My oldest son has passed his final year of his degree!

Thank you….…you may all be seated! Yes…….I have indeed shaken my own hand and patted myself on the back since I heard the news, late yesterday afternoon. Yes, I know, I do have something to proud of.

What’s was that you said? Yes………I am totally aware that this is my son’s achievement? Of course he worked hard on it. Yes, on some level, the fact that the Josh Groban song ‘’You Raise Me Up’’, which was played at my husband’s funeral, came on during a series I was watching on the night of the 24th November, the eve before the 15th Anniversary of his death, the day before the results came out, might…… possibly…… perchance…. be interpreted as his presence and energy willing the positive results. But listen here good people….let me have my moment….have a heart!!!

Today, I have woken up to partially digesting, and not close to processing and even further from comprehending that my son has passed his postgraduate in Accounting Science.

 I don’t think people can ever understand how the tough moments in one’s parenting journey are magnified as a single mom. Literally, it is twice as hard emotionally. But, on the flipside the pride of a single mom is sooooooooo much sweeter. You will never understand that either!!

I kind of get it that people don’t understand. It is like when you are pregnant with your first child (you know….toooootally oblivious to what lies ahead), and everyone says ‘’enjoy your sleep while you can.’’ ‘’Eeeeugh, never needed much sleep anyway’’, you exclaim, not having even an inkling of an idea how you will never have a ‘’pre-children’’ night’s sleep EVER AGAIN!  

For the most part, people do empathise with us single moms, but the timing is inaccurate. Not their fault, you understand. They just do not know any better. How could they?

Rumour has it that there are different types of empathy. For instance, there is the cognitive, which is pretty much knowing how the other person feels. For me, I think that is how most people interpret empathy.

But there is also emotional empathy, which is when you physically feel what others are feeling. In other words, you will have a hundred percent understanding of WHEN we are going through it.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing you can do for us. We just need to be understood and tolerated. Not taken for irrational single mothers who overreact to everything. EVERYTHING IS MAGNIFIED! That eye rolling and intolerance by people of your every thought, just try understand……our fears are real!

Now, I seem to be….for the most part….and I mean like 99.9% part, surrounded by people, many of whom have provided cognitive empathy over the years. People have always assumed it is the day to day parenting that requires the empathy. ‘’I don’t know how you do it?’’. ‘’Well done for doing such a fantastic job’’.  Well during that period one simply does what is required of them…… what anyone else would do in the same position.

During those times, there are not a lot of huge decisions to be made that have huge financial implications, no life changing decisions for you, your kids or a family as a whole. Sure, I taught my kids respect, manners and life skills….or did I???…..Who knows, fact of the matter is they have them…or do they???….urrrgh, let’s just move on shall we….

So to get back to MY achievement of my son’s achievement, there were decisions…hard decisions and judgment calls. More importantly there were UNILATERAL judgment calls that were required. No one to discuss or debate the issue with.  I mean, sure there were people….. my people, family members, colleagues, etc. But what did they know about my son, my finances and so on? Nothing……zip.

So my son was never an ardent scholar (a huge understatement). Not lazy, mind you, just lacked confidence. Naturally, what goes hand in hand with a lack of confidence, is the need do better to feel better, and thereby building the dreaded low levels of self esteem and confidence from strength to strength. However, until that pivotal moment occurs, your confidence levels steadily drop!

It was only around Grade 10 when he started to realize that he could actually do what everyone else had been doing. With this, he started getting more confidence, working harder, and probably the biggest motivation for him was to show all those people who had not believed in him, that he could do it!! And do it he did! He worked like a machine, and he went from strength to strength.

Now I know what you are thinking. ‘’That was all him….how do you possibly steal that credit??’’ Well, I don’t…….yet.

Next, he came to me and said he wants to go to University to get an Accounting degree. I was shocked, to say the least. I mean, yes, he was working harder, doing better and believing in himself more. But honestly, how does one go from having an allergic reaction to academics, to being capable of passing such a degree. Financially, we were not that family that could afford to pay for tertiary education to bide the child’s time to discover himself, or to decide which path he wants to follow. No…not even an option.

I am also one of those rare breeds of mothers that does not feel the need to force my kids to get a tertiary education. I am an ardent believer that there are so many opportunities for kids if they are hard working, ambitious and focused. I believe a large percentage of students, because they are forced to study, spend years wasting what could have been the period where they worked on their future, and were already on their way. But noooooooooo, my child, who was so fortunate not to have that parent, still wanted to study further!!

