Two of Us

He’s turning 40

Ah, my old fart.

I mean, my husband.

Mr Thick is turning 40 very soon and I decided to put together a nice little celebration for him. You see, he hasn’t had much of a birthday do since two years ago, when Aidan came along. In that month of March, we were both frazzled and exhausted and I hardly had any wits about me to plan my next meal, let alone a birthday. Last year, we were in Perth with my family and our plans were scuppered, thanks to the Easter holiday which closed all businesses and the lovely Italian restaurant that I had planned to check out. We ended up at San Churro, where I managed to sneak a cake under his nose, complete with a candle.

This year, I decided to up the ante just a wee bit and planned a surprise do for him. It was meant to be a Steve Jobs-themed party and I had requested my friends to come in black tops and geek glasses. But ah well, most of our friends did not come dressed up according to the theme, which was a real shame.

Anyway, I had everything done. Props, checked. Delicious cake from Mrs Ergul, checked. Food, catered, checked. Friends to meet at a certain time before food is delivered, checked.

Yay surprise gonna work!

Until it didn’t.

The food delivery guy showed up a good half hour ahead of schedule and camped outside my door. He rang me and I said I wouldn’t be able to let him in until 430pm and he said fine, he’ll wait. Husband went into the kitchen to get a drink, saw the delivery guy waiting outside and asked why there was someone there. I lied through my teeth and muttered something about it being the neighbour’s clearly, since I hadn’t catered anything.

Phew.

And then that annoying man went into the kitchen AGAIN and the delivery guy saw him. The delivery guy promptly WAVED AT MY HUSBAND and said, “HELLO, DELIVERY!”

My confused husband then opened the door and told the dude that he had the wrong house. The delivery guy insisted that he was at the right place and husband asked to see the receipt. Of course, my name was there and Mr Thick turned to shoot me a suspicious look.

Meanwhile, I was trying to dig a hole into the floor of our flat and crawl into it.

“Is this one of your surprises again?” he asked, trying hard to contain his amusement but failing.

“GO AWAY INTO THE ROOM AND DON’T COME OUT UNTIL I SAY SO,” I commanded. He walked off, with a grin on his face.

I duly gave the delivery guy a scolding (“There is a reason I specifically said 430, right?! I told you to wait, right?! You spoil my surprise for my husband lah!”) and hauled the food in.

Five minutes later, our friends arrived at our doorstep and shouted “SURPRISE!”

You know what, someone up there is clearly trying to tell me that I should steer clear of planning parties. All my parties, so far, have “failed” in one way or another. Next time, I’m just going to buy a cake and say, “NAH. Happy birthday.”

Two of Us

My valentine

Valentine’s Day is pretty much a non-event for us every year and I wasn’t planning to pen anything down at all. Many years ago, we decided that it was an overpriced, commercialised phenomenon and we wanted to have nothing to do with it.

But then, as fate would have it, I was asked by my students to help them out as a guest for their radio talkshow assessment today. And the theme? Why Valentine’s Day, of course.

As I looked through the list of questions that they had prepared for me, my horror grew.

Tell us about your first valentine’s date (if you remember)
What’s the most extreme thing you did?
What’s your favourite memory/sweetest thing your husband did

NOTHING. CAME. TO. MY. MIND.

Seriously. I dug and dug around in the archives of my mind and I came up with NOTHING.

Of course, the fact that I am extremely sleep-deprived and therefore has an impaired memory (it’s been medically proven!) doesn’t help. And, err, we haven’t celebrated Valentine’s Day in, like, forever. Plus, our first Valentine’s Day was over 14 years ago.

So I sent Mr Thick an SOS text. And he was as equally clueless as I was.

Valentines Day grab
Hah!

I thought I was going to ruin the students’ assessment because I would have nothing to say, seeing how I remember nothing. But, as it turns out, I did have things to share and as I was talking, it struck me that I, and we, have really changed and remained unchanged over the years.

Back when I was much younger (UH-HMM), I had these silly, fancy notions of love and romance. You know, the grand gestures – dinner, flowers, the works. But now that we are older and wiser (and really tired because the other love of our lives DOES NOT SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT), my ideas of the perfect relationship and the perfect date have changed.

At the end of the day, it really doesn’t matter what I do with my husband. We could be sitting down on the sofa and watching Glee together, or sitting down for a cup of coffee while the littlest of us all slept in the stroller, or lying in bed and talking about our day. It’s all very simple, and mundane, and boring, and nondescript.

But it doesn’t matter. Because we are doing it together.

And my idea of the perfect relationship? When two imperfect souls meet and fit perfectly well together.

I don’t know why I never realised it earlier but it struck me one night that hey, when he starts telling me about a joke or making a funny remark, I instinctively know where he is going. We can complete each other’s sentences. And we pick up each other’s slack. When one is sick, the other takes over automatically. And we are always fighting – to let the other charge his or her phone, to let the other have the last juicy bit of dinner etc.

We fight – but for each other.

And that’s what really counts, at the end of the day, even more so than beautiful flowers and lavish gifts.

Happy Valentine’s Day to the best partner I could ever ask for. ❤

Two of Us

Happy 14

Dear husband,

Last year, I wrote that 14 is going to be even better than 13. And I was right. Because this year has been so damn wonderful.

We started out the year as exhausted parents of one and we are ending the year as exhausted parents of one, with another on the way. But it’s not just our roles as parents that have made this year a marvellous one, it’s that you and I are still crazy in love with each other.

It’s so hard to imagine. 14 years we have been with each other, that’s 14 years of dealing with all those insecurities and mismatched expectations and external frustrations. The insecurities and expectations, we have long gone past that. And what’s left is still the undeniable truth that we make each other laugh and love.

