Sunday, 16 June 2013

Did you ever imagine, Dad?

picture by Laurence Jarrett-Kerr

Did you ever imagine, when sat in the park drinking cider with the boys, that one day you’d be a Dad?

Did you ever imagine, whilst working on irrigation projects in Kenya, that one day you’d bring a wife here, and then conceive twin daughters?

And then have two more daughters?

And take them all back to Africa a few years later?

Did you ever imagine, whilst DJ-ing at youth club discos in Fareham that you’d one day have four daughters who love love love to dance?

Did you ever imagine, when you were captain of the hockey team at school, that you’d spend hours teaching a mini team of your own how to throw, and catch, and cycle, and swim?

Did you ever imagine, whilst camping with your mum and dad, that you’d introduce a wife and children to caravans and tents and cliff-side walks?

Did you ever imagine, when studying engineering that you’d spend years working as an engineer, and come home every day to five women who greet you with hugs at the door, and eat dinner with you, and talk about every feminine and embarrassing topic under the sun in front of you?!

Did you ever imagine, when it was just you and a motorbike, that one day you’d drive all around the country taking daughters to university and airports and bringing them home again and helping with house moves and weddings and visiting and cheering and supporting?

Did you imagine how complicated and different and independent and strong and fragile and brave and scared and how very much in need of a good Dad four sisters could be?

And did you ever imagine
and do you know
how much love and pride 
four daughters could have
and do have
For you?


Thursday, 13 June 2013

Realities of [my] marriage / realities of me as a married person



I didn’t go into marriage with a whole load of expectations.  21 months ago I was still quite surprised to be getting married at all, let alone at only 24.  I’d learnt from watching friends that marriage isn’t always everything people hope or expect it to be (in both positive and negative ways), so I decided to enter into the adventure with a pretty open mind, I’d say. 

However, there were a few things I thought would change, what with moving from single to married life.  Bear in mind that it was a bigger jump than for most people:  before getting married I’d never lived with any boy my own age – boyfriend or not – and neither had I had sex.  Yeh, bit crazy I know.  

So here are a few expectations I had, and the actual truth...

I’d wear sexy nightwear to bed
We both usually sleep in old, threadbare PE shirts from secondary school and pyjama bottoms with animals on. Very sexy.

I’d love sharing a bed and we’d cuddle all night
Ha.  It actually took ages to get used to sharing a bed, especially because our beds so far have been quite small and uncomfortable.  I’ll admit I would happily ‘snuggle’ all night, because I always feel cold – but apparently that’s because I’m emitting it all toward hubby and making him too hot.  And...another reason why he doesn’t want me nestling up to him is that I snore in his ear. Just a tiny bit.  OK OK so maybe he had to buy ear plugs recently...
So after chatting and ‘what-not’ (!) there’s a goodnight kiss and we both turn over and sleep back to back.
Does anyone actually ‘spoon’ all night anyways?  What does the person behind do with their arm to prevent it going numb?  I swear it must just be another one of those film-lies that make us all feel inadequate.

Oh and also, morning breath! Nuff said.

I’d look older – you know, more wifely
People still ask me how college is going and I still get ID’ed when buying alcohol.  Even last week when at Penzance Whetherspoons with two friends in their 30’s!  That said, I’m still wearing clothes I had as a teenager so I might not be helping myself.

I’d turn into a ‘proper lady’ that takes care of her appearance
Hmm.  Sorry hubby to disappoint.  I’m still lazy when it comes to hair removal, and I rarely wear makeup.  In my mind that makes it all the more special when I do.  I’m not sure Mr Q appreciates this point of view.  Ah well. Too late now! [evil laugh]

I wouldn’t miss my old surname
I was happy to change my name – I’m not famous, I’m not a published author, and I like the sound of my new surname.  But there are moments, especially when I’m around my family, that I miss being a Pike and am sad not to be immediately identified with the Pike clan.  I also still call myself Katrina Pike when I talk to myself!

