Bacon.  The story of a pig. 

Dear friends and other interesting creatures, 

It started when the x person and I bought a house just after my 18th birthday. I realised I could have a party! 

Hosting a party carried on into my second marriage, where it became more church and family focussed. Gatherings,  afternoon teas and surprise parties.  I remember my (step)  Dad’s dad,  Oupa Bert saying I was the most gracious hostess ever and what a treat it was to visit. 

My childrens birthday parties were well attended,  every detail perfectly planned celebrations. As soon as a party was finished,  the birthday boy or girl would start planning their next birthday party. It was something I excelled at. I loved it. 

Then the sickness came.  May 2011. 

Since our move from estate living, where the river ran through it, to urban living in an area for the newly weds and the nearly deads, @SirNoid and I had totally stopped entertaining at home. 

Our previous residence saw me effortlessly inviting fifty of our closest friends for a catered chef cooked meal to perfectly cooked steaks by the resident chef, @SirNoid. 

Any reason I could ever come up with would warrant a dinner party.  My Mammie said to me she has no idea from whom I got this “let’s entertain!” flair from, but I loved it. My Mammie is a very private person and doesn’t need people the way I do. 

The only thing I miss about having a big house with a garden to groom and a pool to keep blue, is the space to entertain. 

Yet….. Do I want a big house again? I don’t think so. The rain would have turned the garden into a jungle and the pool into a swamp. I did not enjoy having to colour chart those things.  

I love that we can pretty much “lock up and go”. I have no security fears where we live. We have enough space not to share a bathroom, and @SirNoid still has a “man cave” to smoke in. 

Now our entertainment is meeting our friends at restaurants (without play areas). Watching a football match in a pub and drinks before a show. Movies and arranged events. 

The circle of life. The difference between raising a family and being a couple in the urban jungle? 

Oh yes. I need to buy bacon. 

I wish you enough, 

Wenchy 

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What are you, but my very own? I love you!

Long before I even had big teeth or school shoes, I knew and felt deep down in my heart that all I wanted was to one day be a real mommy, and a nurse (because my mommy had been a nurse before she got me, and I was so in love with the beautiful freckled nurse on the photo). My little scraggly passed-down rag-doll was a pathetic looking dirty lifeless little child who could do just as well without me. Who could love something that couldn’t even talk or play or cry or fall asleep at my lullabies or bleed or ask why or swallow my mud-pies? 

I knew I wouldn’t be a daddy, because daddies were big and strong and had enormous warm laps and huge powerful hands and feet and voices. I was much too skinny to be able to grow that much and my voice was squeaky and soft. Anyway, my brothers’ wouldn’t even allow me to play with their dinky toys, so why would I be allowed to drive a big car or a truck. And daddies had short hair, and I could sit on mine.

When Robert from the co-op gave me my first kiss in our tree-house during my 6thbirthday party, I thought he would of course be the daddy when I became mommy. I remember swallowing a sixpence at that same party, but it was coughingly wrenched out of me. I still can’t keep money for long. Then we moved away to a faraway farm and Robert must have become some other mommy’s daddy. I suppose my wannabemother cravings were satisfied to some extent on the farm, with lots of little “hanslammertjies” needing to be bottle-fed, and a younger sister and brother to take care of. 

I was always willing and able to clean grazes on knees and dress bloody wounds (and wipe snotty noses). When my little brother landed under the wheels of Dad’s car while he was reversing, I actually stood my ground and didn’t run away. Thankfully, the injury was not too serious, but I realized that my nursing instincts were still strong.

At the age of 12 and a quarter, with an A-class pass into “high” school, off to boarding school I went. But not before being told the facts of life by Mom. Lo and behold, what a shock to my system that was. Please keep in mind that this was almost half a century ago, and it was called the dark ages because children (in our family anyway) were kept completely in the dark about anything and everything to do with anatomy. 

For the first time I found out that I had reproductive organs, along with allot of other outrageous information. My brother hadn’t come out of a toffee? This newly acquired knowledge scared the motherly instincts right out of me for quite a number of years.

Five years later, when matriculating at the age of 17, I handed my already completed application forms for nursing college to Dad to sign. (I was too young to be accepted without his consent). No, said Dad, I will not sign this. You are far too sensitive and get too involved emotionally. You will not become a nurse. Finished and klaar, that was that. My dream had been shattered. I did not speak to him for months, and refused to look for another career. 

