Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Pillow Talk

It was 4 am and I was awake. Usually at that time I’d be dreaming up plans of grandeur and opulence. But, alas, I was awake. I tried counting backwards from 100 but my counting was interrupted by the drone of my beloveds snoring.

This all started when I was pregnant. There were many things I loved before that I started to dislike; ice cream was one of them – to my horror. There were many things I hadn’t noticed or even minded before that became a real issue e.g. my beloved's snoring. And although pregnancy is beautiful, it doesn’t lend itself well to sleeping. I used to wake up so much to use the bathroom and on my return one fateful evening; I heard the most alarming rattling noise. Opening the door to my bedroom, I was shocked to learn that the noise was coming from my beloved.

It became a real issue. His snoring would wake me up so much so, that I would ‘gently’ nudge him so that he could stop. My ‘gentle’ nudges turned into ‘gentle’ pushes and were often accompanied with angry mumblings and cries of ‘I can’t sleep’. I would wake up exhausted and worse for wear but, my beloved would be bright and fully alert. It got so bad that some nights, he would leave the bed for me to allow me to sleep. And as I lay on my memory foam bed on one of those nights, I could hear the rattling snoring buzz from my beloved over the sound of the TV, I started thinking…what if having separate rooms was the was a long term solution?

Sleep deprivation is actually used a form of torture, it’ll turn even the world’s best superhero a little nuts. It has been discovered that a lack of sleep can contribute to a greater risk of heart disease, diabetes and depression. Worse of all it can impact on your sex life because you are less likely to be in the mood and you probably won’t even have enough energy to initiate or reciprocate. We all know that once intimacy in marriage starts to diminish, the marriage may also start to diminish. So, what would it be like to have separate rooms?
If we had separate bedrooms it could mean that both of us would sleep a whole lot better. My beloved could snore to his hearts’ content without the fear of being nudged out of bed or being ranted at. My sleep wouldn’t be interrupted which means I’d wake up looking more like a beauty and less like a beast. I could roll from one side of the bed to the other, not being confined to flipping from side to side. I could spread out like a cat or lie curled up in a ball in the middle of the bed.
Individually, we would be to create our best sleeping environments; soothing music, cool air conditioning, warming electric blankets or reassuring side lights. And because each person has control over their sleeping environment, we would each have a higher quality of rest. When beloved and I are more relaxed, we are better lovers and we have fewer arguments over little annoying habits like leaving wet towels on neatly made beds or leaving all manner of hair products, weaves and wigs on display.

There is always the fear that not sharing bedrooms is the beginning of living separate lives. The left hand will not know what the right hand is doing; how could they if they only see each other to exchange pleasantries or share meals? There is something about sharing a room with someone that allows you to see them more clearly. In separate rooms, husband/wife could be ‘entertaining’ guests without the others knowledge and they could be nursing harmful habits or addictions. More importantly though, is the affect that this could have on our intimacy. If we no longer shared a bed, we don’t have that daily physical contact that is essential to create the mood for ‘things to happen’. Sex would probably be more planned and less spontaneous. Where would it happen? Would we take it in turns to host an encounter in our individual rooms or would we prefer neutral grounds like the living room? And what would happen after our ‘encounter’, would we both retreat to our separate rooms or would we issue each other with a day pass?

There are many reasons couples may choose to have separate rooms; nursing mothers of young babies may feel it’s better for them to spend evenings in the baby’s’ room to allow their husbands to rest before heading out to the office in the morning. What of the cases where husband and wife work different shifts to each other – one works morning shift, the other the night shift? They will unintentionally be sleeping separately; when one partner is awake the other is recharging to go to work.

In our culture, this isn’t a new phenomenon. Some of our grandparents and dare I say parents have been decorating their separate rooms long since ear plugs were invented. It appears though, that this trend may be making a reappearance. In February 2005, a survey conducted by the U.S. National Associate of Home Builders and architects predicted that more than 60% of custom houses would have dual master bedrooms by 2015. But for me, custom bedrooms/separate bedrooms/twin bedrooms, isn’t an option. As much as the snoring drives me crazy sometimes, I have decided to see it as his way of telling me that he’s alive and right beside me.

