim “after the big rains” (as the old people used to say) or once the minimum temp is over 15 and max over 30.  Well, it’s been hot enough to swim.

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"If there is magic on the planet, it is contained in the water."

Author: Loren Eisley


Far far away

This weekend we went to Hoedspruit, where we were going to put my Grandfather’s ashes next to my Ouma’s.  This on a family farm (the farm of my dad’s cousins)  This farm is right next to the Kruger National Park.  There’s no fences between their farm and the park though, so it’s basically like going to the Kruger Park but without the cost!

My dad’s cousins took us on many game drives.  We saw some amazing animals and scenery.  Just so calming and beautiful.

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We did have some seriously stressful moments too.  You know, I’m a small town city girl.  We went on a unplanned night drive.  We heard some elephants close to the camp and decided to have a look.  Oh goodness.  You have NO idea how utterly terrifying it is in the pitch dark, when you hear lions roar, and elephants breaking trees right next to you.  More so when you have no gun protection and a little one child on your lap.  Sjoe People.  Talk about nerves on end.

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I, being the not-so-normal person that I am, needed to work while there as well.  Unfortunately the internet reception was close to none-existing.  Work still needed to be done though, so I ended up driving to a higher spot.  All by myself.  In an open Land Cruiser.  No protection.  When my dad’s cousin left me there, he warned me to rather NOT start the Cruiser of a black rhino charges  me.  … … … yeah right!

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Putting my Oupa’s ashes next to my Ouma’s was really special.  The boys were involved and I think Oupa would have liked that.  He probably would really have loved it when Zander decided to kick the rugby ball right in the middle of our little ceremony.

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It is far though.  Really really far.  Feels like days per horse or more.  F.A.R.   My dad drove and he isn’t keen on getting speeding tickets drive fast at all.

At one stage, after the sun had set and we had been in the car for HOURS…this little tired voice piped up from the back of the car:

“Oupa, you are going so slow that even big trucks with 36 wheels are passing us!”


That was different!

We were invited to attend the baptism of my cousin’s son.  A Greek baptism.

We were completely unsure of where to stand, what to touch or who to greet.  I mean out. of. our. place.

Thankfully we got a card when we walked in.  So nicely done and explaining the meaning of everything that was to happen.  That little boy was blessed, prayed for, undressed, bathed, dressed for an hour.  An entire service just for him.  For HIS baptism.  No other babies.

I can’t believe I didn’t have my camera there.  The lighting was perfect.  I could have taken brilliant photos but also because it is almost impossible to explain in words.  The church is beautiful.  The respect everyone has is touching.  I love the tradition and meaning behind everything.

Everything.  It was such an amazing experience!

I’m so used to our baptisms where there’s at least 5 kids and the minister hardly has time to mention the child’s names.

An entire hour.   Just for him.

Afterwards there was no tea and small cake at Ouma’s house.  It was a proper sit down lunch.  Pudding en alles.  Proper.

Wow.  What an amazing experience.

What a blessed little boy.  There must have been more than 150 people there.  For him.


Thoughts

* I am loving my kids at this age. I have loved each and every stage but I am really loving this. They are so easy. So proper. So loving. So nice with each other.

* This long weekend has been exactly what my family needed. We needed this time. The boys needed the ‘brother’ time. It was good not to have to share my attention and love.

* I haven’t missed being online. Reception is close to non-existing and I could only download mail if very lucky.

* I love camping. I don’t know if I would easily vacation any other way. I love how social it is. How easy it is for the boys to make friends.

* I got compliments from 2 different people about how well behaved the boys are and what good manners they have. Even if that is not always true, it is still nice to hear 🙂

Life is good


It’s complicated

As we left a restaurant this morning, another mother stopped me.  
She wanted to know if they were all mine, at the same time telling me that they are so well behaved.  (So glad she caught them on a good day!)

I hesitated for a moment.  Not sure how to answer that.  Do I say no?  The boys are but  I share ‘unofficial shared custody’ with the little girl’s mom?  Which makes her my ‘some times’ foster child? Do I even try to explain that?

I the easy way out.  Just said yes.  Sometimes that is just easier.  But it’s so much more complicated than that.

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10 %

Fourty years ago my parents got married.  Fourty years ago.  That’s many years.  Many nights.  Many days.  Many children.  Many fights.  Much laughter.

They truly are an inspiration…..or one should feel sorry for them for not giving up! 

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My mom asked my dad to give her a percentage of happy / not-so-happy years.  My dad says he’s been happy 90 % of the time.

I asked Tommie (Ek meen ek moet mos nou weet) and my dad warned him not to say anything (see he learned something in those 40 years!)