When I was a kid, I wanted to marry a handsome jock who would buy me a house and treat me like a princess. When I grew up, I married a geek who adopted two cats with me, bought me an iPhone docking system and treats me like an equal. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Because you make me laugh so damn hard, every single day.
Because I still look at you and think, damn, I love this man so much.
Because we complete each other’s sentences.
Because we understand each other’s crappy, lame jokes.
Because you have stepped into fatherhood so perfectly and naturally.
Because you buy me ice-cream and milkshake when you sense that I need one desperately.
Because you rub my feet and calves when I am tired (and you have even taught our son to do it!).
Because you make me hot ginger tea when I am feeling sick with nausea (like last night).
Because you are the shining example to our boy on how to treat a girl right and with respect.
Because you let me get that 10 minutes of extra sleep while you take Aidan out of the room to feed him breakfast and change his diaper.
Because I buy too many pretty plates and you merely shake your head at me.
Because we have such fun cycling dates at night for ice-cream.
Because I never feel alone – never ever – when I am with you.
Because you think I am awesome and super capable and the Best Mum In The World.

And…

Because you love me so damn much and you let me know it.

There – 15 reasons for the 14 years that we have been together. I have outdone myself and you are waiting for me to go for our anniversary lunch.

To many more adventurous, crazy, laughter-filled and lovely 14 years ahead of us.

Love you many many.

We got shot again

Two of Us

Married life #28

I just had to record this down for posterity’s sake.

One morning while we were at brunch, husband and I were chatting about the education system in Singapore.

Me:…blah blah blah…So Dr Tim Elmore says…blah blah…Oh and I love Dr Ken Robinson blah blah…

Him: You are just name dropping and showing off.

Me: I absolutely am. I’m good. I’m an educationer.

(Pregnant pause)

Me: Oh fuck. Did I just say that?

Two of Us

Misinterpretation

The husband mistook my frantic SOS waves to the baby monitor for a, oh I don’t know, friendly gesture.

The only friendly gesture that I want to show him is one involving a certain finger.

End of story, because I was lying in the dark for an hour with our clingy, koala of a child, shivering in my outfit of nursing tank and shorts. I would have totally gone to sleep with said child – whose arms were tightly wound around my neck and whose entire body was on top of mine – except for the fact that I hadn’t showered and was feeling pretty funky. Also, I needed to empty my bladder. Like now.

Okay, end of end of story. For real this time.

Good thing the child is cute.
Two of Us

Married life #27

Me: Check out this photo that I had posted on Instagram. And the caption.

Him: (looks) Oh. Aiyah, you should have cropped it a bit higher.

Me: I KNOW RIGHT. I only realised it after I posted it.

Him: Yah. My tummy is still quite obvious.

Me: Too late.

Him: Can you delete the post, crop off the bottom a bit more, and then repost it on Instagram?

TAH DAH!!!

What tummy

Your wish is my command as am v v amicable and loving wife, in addition to being Fabulously Gorgeous.

The organised chaos, Two of Us

Enjoying the good, good life

Last weekend, I attended my cousin’s wedding and for their photo montage, the couple used this song, OneRepublic’s “Good Life”.

It’s been stuck on my mind since then and as I put it on repeat mode (habit of mine, I can repeat a song a gazillion times, heh), I can’t help but reflect on the lyrics.

Because I’m really leading the good life now at 32.
(Yes, I realise I am revealing my age to the Internetz. And no, I don’t care, I’m proud of how old I am.)

Back in my teens, I was chasing popularity. I wanted desperately to be one of the popular girls but I failed miserably, what with my bad haircuts, thick glasses and bad skin. I wanted to be liked by everyone and I probably tried too hard.

In my 20s, I was seeking myself. Call it an existential angst if you want, but I was trying to find my place in life and the world. I didn’t know what I was good for and looked really hard to find a job that made me sing. I yearned to be one of those chic women with the latest IT bag and perfectly coiffed hair, high heels clicking in harmony.

And now that I am in my 30s, I am astonishingly comfortable in my own skin. I am no longer young and beautiful, true. But I am confident of who I am, of what I am. I love husband and we are still crazy in love. My little man has taught me patience, humility and gratitude and not a day goes by without him bringing us laughter and love.

This has gotta be the good life.

I don’t have that coveted Chanel bag. I’m not travelling half as much as I dreamed of. We often wonder why our bank accounts are not growing. Our flat is done up simply. I get a thrill from going grocery shopping.

But we make our lives. We decide that this is our life, this is how we intend to live, and we should make every day a good one.

Some days are harder than others, some nights drag on for longer than they should. But we are happy. And contented. Because there is so much to feel good about.

Speaking of weddings, the best parts are usually the montages and the speeches by the bride and groom. Montages are so run of the mill, it’s true, but it always warms my heart to see pictures of the couple as they were growing up, as well as those of them creating memories together. And the speeches, they tell you a lot about who they are, and what they went through in their relationship.

Every relationship is unique and each one has its own story. Ours is written here, for our son to read when he is older. And I love listening to these stories, I love hearing about how two people meet, fall in love and make it work.

I don’t really remember the details of the speech that my beloved gave on our wedding day. He sang to me and for me, and then said something about thanking me, about it being fated. I think. But the intense joy, the feeling that it was the most amazing day of our loves – that has stayed with me for the past four years. And as we approach our fifth year together, I’m glad that he’s by my side as my partner and the father of my baby.

This could really be the good life, the good, good life.

To my cousin and his wife, have a blessed marriage ahead that’s full of love and laughter. And thanks for reminding me that life is beautiful.

Jimmy & Yann – our lives, our faces, our love from Jimmy Liew on Vimeo.