Eventually Dad persuaded me to go for an interview to see if I had the ability to become a “tracer”. Needless to say, Dad knew me well and was absolutely right about the nurse thing, and I have loved my job. 

Tracer became Draughtswoman, became Cad Operator, become Technical Assistant, and now I am a highly skilled much sought-after one of a kind semi-retired Cad Technician, and the only person in my company proficient in both ‘Caddie’ and ‘Micro-Station’.

Let’s go back a few years again, to my first year working. My nursing dream had been shattered and I was plodding along with nothing exciting happening in my life. The YWCA was now my home as my family had moved to another town. After living an extremely protected life, I was on my own. Then everything changed. 

On a Thursday lunch blind date, I met this wonderful bare-footed handsome gentleman and we have been together ever since. 46 years and counting. Love at first sight it was, for both of us. Friday night we went to the movies (all dressed up in those days). Saturday morning he took me to meet his parents. Off to the theatre in the evening (even more dressed up – pink lurex mini dress for me, suit for him). I stood in a puddle of mud with my silver shoes, and he took his snow-white handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped the mud off. Sunday – a marriage proposal and a resounding yes. It was love at its best (and it’s worst).

My motherly feelings returned with an uncontrollable bang (hehehaha). Morning sickness, sore boobs, tears, happiness, fear, anxiety, whispering, shame and disgrace on the family (this was the dark ages remember), excitement, kitchen tea, wedding, honeymoon in Durbs, stork tea, prenatal classes, thinking that all the glasses we got as wedding gifts would last us for the rest of our lives, buying second-hand furniture, moving into our own place, etc etc. It was such a rollercoaster ride. And I was only a very young 18 years old. (My man was a more grown-up 24 year old). Thank you my Love of my life, for EVERYTHING!

But boy oh boy, was I ready to be a mommy. Isn’t this what I knew I was born to be? My love for my unborn child grew with my belly……

To all 3 my beautiful children:

Before I knew you, I already loved you. As I felt your life in me growing, I was filled with absolute knowing. During your birth and through the pain, my joy and elation I couldn’t contain. And as your life continued to unfold, precious memories in my heart I still tightly hold. The feeling of your warm little fingers entwined in mine, still somehow miraculously lingers. You were and are part of me, and will remain so for eternity.

I was there for all your feeds, and to fulfill all your needs. I happily changed and rinsed all your crappy nappies. (No disposables in those days). I stayed up nights wiping feverish brows, and cleaning up vomit. I sewed and mended your clothes, and I fetched and carried and taxied. I dropped you off at school and fetched you again in the afternoon. You only knew that I had a job because I told you so. I was at every event – sport, boys brigade, brownies, ballet, PTA meetings, birthday parties, hospital visits etc etc. I was always there for you. I always made time for you; my life revolved around yours. And I loved every single minute of being your mother (still do actually). This was what I had wanted since before I had teeth, remember! I was in the process of fulfilling my role in life. No pathetic looking dirty lifeless little rag-doll, but a real child to play and be with. And this child returned and responded to my love. Oh what immeasurable joy! 

I must say that it was during your growing up years that I realized that I was not a nurse at heart. I wanted to cry and run away every time one of my beloved children got hurt or bled or had an operation. (Tried hard to hide this though)

I always tried to be fair. I always tried to understand. I always brought you before God every single day, as I still do to this day. I also know that I made plenty of mistakes. I have luckily forgotten most of them, and hope you have too. I am truly sorry if I did or said anything that left a lasting negative effect on you.

I know that in the last years I have not always been all that pleasant to be around. It is not easy to carry on with everything regardless of constant pain and exhaustion. I want you to know that I love your father beyond measure and because I feel so secure in his love for me, I have unfortunately taken out all my frustrations on him. I am in the process of making it up to him.

Just want you to know that all 3 of you make me so proud (make US so proud). You have grown up to be really special human-beings. I am crying now – tears of joy and sadness all mixed up together. I have felt all your highs and lows with you – how can I not, as I am part of you! And here we are and we are all fine and honky-dory.