Friday, 10 January 2014

Marriage in the Year 2013

I’m a bit late with this blog post but…no excuses

I look back on this side of 2013 with serious fondness. It was a fantastic year…

2 weddings…

In the sticky heat of July 2013, I squeezed my post pregnancy belly and bells into my bridesmaid dress and donned what felt like 12 inch heels down the shiny slippery aisle.  I was at the wedding of my longest serving friend and his beautiful, equally as kind and deserving bride; I couldn’t be happier.  It was my turn to serve them; both bride and groom had been faithful through celebrations and tribulations, endless phone calls, texts, tweets and emails. 

When you get married, you inherit friendships.  These friendships go through a redefinition process that doesn’t always end up profitable.  Some friendships cannot bear the weight of another significant other.  The new beau is seen more as a threat than an asset to a friendship.  This becomes even more complicated when that person is of the opposite sex.  People are forced to make tricky decisions to ditch friendships or new beaus.  More often than not, the friend is the one left standing with broken heart and a mouth filled with venomous rumours.  A broken friendship is just as a vicious as a friendship based on pretence. 

Fortunately in my case, my beloved and I didn’t have that problem.  We were privileged enough to be able to blend with each other’s friendships.  His friends adopted me as their kid sister and my friends as an elder brother.  And in 2013 he was part of my friend’s’ wedding and I was part of his friend’s’ wedding, Yet again, I squeezed my post pregnancy self into a lovely blue number in the August heat.  Beloved rolled up his sleeves and served drinks and I kicked off my stilettos to assist the wedding decorators.  We did this all in the name of service, friendship and love.  For friendship that transcends distance and time, I’m grateful. 


There were lots of ‘zero’s’ I was grateful for in 2013…

There were zero visits to lawyers.  There were zero immediate family burials.  There were zero diagnosis of terminal illnesses.  There were zero financial emergencies; no visits from bailiffs, no threatening eviction letters.  There were zero reasons to be ungrateful.  Yes, there were times when we had to raid our piggy banks but, after years of dealing with times of plenty and times of little, I’ve learned to be contented…no matter what.

1 funeral...

Towards the end of September, I attended the funeral of a very dear teacher.  She was my primary school teacher who had inspired me and had shaped my life.  Mrs Ekeowa was fiercely Nigerian and she loved Jesus.  They say that you always remember a good teacher and the essence of who she was never left me.  I can’t remember the content of her lessons but, I can never forget the context with which she taught.  She believed strongly that every child could learn and every child should achieve. She was bold and fearless, confronting you with whatever she felt she needed to say.  I remember her terrorising children with combs if they hadn’t combed their hair or teaching us East London kids what lychees were.  She somehow had the perfect balance of authority to scare you but, so much warmth and love to draw you close.  I remember parents praying that you were in her class for Y6. 

As I sat in that Church, listening to the humorous stories about things she had said, my heart was full of regret. This last time I saw her was on my wedding day, five years ago.  I’d meant to call her to share my journey to becoming a teacher and a mother.  I wanted to introduce my son to her.  I’d wanted to sit at her feet, like I did when I was child, to catch the words of wisdom that would so easily tumble out of her mouth.  I never did.  It was the classic ‘shoulda, woulda coulda’.  I realised in those moments that life was far too precious and short to procrastinate showing love.  Why put off calling someone to encourage them or texting someone to say hi. With the sheer amount of technology that’s around today, isn’t pitiful for us to procrastinate?  I left the funeral that day with a new resolve, love doesn’t have to wait.  Mrs Ekeowa, even from your rest, you were still teaching me.

3 grand babies...

This was a bountiful year for our family in the breeding department.  We welcomed three grandchildren into the family, one of which was our own little prince. For some of you who have been following my blog, you will know that this has been a challenging journey for my beloved and I. We’ve experienced a lot of random diagnosis complete with the Hollywood style shaking of the head from doctors.  We’ve also had the pleasure of dodging baby questions with cliché answers like ‘in God’s time’ and we’ve even entertained a few moments of absolute despair. We’ve kissed ourselves goodbye before I had two surgeries and we’ve both had the absolute pleasure of hearing our child take his first gulp of air.  I’m grateful that we’ve come out of it together.  The journey of trying to conceive can be so treacherous and all consuming, drying out the love and living nothing behind.  I learned it’s important not to play the blame game because even when your little one comes along – who wants guilt hanging over their heads? Love is the best environment for any child to grow and develop. Love is the only environment a marriage can grow and develop.

I’m grateful for 2013 and I’m expectant for 2014. I hope that I’ll be looking at the 2 beautiful marriages without nostalgic feelings of their better pre wedding days, 0 reasons or excuses not to show love, 1 new mindset instead of several new resolutions and my delivery of the 4th grandbaby.