Cake For Breakfast

Yesterday I turned fifty, and it was a day of many blessings. There was no huge party, no great announcements on Facebook and social media. It was just a quiet morning to reflect and be grateful.

I am lucky, and grateful, to have my mother greet me on my 50th birthday and celebrate with me virtually. As a gift she sent me long-forgotten, and blurry pictures of my childhood.

I am grateful that my child made me a birthday card, self designed, and adorned with a our picture, and Happy Birthday in 50 languages.

I am grateful that cousins and aunts sent me birthday wishes, some sang me Happy Birthday in English, German and Arabic, and one aunt drew my portrait, and sent it on Whatsapp.

I am grateful for friends who sent messages and virtual flower bunches, who commented on my old pictures and who just connected with me.

I am grateful that I could bake an ugly-looking cake that tasted heavenly of chocolate, coffee and spices.

At the end of the day I know that I am loved and remembered. Most of those who love me are in Germany, and those are the dependable family and friends whom I know and expect to care. Some greetings came unexpected from people I do not often think about. Two people who particularly wronged me at one time congratulated me, and I am grateful that I can let go of my grudges against them. I wish them well, although they can no longer stay in my heart.

The one person I missed most yesterday (as I miss today and every day) is the one who does not want to remember me. But even for him, I am grateful.

And my cake ? I can have it for breakfast today, because it did not pass the taste test of my chocolate monster. Too much coffee and too much spice, he said. So it is all mine, and I am also grateful.

My Little Boy Turns Three

After all the milestones of first smiles, first steps and first words I can tell that here is nothing more remarkable than the milestone of turning three. It all happens so fast, one day I am dealing with a little toddler with moods and tantrums and the next day I am listening to instructions, opinions and stories from a little boy. This is not to say that I am not dealing with tantrums anymore but the little personality is getting itself established very quickly.

I had put cream on my sore nose one day, and the little boy came up to me instructing me to rub it in “wob it in mommy” he said. Another day I was hugging and tickling and rough-housing with him and in between giggles he said: “I call the pleese” (I will call the police – a line I discovered later that he picked up from 101 Dalmatians, and used almost appropriately).

He is aware of himself growing, “I am biiiig” he tells me on a daily basis, and my heart expands with my love for him, and I wish to tell him, do not be in a rush to grow up because growing up is a tough job indeed. He will have his tough days ahead. Along with turning three he becomes a pre-schooler, no longer a toddler and he will be leaving his baby class, his beloved teachers Melanie and Yvonne, and all the little friends he got used to. There is no denying that he is ready as far as educational development is concerned. He is way above the level of the 0-3 class already.

When I speak to him he answers like an adult. Did you have a good time at school I ask, and he answers : Yes I did. Always in full sentences, never a yes, no answer or a nod of the head. He can count from one to ten, and recognizes almost all number digits and many letters. He has been able to recognize his own name for almost a year now in upper case and he now knows it in normal print writing. Recently I introduced him to the computer and he can use the mouse skillfully. He can also operate the DVD player on the computer and navigate some of the simple menus.  He always impresses me with his quick learning, but whether he will be emotionally ready to change into another class and later next year to another school is another matter.

I have been suffering with a bad flu all last week, and I tried diligently not to pass it on to him as an evil birthday present, but for all my attempts he woke up today with a little temperature and I was in doubt whether he will be fit enough for his party. Fortunately everything went well and he had a double birthday party, one at his playschool and another at Britt’s place. It was great fun for everyone.

ONE !!!

My dear little boy, today you turned one, and your mother wishes that she could have offered you better conditions to celebrate. But we were still very lucky the way your birthday turned out.

Some of the presents
Some of the presents

Most of your presents came from mom and auntie Britt, who bought you a whole bunch of clothes which will come in handy for summer.  Auntie Britt was so nice she treated you (and me) to a double celebration. First inviting us for breakfast at the Aquarium then later for dinner and a birthday party at her place.  The lesser contributors were unfortunately your father, who came along with a present that was a little too advanced for your age ( the mobile garage with keys).  Your father has a hard time with presents and cards, he cannot relate to a young child, because he has little contact to your half brother and sister, so don’t take it personally if you cannot make a decent father out of him.  From your family in Canada, only your auntie sent you a card, it is the one with Elmo on it.  Oma and Opa in Germany remembered your birthday, but I am afraid that your other granny ignored us, perhaps she and her eldest daughter did not want to appear to kind to me. Today taught me however that it doesn’t take an army of friends to make one happy, just a few really good ones would do, and I am eternally grateful for the few real friends that I still have, especially Britt.

