We are halfway through 2020, and boy what a year it has been thus far! One that could not be foreseen, predicted or ever conceived of before.
Today is day 93 of lockdown for our family and we celebrate the birthday of the head of our household.
It's so far removed from last year where he spent his birthday travelling Spain with our tour group, and this year he spends it in lockdown with the family.
Happy birthday to my hubby and dad to our young men! We usually make a special effort to spend the time together as a family, as it's a public holiday; and would need to ensure that the young adults are free. This year we have already spent 93 days together without driving each other insane. What an achievement!
We have an unspoken system in the home, which means each one has their own tasks set out for the day. Whether it is set out by the school, university or just by yourself, everyone starts the day fulfilling these and we then come together as a family at mealtimes or prayer times. Games nights have not resumed after Ramadaan as the older ones prepare for university exams and assignments.
I've read the shocking statistics on the increase in divorce cases during this time and how some couples really struggle being confined to home with their spouse, even after years of living together. Living together and being confined under lockdown conditions are two very different things; and whilst there is no magic formula to navigate this territory, it is really up to each individual to know themselves well enough. I am fully aware that I may not be the easiest person to live with, and that I have issues which may trigger me. Combine this with being in lockdown for over 90 days, and it could very well be a recipe for a turbulent home environment with disagreements, petty fights and sulking. In fact, the heightened cases of femicide and gender based violence which have been reported these past two weeks have been testimony to this; and have signalled disaster for many families.
As I reflect on our time together as a couple (which is well over 25 years now), I know that each of us have had to do the hard work in getting to know what makes us tick, what ticks us off and understanding how to maintain a relationship with these factors in play all the time. This kind of inner work is not for sissies, as you have to be open to see the dark parts of yourself as much as you are open to accepting that you're valued, loved and amazing just as you are. You have to be, afterall, our Creator thought the world needed one of YOU! It is also not just enough to know yourself at this level, it is also crucial to know how to manage all of this in the midst of anger, sadness, grief, pressure and uncertain times as we're experiencing now.
We have a philosophy in our home of tolerance, and acceptance of each other, warts and all. We have to each acknowledge those 'warts', and the rest of the family will make space for it, and call you out if necessary. There has to be a space for this to allow each member to feel seen and heard, and a space for truth, regardless of who it may be (at times even the parents need a good dose of honesty), however, delivered with respect to each and every member of our household. There may be tears, tantrums, sulking (which we allow the space for); and we trust that out of it will be borne a mutual understanding, and where appropriate a discussion and apology. It's not always easy; living in truth sometimes isn't; but it models behaviour for our kids to take forward into their own families one day.
At the end of this year we will celebrate 25 years of marriage, of partnership, growth and at times bags full of patience. However, we have found the space to accept the other for we are, we celebrate each other in entirety, without wanting the other to change. There is nothing more fatal to a relationship than wanting to change your partner; instead take a look inward and consider your own faults and appreciate that another person loves you in spite of these. And even loves you because of them ♥️
Getting through 93 days of being in lockdown has therefore not been a death sentence for our relationship, we are conscious of needing to create space for each other, we can sense when there's a need to talk or vent. We haven't opened the office in 3 months, and that means that we work together at home, spend recreational time together, pray together and so much more. But when the need for alone time is needed, it is given without question, without reprimand or emotional pressure. It is just done ...
There will still be disagreements, fights, tantrums as life goes; and then there will be understanding.
So if you're 'stuck' in lockdown with your other half, I hope some of what I have shared will strike a chord. The most important message being... check yourself first.
So here's to wishing my other half a happy happy lockdown birthday, I know these past 93 days have had challenges. Every birthday for the past 3 years has opened new horizons for us, and this year it is no different. I pray that we will have many more filled with love, understanding, adventure and happiness InshaAllah.
Know beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are loved, valued, treasured and adored by these 4 people who have been your constant companions during lockdown. We will probably never have the opportunity to bond and spend this much time in each other's space again... so I am immensely grateful to for these unusual times we find ourselves in.
With our numbers on the rise, stay safe and stay home. And if you're in danger in your own home please do reach out.
|Hajj, THE most profound experience of my life spent with you by my side|
And we tend to laugh a lot in this family!
Ciao for now,