Perhaps after reading this, you will understand why it sometimes feels so natural and normal to be giving advice to you as adults, or even telling you what to do or not to do. Please forgive me for this. I have been doing it my whole life, and sometimes I just slip into that role, even though I know you are quite capable of making your own decisions. 

You know when you should shave or brush your hair or sleep enough or eat well or not drink and drive or swear etc etc. I always have your interests at heart, and remember that I probably know you better than anyone else. (Our personalities basically remain the same, even when we are all grown up). I will do my best to only give advice when it is undoubtedly called for or asked for by you. I am always here!

It is a privilege to have you in my life……THANK YOU for fulfilling my dream in such a perfect wonderful, warm, living way. 

Tjaart, THANK YOU from the very depths of my soul, without you none of this would have been possible!

Mother Mary

I am free!

When I was asked to write a piece for woman’s day, I found the thought quite intimidating.  What would I write about?  What could I possibly offer that would be worth reading about?  Obviously because it was my #bestie, Wenchy that asked – I couldn’t say no.  So here I sit pondering on my life gone by, trying to decipher the best advice or even the best recollection that I may pass on to other women.

Gail and Wenchy

#Besties Gail and Wenchy

I think that the hardest part about being a woman in today’s life, is to actually be a woman.  Most of us grew up in a time where it was prime choice to have a boy.  Unfortunately for me (and my two sisters), we were born female.  This turned out to be our greatest crime in the eyes of our father.  No matter how hard we tried to get out of that stereotype, it stuck.  Granted we learnt to do a lot of things that other women generally cannot do – like service a car, change a tap washer, tile a bathroom, paint a house etc.  While this took up our weekends, our mother fervently tried to embrace the feminine side of us – teaching us to cook, bake, and sew and other such suitable activities.

So many of my parents’ quirks have moulded me into the woman that I am today.  That combined with a 20+ year marriage.  As a young child and growing up into adulthood, we were melded into the role of prisoner / house help / gardener / and anything else that might have been needed.  The absolute terror of my father coming home, lest anything be out of place or our school results not good enough.  We were brought up in a house where children were not seen and most definitely not heard. We were not allowed to have friends over and it was very rarely that we were allowed to go to a friend’s house. It was a different upbringing, one that required survival skills sometimes tantamount to Special Forces. The three of us learnt the art of karate – after all we needed some sort of defence mechanism against the father; the drunk, abusive father.

In my matric year, I met my soon to be husband.  Also a difficult man, but certainly better than the other option of staying at home.  The day I got my matric results, I was told to leave.  This after many bitter arguments on the subject of tertiary education.  So at the tender age of 17, with only my clothes, I stepped into the wide world of adulthood and moved in with my husband.  I am sure that I might have loved him, but I loved the idea of “freedom” more.  How wrong I was!  As the years passed, we had three daughters.  I had started studying in a highly specialised career and he plodded along to his own routine.  This routine unfortunately did include much work, and the burden lay at my feet to ensure that the children had a place to stay, had food to eat and all their other needs were seen to.

As the years passed by, he became more withdrawn and more difficult – becoming more and more like my father.  I was torn between wanting to leave and having a stable, two parent home for the girls.  I was caught in the cycle of keeping my mouth shut and doing what was necessary for everything to run smoothly.  Irrespective of the snide and biting comments, or the lack of income from his side, I did what was necessary to keep it all going.

I am freeI can’t exactly say what snapped in me, but something did.  On a balmy night in November I had enough of his threats and accusations.  I marched over to him and told him in no uncertain terms, that I was done with this relationship.  I just couldn’t carry on the way things had been going for so long.  (Things had become worse after his nervous breakdown and suicide attempt.)  I can’t say for certain what actually triggered this event.  After all, things had been like this for so long already.  Once again, I was at the point of not going out anywhere, not having friends and living a totally secluded life.  I was even being checked up on at work (just to ensure that I was actually at work and not some other devious place.)

After the brave act of telling him that I was done, things became unbearable.  Between the threats and accusations, we literally fled with our clothes and our beds.  It has been just over a year now and slowly but surely I have been working through issues that imprisoned me all these years.  I still have a long way to go, but each day I am learning to be free – to be me.  Actually, I am learning to be me and learning who me is.  I have had such a different life up to now, that the most normal of behaviours in others absolutely floor me.  The differences have culminated in some really interesting OCD traits and a lot of naivety.  The best thing that I have done for myself – is to escape the male dominance and to live for me, to the betterment of me.