So happy anniversary Mom and Dad.  You guys are amazing.


Angels among us

Sometimes Angels walk among us.  My aunt (my dad’s sister) is one of those. 

I remember when I fell pregnant with Zander (unplanned), my grandfather was so very excited.  He told me that the third child is a special child.  Like his 3rd – Aunty Pam.  I must say in his case, she is an angel.  She’s put her life on hold, so many times to take care of my granddad.  At the drop of the hat, she would change her plans to be there for him. 

There is no way to really thank her for what she has done.  I’m in no way saying my dad and Aunty Barbara wasn’t there.  That they didn’t do their part but Aunty Pam just went way and beyond. 

She and I had lots of fun Saturday at my little nephew’s birthday party.  However I was told that I may not mention the things she did or show photos of her doing it.  Apparently I promised … even though I did say that my motto is ‘if you do it, I’ll blog about it’.  So ….

There was this random woman who busted a birthday party for a 10 year old.  We spent a lot of our time going down a water worm slide thing.  Lots of fun to be had by me and this random woman.

 

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From ashes to ashes

My grandfather is no more.   Like the big black book says “From ashes to ashes”. 

I was really sad today.  I was more emotional and upset than I thought I would be.  We all followed the pall-bearers as they carried my grandfather the coffin out.  We all watched, in silence, as they drove away with the granddad we will never see again.  There was not one person who didn’t have tears in their eyes.

The family and friends turned around to enjoy the cucumber and tomato sandwiches snacks that the sweet old ladies of the church makes.  I kept to myself an eye on the boys. 

My aunt came to me and asked why I looked so sad…and the thing is, I knew she was sad too.  So was every other person there.  Yet, they seemed to put that in their back pocket, put on a mask and enjoy the conversations.  I could not.  I could not have that experience, that last goodbye and then just go on again.

Nothing wrong with not being able to obviously. Just as there is nothing wrong with doing so.  Losing my grandfather has hit me harder than I thought.


Alone no more

As I sit here crying in the dark, I am thankful that he is no longer alone.  That he is finally with his wife again after missing her for 10 years and 5 months.  At every visit in recent years, he would say that one must never be alone.   That it’s the loneliness that gets to him.

After her funeral I was standing outside with him, holding his hand, as they drove away with my gran’s body to have her cremated.  He said, more to himself than me:  “There goes my everything”.  I never could listen to that song without thinking about him. 

I hear footsteps slowly walking,
As they gently walk across a lonely floor,
And a voice is softly saying,
Darling, this will be good-bye for ever more.

CHORUS:
There goes my reason for living,
There goes the one of my dreams,
There goes my only possession,
There goes my everything.

As my memory turns back the pages,
I can see the happy years we had before,
Now the love that kept this old heart beating,
Has been shattered by the closing of the door

No matter how old (he was to turn 88 in January) or how prepared, it still hits you.  When my cellphone rang with my dad’s ringing tone, I answered it in split seconds. I knew.  I knew he had passed away.

Yes, he is no longer in pain.  Yes, this is better for him.  It still hurts.  My Dad and his sisters have still lost their father.  The man who raised them.  Who had a big part in who they are now.

I sit here wondering if I should wake up Tommie.  I don’t think I will.  Maybe I want to cry alone.  I wonder how I will go to sleep.  How do I make my mind say ‘good night’ when it wanted to say ‘good bye’.  I wanted to see him, just one last time.  Although I think we would always want one last time.  Even if you just had.

This was the last time we saw my Oupa.  7 July 2008.

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Family photos

We have our family photos taken once a year.  Always in November.  Always by the same photographer.

How long will I continue doing this?  I can’t say but since I battle to break tradition I’ll probably continue to do so for a long time.  Probably until the boys refuse to go 😉

Also, she’s willing to put up with the loudness of my three boys 🙂

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I thank you Mom

The words Thank you just like I love you just never seem quite enough.  Not expressive or deep enough.  I also do not say thank you enough.  My mom does so much, too much, for me and my boys.  I walk out of the door every day saying, thank you.  I send my mom flowers every once in a while.  Not enough.  It never feels enough.  Not for all that she does.

Mom.  Thank you.

Thank you for holding my babies until I was able to do so myself.

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Thank you for bathing them, while I was recuperating in bed.

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It’s not those momentous times that stand out though.  It’s the times we walked into the room and found you like this.

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Not just once or twice but I remember Jason not being able to sleep any other way but on your chest.  You would lie like that for hours until he has had his first nap.  It wasn’t just him.  Both the others loved to take their morning nap like that.  He would just insist.

