The Other Woman, a Letter From My Heart
"Your children are not your children.They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you yet they belong not to you." On Children – Kahlil Kibran
An open letter
Dear Mum and Dad of The Other Woman,
When I fell pregnant with my boy I starting praying for a perfectly healthy baby. Whilst labouring away my thoughts were on 10 fingers and 10 toes. I fell in love with him the moment he was born, gone were all thoughts of imperfections, he was a perfect miracle in every way, and I stared at him for 2 days marvelling at this miraculous manifestation from my body. I knew all the other Mums were quite envious! Who could’ve thought? My prayers then turned to two things, one, may he never go to the army (in our country boys were conscripted to do 2 years military training, fighting a senseless war, but, that’s another story) and my other prayer was that he’d be happy.
As you know the nightmare war ended, my boy grew up and was completely devoted to me, loved me and thought I was 21 until I turned 34. He believed his Grd 1 teacher was cleverer than me, but not prettier; it wasn’t until he turned 11 that I knew I had competition and started praying for the right girl to come along. I believed that through my prayers I was sending her on her straight and narrow way, she’d be almost 8 then, a good age to start praying for her too, she was lucky, she’d have two mothers devoting much of their prayer time to her, surely things couldn’t go wrong? My faith took a turn for the worst as he got a little older and his discerning eye went out of focus but, I believe that God will test us and something good can come from a bad situation. After all we grow spiritually when things go awry. Fortunately that was short lived. As gut wrenching as it is I’m not naive, there probably were a few dodgy ones too, fortunately he’s no fool, and would’ve seen them for who they were.
It was during these turbulent years that not many girls were brought home. During my wildest nightmares I assured myself that he’d come to his senses and as it’s written he would settle for the girl most like me (of course), he would prove nature right which is: 1. That boys always marry their mothers 2. Boys treat women as they would their mothers. It was just a matter of time. The clock ticked as all clocks do, but I had time and faith.
When he decided to spread his wings and flap off into the unknown I was mortified. Those devil may care years in Cape Town were nerve wrenching enough but I was there to pick up the pieces if need be. Fortunately my mind was put to rest when I read this “If You Love Somebody Set Them Free” which appeared in a book titled “I Ain’t Much Baby—But I’m All I’ve Got” by Jess Lair. These words would become my mantra until I read “be still and know I’m God” I shut up. God certainly works in mysterious ways. Perfection Personified was getting a tad long in the tooth; did I have reason to worry? “Not really” I assured myself, boys should only start looking at girls at 30, not a day before that.
Eccentricity is a common trait in our family, fore warned is fore armed, I would be prepared. The eccentric manifestation would be revealed in good time. And then he emailed with the good news, he was coming home, and bringing a girl. I breathed, what sort of girl would love “Pet detective”. They say “dynamite comes in small packages” it’s true, he just didn't tell us that! Just once while feeling particularly vulnerable I asked my beloved what does he look for in a woman and his response was “Mom, you know I have an eye for design, well, I like a good design” he certainly got it.
I jumped for joy when I saw my gorgeous boy, I hardly noticed the tiny creature next to him, but we were happy and embraced her as one of ours. Two years have passed since then.
On the 12th December, 2014 we met “our children” at the airport once again. Through bleary eyes I spotted her first, your gorgeous navy blue-eyed girl.
It’s not often that we have an opportunity to observe our children. They’re all grown up now; the times we spend with them are limited to their schedules and busy lives. I was lucky to have three weeks to get to know them again. Living thousands of miles away from ones children certainly has its disadvantages and can never be justified from a mother’s point of view but I’ve come to terms with it and I’ve even got used to it.
When it comes to our children the choice of “the girl” is never ours. The choice of a life partner is never ours, we’re just fortunate to be a part of their journey.
I had the pleasure of spending a summer holiday with your daughter, I got to know her a little better and this is what I found. She’s brave. She’s undemanding, patient, kind and loving. She treats everyone around her with respect. She’s intelligent, well read and eloquent, she can hold her own in any company. She’s neither intimidating nor will she be intimidated. I’d call her a smart cookie. My boy couldn’t have hoped to spend as much time doing all the things he loves with someone who wasn’t as unshelfishly conscious of his needs as she is. She encouraged and egged him on to make the most of this time.
During these three weeks she happily took part and was a part of all the activities thrown at her without complaint. She bravely tried anything new or unknown to her. Africa’s not for sissy’s and she stood her ground proudly! She manned up beautifully and often showed her resilience and soldiered on regardless!
I would be a fool to wish for a girl like me when he has this amazing woman in his life. I love the man he’s become because of her, he’s confident, mature and reasoned. He’s honed his skills and become adventurous with her encouragement and support. There is an aura of peace and tranquillity about him; he’s happy in his own skin and content. With knowledge and hindsight I notice he’s quietened down and the love and acceptance he experiences now has soothed his spirit.
Laughter late at night and early in the morning was a joy to hear as they banter, chitter-chatter and play. Laughter is the best medicine, how blessed he is to have someone who cheers him up. They have opinions which they voice freely and they respect each other for it, I hope they never lose their voice. They are equals in the true sense of the word both intellectually and emotionally. When it comes to quick wit, a good one-liner and obscure trivia they’re a match made in heaven. Their conversations are informative and not just to fill empty spaces of silence. They challenge and entertain each other constantly and do so with charm to great effect.
We spent many hours together, chatting and getting to know each other, I appreciate the time she selflessly spent with me when I’m sure she could’ve done a lot better! She loves her family, speaks with awe of her Dad and with love of her Mum. She admires who and what you are and strives to fill those shoes. She’s fun, care-free and a free spirit. Being responsible, hard working, single minded and conscientious is a feather in her cap to be admired and respected.
We fell in love with her two years ago and our love for her hasn’t waned. We all feel humbled by the kindness she has shown to my parents and our extended family and I am indebted to her for everything she’s done for all of us. She has created the first home for my son since leaving home and for that I’m grateful to her. What's more she loves that dog!
All my prayers have been answered!
I gladly relinquish my precious boy to her and without hesitation have released the shackles that tied him to me! Now I can untie the apron strings, fling my arms up and jodel! She gives him reason to fly! You did very well with this child, I salute you!
With kindest regards,
The First Lady
NOTE TO SON: This girl loves small, sentimental gestures that will keep the romance alive and kicking in your relationship. She appreciates original effort and in return, can play many roles in a relationship. She is the best friend, surfing partner, race competitor, cheerleader, critic, lover and fighter, all in one. She is a dynamic and loyal partner.