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We are 10

Dear Aidan and Zac,

Before the two of you came along, there was the two of us – me and Papa.

We met in 1998, got together when the new millennium rolled in, broke up a couple of years later, realised that nobody else measured up to each other, got back together again (it’s all been recorded down for posterity here), and then recited our wedding vows to our family and friends on a rainy September 14 evening in 2008.

After the wedding, we made a home and decided it was time to have children. We tried, failed, went for numerous IUIs, took the plunge and went for IVF, failed and then were pregnant by surprisetwice. That’s where you two come in.

Six and a half years of parenthood have flown by. We fought, cried, sunk into our beds each night in sheer exhaustion, drank copious amounts of caffeine, laughed at every antic you display, burst with joy at every milestone that you hit and drove our blood pressure sky high whenever you did something that made us mad. We stopped holding hands because we had to hold yours, and then started holding hands again when you decided you no longer needed ours to keep you steady. We kissed you, and we kissed each other just to make you squeal.

That’s your papa and I, in a nutshell. That’s 10 years of marriage summed up in a few pithy words. These words, of course, are not quite enough to encapsulate every moment, every tear, every smile, every angry thought, every loving gesture, every frustrated silence, every (temporary…trust me) murderous intent.

Oh yes, anger and frustration and sadness. There’s definitely some of those in our marriage.

Because you see, my dear littles, our marriage is not perfect. We have highs and lows. There are times when we love each other dearly but dislike each other intensely concurrently. There are moments when we would rather be alone than with each other. There are times when we want to spend time with others, away from each other (and you…but you’d probably cry if I tell you that so oops.)

And you know what? That’s absolutely fine. I’ve only been married once in my life but I reckon that no married couple go through only the highs and never the lows. At the end of the day, if there is anything that you learn from our marriage, it is that we make our choice. Every. Single. Day.

We choose to love each other. We choose to let each other have that last piece of chocolate. We choose to let go of our individual pride and be the unit that our family needs. We choose to walk our own path together, away from the naysayers.

We choose us, over and over again.

Remember, our marriage is a choice made by two individuals to commit to each other. We are still individuals but we are also equal partners.

And so it has been for the past 10 years. And for many more 10 years, hopefully.

You always tell mummy that you don’t want us to die, you want us to stay with you forever. Well, my darling boys, you know that is impossible and that’s okay. Because I am pretty damn sure that when papa and I are dead and gone, we will still be together. If not in your hearts and memories, then probably in the afterlife, roaming the world together as we have always intended.

Here’s to many more wedding anniversaries celebrated with the two of you, the greatest gifts of our marriage.

Love,
Mummy

The phantom pain

Early this morning, husband took off on his business trip. We’ve never really been apart ever since we got together, barring his business trip to Chicago almost three years back.

And it feels odd.

We are not the sort who do things together all the time. He has a life and so do I. While we have a very, very large common pool of friends, we do have social connections that do not overlap. Even when we are together, we like to have our own space to do our own thing.

But now, as the partner who is left behind, I am feeling such a strange gap. It feels like someone amputated my limb and replaced it with a prosthetic. Like, I can do all these things by myself and I know I can handle this household with these two littles on my own. I can go for parent-teacher meeting, throw the kiddo a birthday party and juggle my full-time job and their schedules by myself (even though it’s tiring as hell).

The limb is working but feels empty, void. Like there is something bereft.

I suppose it’s natural, given that I am the one “left behind”. I suppose this means I am missing the man. I suppose that this also means that I have probably taken our partnership for granted. And I suppose this means I need to start getting used to it because there will probably be more of these trips.

I suppose this tells me that while yes, I can live without this man, I don’t want nor like to.

One day down, 13 more to go before my partner comes back and fills this gap up with his larger than life presence.

Mid-Autumn’s night dream

Seven Mid-Autumn Festivals ago, we pledged our lives to each other, for better, for worse, in sickness and in health.

Thicknthin: Husband and wife

(Not including for richer or for poorer because I completely missed that out when I was reciting my vows. Yeah, I totally fluffed it up, heh.)

We had envisioned a joyful celebration under the stars and the beautiful moon, as the waves crashed upon the shoreline. It was perfectly planned, the date was certainly not chosen at random. There was going to be singing and dancing, and feasting. We even picked out the spot where we would be wed, under this tree:

Under the tree...

The morning of our wedding day was scorching hot. And then it started raining in the evening.

Thicknthin: Thoughts

In the end, the decorations lovingly put up by my dear friends were drenched and washed out. The lanterns that we had placed on every single seat were left unused. We had to hastily shift all the tables and chairs indoors and it was, honestly, chaotic.

Instead of reciting our vows under that tree, we were saying “I do” under the bright lights of the function room.

Thicknthin: Unveiling

I was pretty disappointed and heartbroken at that moment when Mr Thick said that we had no choice but to move indoors. But it turned out fine: we still got married, had heaps of fun and our friends got roaringly drunk. It was still one of the best nights of our lives.

Seven years ago, we became husband and wife on September 14. This year, on that date, we spent the afternoon together, just the two of us. It was a simple date, nothing fancy, no expensive meal, no lavish presents. But it was time well-spent. I was feeling tired from the long and exhausting semester, feeling deflated from just about everything, and so the day went by just like that. We ended up picking up the boys and spending the evening with my sister and her family.

Seven Mid-Autumn festivals later, on this day, we spent it with our boys and then with his family. Serendipity, I suppose. The night is quiet with both A and Z finally sleeping, and the mister has dozed off with them. It’s just me, with a slice of moon cake and my two cats keeping me company.

I’m home. And happy.

I don’t know what the future holds for us and how the next Mid-Autumn Festival will look like. I mean, in the past seven years, we have gone through a fair bit of pain, drama, trauma, blood and tears. There were times when I had no idea if we were ever going to remain us.