dsc00221We had a great time at breakfast and you had your playtime in the play area. Later during the day your father came and “spent some time” with you and brought you your present. He also brought along a chair he no longer needs. Earlier he told me he was discarding some furniture from the holiday rental apartment and asked me whether I needed it.  He said he would give me the small desk from the and the two dining chairs.  Ironically he still kept all of the things he gave me and some of the furniture that was originally mine. I get to keep his rejects, but that is the nature of the beast, and beggars can’t be choosers.

dsc00231Auntie Jackie still speaks and plays with you, but my relationship with her turned real frosty since our fight. I am keeping my cards to my chest and not telling her any of my plans. Not even that I asked her / our friend Khayam to help me move on the last day of this month. So it was really great for us to have an opportunity to celebrate away from her. During the afternoon we went together and bought party stuff, and I got some cup cakes for the kids then Britt came and took us to her place.

rimg0762You would not remember, but you had quite a ball. You had your ONE candle and you dug into your own cup cake.

rimg0772Later you even shared a bath with two beautiful girls, so you cannot tell me you weren’t treated as a king. While you were having a bath you had a phone call from your nanny Lucy, and her daughter Sophie, they all wished you happy birthday. Sophie’s son Tando even sang you Happy Birthday in English and Zulu. The phone call made you mom very happy too.


rimg0769Happy Birthday Robert. You are my sunshine and the best part of my life.

A Mixed Birthday Bag

Yesterday was my 38th birthday. I cannot help but remember the way it was a year ago, when I thought my happiness was almost complete, the only thing I was awaiting was my baby’s arrival into the world. I never even thought that a year later I will be a divorced single mom.

Contrary to what people might think, I was raised into the belief that a marriage simply has to work. A married couple accept each other the way they are and learn to live with the bad and cherish the good. I did my best for the first seven years of my marriage, I changed and adapted to my new lifestyle as much as I could – yes I could not turn myself into a domestic goddess quickly enough, that was my only shortcoming. I denied myself even wanting a family and a child of my own, and I learned to live with all the rough edges of my husband’s personality. I would have stayed in this imperfect and flawed relationship if he hadn’t wanted out. Yes, I am still grieving over my marriage, and as the days pass the ugliness does not want to go away.

The last thing I wanted was to see my ex on my birthday but unfortunately I had to. Lucy is away in the Transkei and I have to rely on Robbie’s dad to look after him while I go to work. We had an argument over money, and he was again unfair and abrupt. I could not help but raise my voice then I felt so bad when I saw the look on my son’s face as he was getting ready to be driven away. I was left with the unpleasant realization that things might never improve between me and Rob’s father. Again I had the overpowering desire to put an ocean between us.

The incident left a bad taste in my mouth, but I soon cheered up when I picked up my new camera phone. There will be pictures again on this blog, and they will be good ones, because my new Sony Ericsson K810i has a 3.2 Megapixel camera. A regular digital camera will have better resolution, but the phone takes good enough snapshots for blogging. I am using up enough bandwidth as it is, and I do not want to start uploading bigger images. I brought some sweets for work and received the well wishes from my colleagues, my mandatory two minutes of fame followed. I also got the obligatory birthday card from the company in my locker. These little things helped me get over my antagonistic feelings against my ex, and combated my feelings of inadequacy and failure.

When Robert’s father brought him home he was in his pajamas. Dad had bathed him and he was all ready for bed. Dad also had a change of heart and paid me back the amount I asked for. I am sure he felt he was doing me a favor but I know that it was only fair. Nice and kind though is something or somebody else, my ex barely conceals his hostility towards me. While I try hard to play indifferent, and train myself not to care and not to hurt.

At the end of the day and when Robert went to bed I finally logged on to my computer and received more greetings from friends and family. The day was wrapped up as it started; in the morning my friend Anuschka surprised me with a phone call from Johannesburg, and in the evening I opened my present from Jackie, and then went to bed shortly before midnight after playing with my new cell phone – the present I spoiled myself with. In all it was a good day, with a few flaws. My 37th year was the strangest yet in my life. I experienced the joys of motherhood and then the final disappointment of divorce. The year might have ended with a sad note, but I want it to be relegated to the past. This year things can only get better.

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My Birthday Presents

I wanted to take a photo of my birthday presents, but Jackie reminded me jokingly that I received only one present. If I had taken a photo of my aquarium card as well, then there would have been two. Taking a photo of my new cell phone was unfortunately impossible since it is also the camera I take the photos with. The final tally of my presents : A cell phone camera (from me), an Aquarium membership card (Britt), chocolates and bubble bath (Jackie) and the usual handmade card from work.