I really enjoyed watching Amanda Gorman, the young poet who spoke at President Biden’s Inauguration. I caught myself wishing that my little girl would one day dream big and then work towards achieving her goals and desires. Go girls, go!!
Now two friends, Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, tell the story of their equally messy and life-affirming Big Friendship in this honest and hilarious book that chronicles their first decade in one another’s lives. As the hosts of the hit podcast Call Your Girlfriend, they’ve become known for frank and intimate conversations. In this book, they bring that energy to their own friendship—its joys and its pitfalls.
An inspiring and entertaining testament to the power of society’s most underappreciated relationship, Big Friendship will invite you to think about how your own bonds are formed, challenged, and preserved. It is a call to value your friendships in all of their complexity. Actively choose them. And, sometimes, fight for them. (less)
I read this book in August and it was amazing so get it. But I don’t want to do a review as much as talk about the one thing it made me think of.
The authors talk about a challenging period in their frendship where they were not getting on and they went for therapy together. Either in the book or in the many podcasts promoting their book I listened to they ask how people resolve conflict in a friendship and the process to get a “friend” therapist a specific type of therapist different from most other relationships.
This made me think of a troubled friendship last year that just fizzled out. We had a misunderstanding – not the first we had in the years of friendship but I suppose we are both moms of little ones now and pressed for time and sleep which probably accelerated it all. And then since then we have just ghosted each other. So this is what the book made me think of:
After all the many fights over the years, why was this the one that finally led to the estragement?
Over the years, were there many “missed” moments where we didn’t see the other and that escalated over time?
Could we ever move past this and if not, what would it look like to formally dissolve the friendship (especially where we have so many friends in common)?
Having thought that, I think the impasse is a resolution because in the past when I have cared, I have formally spoken about it with a friend so this is an answer of sorts.
And I’ll testify of the battles You’ve won How You were my portion when there wasn’t enough (That’s right) And I’ll testify of the seas that we’ve crossed The waters You parted, the waves that I’ve walked
I am having a tough week and this song has been challenging and speaking to me. Hope you are blessed through it.
Talking of love yesterday made me reflect on the type of love I have with my Mr and why it is the perfect love for me/us.
Very early on when we were dating we had a discussion and decided that while we felt we could marry each other we probably needed a longer dating period to confirm this decision. So each year since then, we would discuss whether we were both committed to continuing with each other. Even now on our anniversary dinner, we still ask each other this question as well as reflecting on the past year and dreams for the next.
More than this though was the fact that very early on, he was very clear in his intentions but he also went out of his way to accompany his words with actions. And this meant so much to me especially given the last two people I had liked who couldn’t be bothered with decency. So, our love is thoughtful, not about fireworks but stability – which I have learnt is a value that means so much to me – but it is true to both our characters.
I have occasionally thought that of the working parents, some were better than others but today, it hit me as they say in Kiswahili kila mtu apambane na hali yake (each one to contend with their situation / bear their cross). I also read this post that chronicled how some parents are sharing their child care needs – each of us is doing what needs to be done. That is all.
So how are we sharing the responsibilities?
We discuss calendars on Sunday evening and coordinate so we do not have clashing calendars. This is necessary because one parent works in the morning as the other does child care/ house and all those demands.
We each took on more around the house based on interest and strengths. Having said that, I suspect as the mom I do more 😦
Early on, we shared with our respective bosses and teams the situation at home and the impact on overall availability and deadlines.
We regularly check in with each other because its tough for each of us, on different days and in different ways. And we need to carry each other because as I keep saying to the Mr, if we think we are hanging on by a thread now, we cannot afford to break down or get sick.
I/ we both dropped our house cleanliness / tidy standards because no one has time or energy to keep those up. Also, no one is visiting the other so whatever.
Lastly and most importantly, to be easy on myself. I had some grand plans for this year, both in terms of school, work and personally but God in His sovereignty has placed me here and now. So I occasionally say to myself, chill, be easy.
Underscoring all of this is such great privilege that we both kept our jobs and work in fields that allow us to work remotely. Coupled with this is a child who has the beginnings of being resilient and who rolls with the punches given by Mama and Papa.
This being Day 8902 of lockdown (not really, it’s Day 54 here) and working remotely as we take care of the 14-month old. I wanted to share the one thing I have learnt about my Mr and new work mate:
He is really passionate about his work. He is genial and well liked and regarded by his workmates. They really respect him too. He is also very serious when at work. Less positively, he hates to do any kind of project admin. Oh and his day involves being in so many meetings / calls.
It’s been interesting to see this side of him as the last time we worked so closely together was back at Varsity.
What have you learnt about yourself or your partner / housemate(s) as you worked from home? If you and your partner regularly work from home, what have you learnt from each other at this time?
1 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.[a] 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you. 8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
9 If you say, “The Lord is my refuge,” and you make the Most High your dwelling, 10 no harm will overtake you, no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread on the lion and the cobra; you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
14 “Because he[b] loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call on me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”
The verses in bold are the ones that are ministering to me in a special way. God is watching out for us and protecting us. He is Sovereign and even the current uncertainty does not diminish His hugeness.