Every woman deserves this freedom.  The freedom to be completely herself, unashamedly.  So for now, I have this constant reminder to never get into that position again.

You can contact me on Twitter.

—oOo—

Dear friends, family and other interesting creatures,

During the month of August I have contacted a few woman and asked them to share some of their stories

Subject choice is up to the writer and I trust you will enjoy this introduction to the special females on my various platforms. If you want to be part of this series, mail me: wenchy@mweb.co.za

Happy Woman’s Month!

I wish you enough,

Wenchy

Embrace the journey.

I hear him open the front door and admit feeling a small excitement. It is 21h33. He has worked another 12 hour day.

It feels like the long walk to freedom as he climbs the stairs to our bedroom. 

He walks in with a smile and we talk about our day. We both worked from our strengths today leaving us energised mentally, while we clearly exhausted physically.

He walks over and hugs me. I love that melting into a bear hug feeling. Out of nowhere he says, “I still love that photo of you. It is my favourite.” I smile.

It is a photo I gave him during the few short days leading up to our elopement.

1. I love how sentimental you are.

2. I love when you wink at me from across the room.

3. I admire your dedication to provide for our children and I financially to the best of your ability.

4. I think you are crazy screaming at the TV when the Cheetahs or Liverpool FC is playing, but it is very testosterone!

5. I think it is sweet when some innocent (usually gay friend!) man compliments me on social media and you respond with “He knows you are married right?” … or “Does he need reminding?”

6. I love that you like animated (kids) movies as much as I do. We never miss those pre-release invitations! 

7. Every night when I fall asleep with my phone or tablet on my face or chest, I imagine you shaking your head, putting it on my table and switching off the light.

8. It’s kinda fun when I think back to our first dance in your Mom’s lounge late one night. “Let’s do the time warp again!” 

9. Thank you for pretending that my ever growing library is not hording. 

10. I appreciate that you do the dishes on weekends and wipe every corner of the kitchen.

11. Your ability to see me as extraordinary amazes me. I seldom see what you see.

12. I overhear you telling someone of something I have done with such pride …when I wasn’t aware that you even knew I did it. So you do pay attention! 🙂

13. You will remind me of my gifts at times I want to strangle you. This may be a tactic to save yourself!

14. Apparently it’s weird that we phone each other from different parts of our apartment. I’m glad we find this normal.

15. I appreciate that you remind the kids to wish me a happy birthday or a happy mothers day. I hope one day they won’t need a nudge.

16. Being quite a conservative man, I’m still not sure why you married me…and I’m not the one that suggested we elope ! 

17. I love that you don’t complain about paying for proper perfume. Especially since we kinda chose it together by accident. “Angel” it is.

18. Love it when you cook rare steak with cream cheese. It makes me feel very spoiled because you make a mean steak.

19. Huge gratitude for your never ending support in my chasing my social media, blogging and book publication dreams. 

20. I do wish illness was not part of our package. It is horrible to lie and say “I’m fine!” when I’m not. Thank you for knowing the difference.

21. I think it is very funny that you flush the toilet before you use it. Are you even aware of this habit? 🙂 

22. I adore all your purple shirts and that you specifically will look for a purple one. 

23. It is hilarious how genuinely confused you look when I once again swap the furniture around.

24. Thank you for laughter when I do something silly for the hundredth time….like burning myself every bloody time I cook anything. Memory nor precision being a talent of mine.

25. I still hate the colour of your car. I’ve tried…. but the next car, I’m choosing the colour bad boy!

26. I wonder what will happen to the gifts I give you that you refuse to eat because they sentimental… as I look at the chocolate cow I bought you three years ago teasing you for playing “HayDay”.

27. Sometimes you drive me around the bend. Good thing I always wanted to travel. (Thank you Shirley Valentine)

28. The massage oil you used last time, is next to my bed. Feel free to use it again. 

29. I love that you and Victoria have a pet name for each other. It is very endearing.

30. I love it when we walk to the Mall, holding hands and pretend we don’t see rain clouds. 

….finally in closing, having written for every day of August…

31. Thank you for your generosity in acknowledging what drives me to do the things I do, which makes me love you more!

 Hope Believe Dream

Wenchy