Mom.  You are always there.  For all their milestones.  You are willing to move into the background when it’s big days, like first days to school.  Even though I know how badly you want to be there.  You spend so much time with them, that I can honestly say the boys have two mothers.  Two moms who care and love for them equally.  You amaze me.  I stand back and look at you in awe.

You totally put the boys first.  You are willing to stand in when I need to take one of them to hospital.  Taking over everything.  Without me having to ask. 

I cannot thank you enough for having the boys there.  For me not having to worry about them.  Not having to take them to a daymom.  For allowing me to work longer hours.

Thank you.  Again it doesn’t seem enough but thank you.  I love you.  I know my boys adore you.  You influence who they are and they are pretty amazing 🙂  They must get that from you.

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Thank you!!! 


Not easy to lose

Our nephew played in the National 0/11 rugby play-outs on Friday and his team made it through to the finals.  Since he is captain of the team, we felt we just had to be there to support him and drove 400 km there on Saturday morning.

His team was ahead 3 – 0 when the final siren went off.  The boys ‘relaxed’ and thought they had won the game but the ref had not blown his whistle and the other team scored a try.  They lost.

Losing is not easy.  Losing after the final siren went off, really sucks.  I felt so badly for the kids.  On the other side we were so proud of them.  They got silver medals and honestly you can’t ask more from a team who had 5 children from a younger age group in their team (because they don’t have enough players of that age)

I think the parents are way more upset and down about the game than the kids though.  The kids had finished crying and showed SUCH great sportsmanship, while the parents are still walking around trying to rationalize the loss.

After the game we thought it to be a good idea to drive 600 km back with the other parents, so that our boys can visit more with their cousin.  Plus another 200 km to get back home today.

Good thing we don’t mind driving!


Sagole Big Tree

We normally try to show the boys something different when we go away. I want them to experience as many different things as possible. The only true way to gain general knowledge is by seeing and doing and reading.

The boys recently asked me what the biggest tree in our country is. Now as with most things in life, this is a big dispute but it is said that this tree – the Baobab tree – in Limpopo is the biggest. It is over 3 000 years old or not depending on the source

We decided to take the boys there this past weekend while visiting my brother and his family. It was a long drive, especially back when I wanted to kill my brother and husband for the way they were driving.

It was so worth the trip. This tree is huge. I took loads of photos (just check my flickr). There’s a cave inside big enough to be a dining room….I mean you could fit a table and chairs….big.

The drive to the tree and back was over 300 km. A trip I didn’t plan on doing anytime soon until Jason asked if we could go again. My immediate reply was no because we have now seen it. But then he said that we do need to see it in summer too.

How do you say no to that kind of logic.


The road is long…

My brother and his family lives roughly 610 km from us. That’s over 7 hours if you stop. Which we do. I have three boys. We stop. At least once.

Every time we go there, I promise myself that I will not again. Not just for a weekend. It has to be for at least 5 days. However, the kids nag ask so often that we do end up going. I complain all the way. The kids don’t. They obviously handle the long distance better than me lol

But then I see the kids with their cousins and how much fun they have together and it’s all worth it. I wish we lived closer together.
There’s a house for sale next to my brother’s home and my boys asked us about a zillion times if we can buy that house. I think that would be their ideal world. Especially if my folks could move in right across or next to us. Not so sure how ideal it would be for the adults though!


Do not go there

Kids weren’t invited to my cousins wedding last weekend.  They offered to have a babysitter look after the kids but I don’t know this person AT ALL and my kids have never stayed with a babysitter.  I sure wasn’t going to let them stay with I-don’t-know-how-many-other-kids with a babysitter I dont’ know.

From the beginning I said that I was not going to stay too long.  Tommie was at the guesthouse alone with the boys and I know that Zander doesn’t go to sleep easily if I’m not with him. 

I greeted the family including the bride’s sister (who also has a daughter aged 3) .  She wanted to know why we were leaving so early (it was 8:30 pm and the wedding started at 3:00 pm already).  I explained to her that Zander doesn’t like going to sleep without me and would just be giving Tommie a hard time.  “Oh you spoil them too much” she said.

I spoil them too much?  I of course jumping on my high horse replied with “No I just love them”

I mean come on.  My kids weren’t with me.  I wanted to go back to them.  I wanted to make sure Zander goes to sleep easily.  I didn’t want to be at the wedding without my husband even though I think the wedding was stunning and relaxed and probably one of the nicest I have ever been to.

We are different.  She doesn’t mind leaving her little girl in the care of someone she doesn’t really know.  I do.  Don’t judge me on that and say I spoil my kids.  Don’t go there.