In person, these feelings and reflections on the past year are mostly joyful but definitely extremely emotional. I cannot put into words what this year has been like but I would like to try.
Motherhood takes a village. You can do it alone but it is so much better when shared with people you love and trust and with whom you can point your children towards. A pal of mine shared with me that you need four or five people that you trust enough to say to your kid if you cannot talk to me about anything, you can speak to ….. I definitely have those people, both in family and friends.
Pregnancy takes a toll on you the mother and it takes a while for your body to adjust, both physically, emotionally, hormonally and just. Be patient with yourself also, don’t stress too much about your looks.
A baby’s personality develops at birth, observe and work with that.
A friend told me about a mothers’ instinct at my baby shower and I was doubtful. It is true that it does kick in and that I am the best person equipped to be her mother. No one can be a better mom than me.
The dynamics of your relationship shift significantly. Talk about it, review where you both are/ how you are feeling and to discuss. Little people can otherwise impose a lot of pressure on your relationship.
Having a baby helped me refine how much I love people. I also finally understood how much my mom loves me. If she loves me even a little of what I feel for her then I am loved. I also know what it means when I miss someone because I sometimes miss her so much my heart and body actually aches. How does my mom cope?
I learnt that I can be efficient with my time. I commit better to things immediately. I can function with little to no sleep.
A friend is waiting to have her first baby any time now and a popular blog I read often asks participants what advice they would give a first time mama and only now am I kind of ready to attempt answering that.
Over the holiday I got a bit tired of listening to the same subscribed podcast content so I challenged myself to listen to shows I wouldn’t normally do or I had heard but did not want to commit to full subscription just yet. So here are some of those fantastic episodes.
I felt my back stand up when I first listened to her views on infidelity so I wasn’t open at all but I liked it so much I listened to this other episode on sexlessness.
Radio Diaries’ Teenage Diariesrevisited. I love that kind of radio soooo much. I was hanging on the edge of my seat listening. Definitely subscribing. As a teen I would have loved to participate in such an activity, to be honest, even now I would.
At Church we are covering a series on Grace and so far the study has reminded me of two things that I would like to share today.
The definition of grace is “unearned, unmerited and undeserved kindness and favour of God.” Grace is free and has all to do with God and His love for us a sinful, unfaithful and undeserving people.
Sometimes we forget this meaning and so it’s the third thing that we often forget and so I thought it wise to begin there. Now onto the things that I have actually learnt.
No sin is bigger than God’s grace. There is nothing that we can do that will set us apart from the grace of God. Because if there were, it would negate the very definition of grace.
We have to accept this grace on our own behalf. In that sense it’s personal but it’s also possible that you can reject it and miss out because we choose the penalty (death – the wage for sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ [Rom 6:23]) over and over again.
Lastly, due to our nature, we can get very transactional with God. If you do this, I will …. I thought I didn’t do this but I see that I quite often do this I still bargain and negotiate and try to “please” God so I am slowly learning to rest in His completed work and to be still.
I pray that I continue to meditate on these truths always.
Key: *** Highly Recommend ** Yeah, why not read it *Nah, only read if you have nothing else (No star) I have no feelings on the book
The Believers – Rebecca Makkai ***
Becoming – Michelle Obama *** I initially feared that the hype would be larger than the content of the book so I read it much later and I loved it. My only regret was by then all the book clubs had already met and discussed it.
The Year that Changed Everything- Cathy Kelly. First of her reads and I loved it.
It Started with Paris – Cathy Kelly.
The Storyteller- Jodi Piccoult **Do terrible deeds define us or can we be someone else with time?
Secrets of a happy marriage – Cathy Kelly
Homecoming – Cathy Kelly.
Dead to Me – Lesley Pearse. Love that it was about strong female friendships and personal endurance.
Without a Trace – Lesley Pearse
Just Mercy- Bryan Stevenson *** There is now a movie being made on this book, check it out.
A River of Stars – Vanessa Hua. What a dud, don’t bother.
Me and my Sisters – Sinead Moriarty
The Secrets Sisters Keep – Sinead Moriarty
Between Sisters – Cathy Kelly
This Child of Mine – Sinead Moriarty. Skip it at all costs, this could have been a short story or a novella at best.
Our Secrets and Lies – Sinead Moriarty
Unnatural Causes – Richard Shepherd. This helped with my morbid fascination with dead bodies.
The House on Willow Street – Cathy Kelly
I owe you one – Sophie Kinsella
Washington Black – Esi Edugyan. This was certainly an over hyped book, I wouldn’t recommend it.
Home Fire – Kamila Shamsie *** I simply loved it, check it out.
My book of the year was The Great Believers. This book deals with the burden of being left behind to confront the memories of a sad time. Also, just how far we have come since the first days of the AIDS scourge. Please do yourself a favour and also read it.