But here we are, tired but happy. With two littles and two feline babies in tow. He’s not perfect but neither am I, and together we balance out each other’s shortcomings. Like I have always said, we may not be perfect to each other but we are certainly perfect for each other.

Marriage is hard work, staying in love with someone is so much more difficult than what those ridiculous books and movies tell you. It’s a choice, it’s an active choice that we make every single day.

And so I choose him. As our wedding vows go, until death do us part.

Evening at the Sports Hub

(Or if he becomes poorer. In which case, HASTA LA VISTA BABY!)

15 years of you and I

anniversary

15 years ago, we decided to try being us.
It hasn’t always been easy.
There were ups and downs.
We walked away from each other.
And then realised we didn’t want to live without each other.

Here we are now, 15 years later.
That’s half of my life spent with you.
And yet it feels like it’s never enough.

There are still countries to explore together.
Ice-cream to share.
Photos to take.
Coffee to drink.
Geeky gadgets to ooh and aah over.

So to the love of my life, here’s to many more 15 years ahead of us.

Love you many many.

Weekend brunch at Wooloomooloo

So. If you are looking for more excitement after the whole tofu debacle, I am sorry to have to disappoint you. There will, hopefully, be NO MORE TOFU NONSENSE happening in my life. My poor heart cannot handle it.

Anyhow, this is about our sixth wedding anniversary. Also known as the anniversary where we did not exchange gifts. It’s probably not the first anniversary that we have celebrated without any gifts but then again, it’s not like we need a tangible “gift” these days. Truly, the best gift my husband can offer me is his presence at home at 7pm on weekdays. Handling two littles in the evenings after work on my own – feeding them, bathing them, putting them to bed – can be a hair-tearing affair. At any one moment, someone is crying and demanding my attention.

But that’s another story for another day.

For our anniversary, I decided that the best thing I could do for Mr Thick – and myself – is to treat us to a good lunch sans kids. That’s right, we get to order food that we want to eat and shove food only into our mouths. We don’t have to distract a crying child or scold an errant child. We would get to eat in peace and with two hands.

At that time, I was seriously craving some steak. I blame it on my pregnant girlfriend, who kept talking about her beefy needs. Most of the good steakhouses were not open on a Sunday afternoon, however, and we couldn’t do dinner because Aidan would never let anyone else but his parents put him to bed. So lunch it had to be and after some serious searching, I decided upon Wooloomooloo‘s weekend brunch.

For $68++ per person, you get to tuck into a five-course brunch. And what a fine brunch it was!

For the first course, I opted to have eggs benedict while he had the fried hen’s egg.

Anniversary lunch

The eggs benny paired with the smoked salmon was a simple dish that was done excellently. I really liked the accompanying grilled asparagus and I am not even a fan of asparagus to begin with. Mr Thick’s fried hen’s egg was not the main attraction of the dish – instead, it was the little hash brown, tomato and avocado mountain that he enjoyed most.

Anniversary lunch

After the plates were cleared, I was presented with my choice of soup/salad: lobster bisque.

Anniversary lunch

It was marvellous! There were generous chunks of lobster in the soup and it was robustly flavoured. My only peeve was that it was a tad too salty.

He, on the other hand, decided on the Wooloomooloo Tuna Nicoise salad. Which was nice but did not blow his mind. Well. He’s a meat guy, after all, and it would take a super fantastic salad to impress him.

Anniversary lunch

My choice of appetiser was a no-brainer: HELLO OYSTERS!! I haven’t had one in more than a year (pregnancy and raw foods don’t really go) and I was thrilled to have some. These were some excellent oysters too, all fresh and sea brine-y flavours exploding in my mouth.

Anniversary lunch

And because I was also eyeing the wild mushroom risotto, husband kindly ordered it for his appetiser even though he’s not usually a fan of risotto. See? No need for gifts, a simple gesture like this will do!

Anniversary lunch

Oh man. The risotto. When it arrived, he took a whiff and said, “WAH. Potent.” And it was. The cheese, oh the cheese. I love smelly cheeses and the Stilton was so amazingly pungent. We thought that it was just a fantastic dish. Thank goodness that it wasn’t a full-sized portion though – you can and will feel a bit sick of the creamy risotto midway through devouring it.

For the main course, it was a no-brainer: BEEF! I chose the Australian grass-fed filet mignon while he picked the Australian Black Angus vs. USDA Prime Sirloin.

Anniversary lunch

Unfortunately, while I had requested for my steak to be medium done, it arrived on my table pretty well-cooked. The waiter sent it back to the kitchen when I pointed out the mistake and my dish finally reached me in the correct doneness. And it was DELICIOUS.

So was his beef, apparently.

Anniversary lunch

By the time the desserts rolled around, we were stuffed. We could not finish the Wooloomooloo cheesecake and bread & butter pudding, as yummy as they were.

Anniversary lunch

Anniversary lunch

What made this even more special was the wait staff’s attention to detail. I had indicated that it was our anniversary in my reservation and they did up the dessert ever so nicely for us. And the maitre’d promptly fished out a camera to take a photo of us with the cheesecake and had the photo printed and framed for us in a jiffy. You could tell that this was a very professional and well-oiled machine, although it could have been a warmer machine (they were very polite but also very brisk and non-smiling).

At the end of the meal, we were two very happy persons. It was great being able to spend time alone with each other AND have a great meal at the same time. I mean, we got to rock up to the restaurant all scrubbed up and in our Sunday best. I was actually wearing a jumpsuit! With makeup on! And carrying a – get this – CLUTCH. Awesome or what?

Anniversary lunch

And to cap off this wonderful day? We went home to a baby who had refused the bottle (and was starving) and then whisked the boys off for some grocery shopping at NTUC.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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