So we applied…he was accepted…..we spoke…..’’I will pay for one year, and if you don’t pass, I am absolved from funding any further studies’’, I told him. Well, he put me to shame. He studied like a champion….he excelled beyond my expectations….and he continued. Now I know you are still thinking, ‘’that was all him….how do you possibly steal that credit??’’ Well, I don’t…….yet.

The further we…..okay…..he….. got, the more determined he was. With this came anxiety, stress, lack of sleep and simply years of manic emotions. Oh, and he felt that way too! My other son and were expected to tiptoe around the house (and if you see the beast that is my other son, you will know this is not an easy expectation), put up with mood swings, try not to sneeze…cough……breathe. There were arguments that transpired from the frustrations of all involved. There were pimples, twitches, rashes….Oh and for him too.

There were a couple of times where I asked myself whether these studies could continue. Major decisions I had to make all on my little one some. No bloody empathy there!

Then there were the holidays, when the obsessive studies stopped…people could sneeze…cough……breathe…..except me. Then the obsessive mom surfaced. Where was he? Was he on the road? Was he safe? What time would he come home? Please keep him safe!!! He was last online at 12h05?? That was 10 minutes ago….why???? Again… sleep!! Again….empathy….no….being told by other parents that they have those worries too…..yes. Really though…..TIMES TWO?? I think not!! You and your spouse could calm each other down. Reason with each other. Me…alone in the house….except for sleeping child. He needed to sleep. He was exhausted from the lack of oxygen resulting from the prohibition on breathing too loud!

People just assumed the hard part of being a single mom was over. Huh, not in a million years!! It was just beginning.

The week before his finals, and at 2am in the bloody morning…..he posed the question, or rather raised the scenario of whether it might be an option just not to write his final exams. Now, we were both stressed, overly anxious AND LACKING SLEEP, so please bear that in mind. ‘’Whaaaaaaaaaaaat??????’’ I screamed as quietly as possible as I didn’t want to wake the other child. Still catching up on sleep. ‘’I have no idea what the hell you are even saying?? I thought you had grown up and matured into a sensible young adult!!’’ As he strolled out the room….irritated with me…….can you believe…..telling me that I should be more supportive of his mental state of mind……there was no empathy……no one to see how much harder it gets to be a single mother as they get older. Nope….to them, the hard part was over.

What was I to do? Encourage him to write the exams? Launch myself across the room, grab him in a choke hold, and proceed to tell him he has wasted his time and my money? In my singledom, I had to make a split second decision, which could change the course of his life, my life and even the sleeping child’s life!

Yes, of course the purpose of the exercise is to invest in your child’s future. In fact this was your duty! But what good would that do, if you spent all your money doing that, and then had to be his responsibility later in life? Or what would have been the purpose if he doesn’t finish, and that so bright future suddenly looked dim…and you would still be supporting him in 30 years…with no money, because you had spent it all ON HIS EDUCATION!!!!!

That daughter in law (who I don’t know yet….neither does he, but I do already know, is not good enough for him), would not be too happy if I became my son’s dependant!! She would want all his money to herself. It would cause marital discord….what would I do???

So what did I do, you ask, that leads me to the assumption that I deserve a pat on the back? I did nothing. He went to his room to dreaming about a mother that would have been more supportive, I screamed expletives under my breath (quietly…..sleeping child remember), and he became sensible again. So….again…..all him……damn!!!

Anyway….long story short, he did it. My determined, hard working and insistent precious son did it!! He did it all on his own……with a little help from his mom!!

Congratulations my amazing child. May your future be everything you wish for….and more.  My love, admiration and respect for you will never be surpassed.

Change of Plan!

A couple of posts ago, I wanted to discuss how COVID resulted in my new found love for my neighbors. However, I got distracted, a regular problem you will come to accept about me, and never got to the point. So here I go again. Sit back, relax, and get ready for the river that is about to flow from my words about this new found love.

I have been living in my complex for nearly 15 years. Now, I know most of my Blogs often make reference to 15 years, almost as if nothing happened prior to the last 15 years, almost as if 15 years ago was when my life began. On the contrary, 15 years ago is when my life ended, metaphorically speaking of course.

Now, please do not interpret this as cry for help, sympathy, comfort, or any of those other dreaded emotions people often assume they need to impart on someone to help ease their pain. No, this is merely the reality of a situation one finds oneself in, when the rug is pulled out from under one’s feet in a fraction of a second!

Prior to the rug pulling incident 15 years ago, I had the whole future of my family all planned. Obviously, being the personality type A++++, that is what we do. We think (obsess), ponder (obsess), strategize (obsess) and naturally COME UP WITH A PLAN!!