All in all I suppose what hasn’t changed a whole lot, is me!  And these expectations were more superficial than anything else.  They don’t mean a whole lot when it comes down to love, which is most important.  (Although I do think it’s good for us girls to look and feel beautiful from time to time, for our own sake as much as the other half).

There’s other things that I didn’t expect – like the fact I’m now used to and enjoy referring to Mr Q as ‘my husband’.
How we make each other laugh more now than before.
That we’re not bored of each other yet (!)
AND that I haven’t totally scared Mr Q away with my tears, moods, and general being a complicated woman.

So there we go.

Marriage doesn’t look exactly how I imagined.

But I like it.

What expectations of yours have been proved wrong (or right?)

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

There's a whole lot of stuff to be thankful for...

So as I said, there's been a lot of good things lately.

First off, I got me a new camera!  I've had my last camera for about seven years now, so it's a little out of date to say the least.  It's very exciting to have something that's quicker and takes great pictures.

I learnt how to ride a scooter... the instructor said I was a 'natural', so I was pretty chuffed!...although I was just riding a tiny 50cc moped - which suits my size, but did still look a bit ridiculous!  Soon I'll be riding the Cornish roads on a bike, who woulda thought I'd be a 'biker'?! Haha.  There's quite a few around these parts.

We went to Plymouth for a day as part of the process of Mr Q getting his passport.  It was beautifully sunny and we had a lovely time wondering about along the sea front and sitting on the grassy 'Hoe'. AND, even better news, hubby now has a passport!! Finally finally finally... at last we can have some European adventures without worrying about visas, etc...

Of course, I've especially enjoyed the sunshine of late, we even went for a quick sea dip on a visit to Porthleven - nearly froze my butt off but it was worth it!  Now the rain and fog and wind have returned but we've got an escape planned to a sunny place very soon. WOO HOO!

We met some very cute kittens at a BBQ in Helston.  I would say I'm not a cat person BUT they were very sweet and we spent most of the evening just watching them play.  Almost tempted to get one... if only they stayed as kittens!

My little sister came to visit this week and we went on a nice walk along the coast between Porthgwarra and Land's End.  Discovered this sandy beach which I think is Nanjizzle.  Loving exploring!

And finally, some of the best news: Mr Q has just got himself a job.  Praise the Lord!

So yeh there we go, lotsa good stuff in life right now.  Lots to be thankful for. Yep yep yep.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

A whole lotta something and nothing (or, 'adjusting')

I haven't written for a while.  Not sure why.  Maybe because I haven't felt strongly enough about anything in recent weeks.  I think the combination of missing Brighton friends, enjoying and exploring our new home, meeting new people, and continuing to adjust to a totally different way of life has left me feeling a) TIRED -even though I'm only working about half the hours I used to and b) a little bit overwhelmed.  Which in my case sometimes means feeling a bit down, or a bit numb.  Which seems a strange consequence when you consider how much has actually gone on in the last couple of months.

And that's the thing.  In some ways it feels like we've been here for ages, but it really has only been just over 2 months.  So having spent the last couple of weeks feeling a bit frustrated at myself that not everything has fallen totally into place yet, I'm thinking maybe it's OK to give myself a bit of a break.  Maybe it's OK I don't exactly know where and how to spend all my time and what and who to focus my energy on.  Yet.  Because I know I don't want to continue in this floaty-kind-of-vague stage for much longer.  But I guess it's also OK to still be finding my feet, and to spend a little longer deciding how life down here is going to look.

And, in amongst the slightly unsettled feeling, I know this is where I want to be.

And, there's been a whole lotta good times and good news, about which I'll write soon. And be less vague! Promise...
Spirituality is always about how we see. It’s not about earning or achieving some kind of merit. Once you see rightly, the rest follows and the road widens. You don’t need to push the river, because you are already in it—and floating along! The Great Life is already living within us and we only gradually learn how to say yes to this always-existent Life. This Life is so large and deep and spacious that it even includes its opposite, death.

Adapted from 'Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer' pp.32-34 (Richard Rohr)