So this plan was packed neatly in a little time capsule, to be opened at some point in the future, when it was time to delight in the fact that everything went according to plan!! Perhaps there might even have been an award ceremony, an audience of friends and family, a stage, where I could have walked onto with my family by my side, I could have accepted this prestigious award for ‘’Totally Being On Point About Her Family’s Future’’? There might have been a speech, a thank you to all those who helped this become a reality, perhaps a band….anyway….let’s move on shall we?

So, as you might have realized, things most certainly did not go according to plan. Nope….future rrrrrrripped out from right under me!! Suddenly, I literally found myself having a totally blank slate every time I thought about my amended family’s future. Try as I might, for the life of me, all I could see was a blank slate. The past….busy…. very busy slate……but the future……B-L-A-N-K!! It might not seem like it, but that was frightening, terrifying in fact.

So there I was, widowed at 39, two children, aged 5 and 8, a time capsule ripped to threads, and memories of the past. The future….no cooking clue!! For a while, post rug pulling, everything that happened almost had no right to happen. It felt like things could not happen if my husband wasn’t present to witness it!!  This man, who had been a part of more than half my life, who together with him, so many memories were created, had to be there for any new memories being created. But he wasn’t. What?? Impossible!!

So what organically proceeded to unfold, was that this blank slate was slowly being filled with new memories. My life had become the life others often live, which is living day to day, and no planning…no strategizing…no pondering….just slowly collecting your wits about you, to reach that point where, yes, obviously (it’s me after all), you start planning… strategizing… pondering and of course obsessing again!

This was a long process, which did not come without hiccups, hurdles and obstacles. However, as our new memories were made, and our new future began to unfold, it suddenly created a new chapter.

I do not say this with any kind of warmth or fuzziness. I am not a chapter kind of a gal. Me, I like things to stay the same, remain consistent, be everlasting, eternal, uninterrupted….sure you are getting my drift here??

Another complaint I have about this new slate, is that there are so many memories (pre rug pulling), that belong to another chapter. It is almost like the previous chapter never happened. That for me is totally unacceptable. It is almost like the rug pulling has wiped the pre rug pulling slate clean. Well, not entirely, but it seems like these two slates cannot coexist. Well not in my strange little demented world anyway.

So, to get back to the point, 15 years being my annoyingly repetitive starting point, might be as a result of the fact that that is where my memories begin, well for the most part anyway.

Actually…..wait a minute….that was not the point! The point was that I have a new found love for my neighbors dammit!! Well ‘’had this love’’ when I first wanted to write about it…..kind of have still….some…not all…. we will get to that next time…maybe….perhaps…..whatever!


So, on Wednesday, the 25 November 2020, will be the 15th Anniversary of my husband passing away. Feels like yesterday!!, Especially since, for at least the first 5 years I was numb, and just happy to put one foot in front of the other. The next 5 years was actually processing the reality of the loss, and the last 5 years have been the angry years!

As most know, there are typically 5 stages of grief…..denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. This generally leads one to assume that, once you are done with one stage, you are in fact done with that stage. Well, no…..not so much.

I am here to tell those of you who need to know how long it will take before you leave the pit you find yourself in , well, you don’t. The good news though, is that you find yourself spending more time out of the pit than in it. So familiarize yourself with the pit, decorate it, try make it as warm and cozy as possible, and when you revisit it over the years, it becomes a little less dark and dingy. The take away, is that you eventually learn to know that you will in fact leave the pit again.

I still revisit the 5 stages over, and over, and over, and over again! However, one stage has been at the forefront of my emotions all along. Do I need to state the obvious? Of course it has to be anger. My reputation would be blown to pieces if I missed that opportunity!!

For the last 15 years, my husband has been responsible for EVERYTHING. I have argued with him (out loud…very loud) more times in the last 15 years, than for the entire 30 something years we were together. In fact the word  ‘’argue,’’ is really an understatement! EVERYTHING is his fault!! If life gives us lemonade, he is our ‘’angel watching over us’’. But if life gives us lemons, or if I need to make important decisions regarding the well being of my family, he gets it in the ear full from me let me tell you!!

In order for you to understand where I am coming from, and so you do not see me as some demented fruitcake, I think it is important for you to understand just a smidge of who my husband was.

My husband was wise, sharp as a pin, reflective, curious ,obsessive… mention just a smidge. He was also anxious and grumpy like me, but that is why we understood each other! Any decision made by him was the correct decision. This is because he was always right….well let me make it sound a little less nonsensical….I always thought he was almost always right!

He stressed about EVERYTHING. He stressed about not being stressed.  This was all magnified when children came into the picture, as that is when the real stress actually begins! He was so intense and anxious, that I seemed like the Earth Child. I was the one always trying to calm him down, to bring peace and harmony to his ever overworking thoughts. Who would have thought????

My children were very young when we lost him. As a mother and primary caregiver to young children, one just had to ensure the children were loved, provided for and for the most part, still in one piece at the end of the day. Sure it was tough to do solo, sure there were moments of emotional upheaval by one or all of us, but little kids, little decisions.

The bigger the boys got, the bigger the decisions got. It was no longer about extending bed time or whether they could go to a friend on a school day. Nope, every decision that needed to be made was analyzed, scrutinized and investigated with the stealth like prowess of a parent that couldn’t get a second opinion from the only person that would have mattered…my husband! Not only because he was their dad, or because he had first-hand experience about growing up as a boy, but more importantly, because he was so wise, and most certainly have had ALL the correct answers……perhaps.

However, again, I digress. I am not writing about my methods of child rearing, what in fact I am trying to get off my chest, is my anger and rage that has riddled my body for the past too many years.

So along comes my lot in life, and I found myself moving to tween boys, then came pre teen boys, teenage boys and where we are now……young men. All of these have stages of serious crossroads, which of course, as a parent, are our total duty to feel totally responsible for every miniscule step taken by our kids towards those crossroads. Okay, accepted, I am being a bit melodramatic…..but pretty much felt and still feels like that.

I am, but totally convinced that my husband is constantly hovering above us on a fluffy cloud, legs up, and realizing that all those things that he stressed about were actually totally not worth it. I am also totally convinced that he has looked down, rubbed his head in disbelief, and wondered why I am so stressed about all those little things THAT HE USED TO STRESS ABOUT. He would totally tell me to relax. Relax about the questions and scenarios that keep me up at night. Relax about the rules and regulations I impose on my children. Relax about the everyday slip ups that all kids make. Relax about the behavior and experiences that all boys go through when they grow up. He would tell me to stop worrying about being phoned in the middle of the night to attend an unexpected bail application, which would in turn lead to attending support groups and, obviously the resultant medical bills from injuries acquired as a result of bad behavior because of addiction issues……. You know…..the stuff every normal parent stresses about? Not????  Seriously??? Okay, well who says you are the normal one??

Not sure if you are starting to get the picture of where my unilateral screaming match with my husband lands up??

Sentences generally include, ‘’How could you…’’ , ‘’….your fault’’, ‘’….selfish’’,……’’…..all very well…’’, and so on. He doesn’t answer back, but believe you me, it’s probably for the best!!

So here I live, angry, resentful, bitter and twisted. Call me when you want to chat or meet up for coffee….I am AWESOME company!


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So life happens….we get older, we get busier, but most importantly, our bodies start feeling like we are 20 years older than we actually are, and 25 years older than we actually feel!

Yes, we all get there, despite our assurances to ourselves that we will be the only ones to dodge that bullet!

The reason for this morbid introduction, is to segue into the topic of how most of us, despite being active in our youth, tend to use all the above (including our decrepit bodies), as an excuse for not doing enough exercise.

There are those who insist that they are so active at work, home etc, that they do not need to do additional exercises. Don’t you though??? Then there are increasingly more of those who count their daily steps on their Fitbits etc. Again, citing the number of steps they did to justify that the steps they clocked up count as exercise. Do they though???

I am not in any way qualified to have this discussion………well actually…….yes, yes I am……..common sense, that right there is my qualification!  The older we get, the harder it is, and more important it becomes to keep our decrepit machine well oiled. Yet physical, mental and time constraints work against us. But again, common sense dictates that (and please…don’ t feel offended by what might appear to be my patronizing tone…or what IS in fact my patronizing tone…), the sedentary lives most of us lead today, were not the lives our bodies were designed for.

Even the more active of us use transport instead of walking, have machines in our homes that do most of the work for us, never have to climb stairs, we eat bad, live bad, stress….which is bad….all of it….bad, bad, bad.

So to the mommies who don’t need to exercise because they are ”running after their kids”, or to the people at work who are ”on their feet the whole day”…..and who drive home or to the shops, to buy dish washing liquid to put in their dishwasher, and washing powder to put in their washing machine, and food to heat up in the microwave…..YOU STILL NEED TO EXERCISE!

Now, paleeeeeeeeez, do not assume I am any different. Not at all…..there are untold reasons why I have not exercised in the past few years. Like I said…..older, busier, and feeling like I am 20 years older than I actually am. However, I always felt worse for it, and knew not to justify it with my ”active daily life’ or time constraints.

Actually, the reason I sat down to write this Blog, was because I wanted to tell you about my new found love for my neighbours post lock down. But I clearly got distracted…happens regularly, and went on some other tangent…..happens regularly.

So, love…..newfound….neighbours…..will have to happen another time. In the meantime……I am off to exercise.