Friday, November 21, 2008

10 Things I had forgotten how much I loved about my husband

In no particular order:

1) No matter how mad he might be at me, he can't seem to keep himself from reaching out for me in his sleep . Doesn't matter if he's not speaking to me or if he went to sleep giving me his back. Once he is in a deep sleep he will reach out and at least place a hand on my waist or my arm if I am too far away for him to hold me.

A few times I've been mad enough at him to move away. But then when I woke up in the morning he'd reached out during the night and it had happened again.

I don't know what it means really. That he forgives me in his sleep? Because it doesn't seem to make him anymore forgiving once he's awake.

But it is so sweet and it is something that couldn't happen from half-way across the world. It was so hard when he was overseas and we would fight and he would withdraw. I wouldn't even have these little touches to compensate through the emotional starvation.

2) If I admire him or compliment him he gets really embarrassed. All I have to do is stare at him adoringly from across the room when he's talking to people and the body language will start to change and project discomfort. Then he'll come up and ask me to knock it off.:)

I love giving him compliments about his looks and gushing over him with people around BECAUSE I know how much it embarrasses him. He is just so cute when he's all embarrassed and not Mr.Cool.:)

Although with him it doesn't seem to make much difference whether there are people around or not. Even if we're alone together, compliments embarrass him unless they're frankly sexual. Then they turn him on. That's his cocky-sexual-predator mode.

But yeah, don't talk to him about his cute smile or generous heart.

3) How helpful he is around the house without being asked and without complaint - especially now that am pregnant. If he's not home and I say am going to clean, cook, do laundary etc...he'll say wait for me I'll help you. If he's around he'll sometimes try to talk me out of household chores if he's not in the mood. If I insist, he will always come with me.

I mean, he's not the greatest at this sort of stuff. He can't cook to save his life. And if he goes grocery-shopping he'll get all the wrong stuff. And if he's washed one of the bathrooms, he won't rinse properly and there will be detergent on everything.

All of which tells me that he's used to being waited on.

And so it means even more to me that he never lets me work alone. We always work around the house as a team. And even incases where I wind up having to do things again because he hasn't done them properly, it doesn't FEEL like work when he's around me. It is fun.

4) This one may not sound like a positive. My husband acts a little territorial when we're out socially. He's not shy about telling other men off for anything he considers stepping out of line with me - even just for swearing infront of me.

But in a work situation, he always lets me handle things my way with colleagues/visitors etc...I used to be nervous whenever he would be hanging around my office because his usual, that's-my-wife-so-you-better-watch-your-step-a****** attitude would have been particularly mortifying - especially in my work culture where I have been working so hard for years to make people forget that I'm a woman.

My best friend M - who is also a work colleague - noticed this and brought it to my attention last week. She's not someone who normally gets along with K very well mainly because she feels he acts too protective and overbearing when we are all out together. She said if I can get him to behave everywhere the way he behaves at work then it would be great.

Seeing him at my office, respecting my space, trusting me to take care of myself socially etc....makes me feel like a mother watching her little boy try to make her proud by being on his best behavior. I feel pleased even if unable to explain the good behavior or guarantee similar good behavior in the future.

Of course when I ask, he DOES get all embarrassed and dismissive, the way he normally does when he's done something right and is expecting me to go gushy on him any minute. See no.2 above.

5) He's great with my family - particularly my mother who can be a bit tricky because she was so angry with him for leaving me on my own. He is endlessly patient with her and never fails to reassure her and even make her laugh.

I am not as good with his family as he is with mine. Not that I don't love his mother because I do. But I am just not as patient a person as he is. Something I have to keep working on.

6) He once told me he thought I should have the things that I want, meaning material things. Which is one of the sweetest things anyone has ever said to me. And he means it, too. If I say I want something, no matter how stupid, then sooner or later he'll generally try to get it for me. If I refuse to give him all the details BECAUSE I don't want him to buy it for me, he'll still try. He'll go out and get the wrong thing but it's like he just has to get something.

I have to be careful about that actually because I know financially we're not at our best these days and he can be really crazy that way.

7) Having my fears and worries laughed away. Just having him around calms me down because he is so not the worrying type and that immediately makes everything look less worrisome.

It's like the only thing I have to worry about when he's with me is him when the relationship isn't going well or whatever because he makes all my other worries about other stuff go away. Whereas when he wasn't here everything was just so much scarier no top of all the relationship stress of long-distance.

8) All the different names he calls me. He'd stopped using most of them when he was away.

9) His foot massages.

10) His appetite. He is such a pleasure to cook for.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Just stuff

On random guys who might have harrassed me at parties:

Him: That should have been me.
Me: That should be you what? Harrassing me?
Him: Looking at you like that. Thinking about doing you.
Me: K, we're in bed. Am having your baby. And you're upset because you didn't get to harrass me at parties? When you don't even like parties?
Him:Hmm...maybe you have something there. This is better.

On the fact that we sold my car - his gift to me on our first anniversary - on Friday:

Him: When things get settled, I'll make it up to you.
Me (crying): You don't have to make it up to me. You didn't have to buy me a car. I never expected you to. And I wasted all your money. And I haven't even paid you back yet. So don't sit there and talk about making it up to me. Don't you think I feel bad enough?
Him: Khalas, Khalas. Ma tday2ish nafsik. I won't make it up to you. I'll charge you interest. Just stop crying before you hurt yourself.

When I woke him up at night once because I had a nightmare that the reason my breasts are so huge now is that they're stuffed full of cancerous lumps:

Him(mumbling): Alf ba3d elshar 3laiki.

And he goes back to sleep.

Me (shaking him): Wake up. I am telling you I have breast cancer.
Him: L., you don't have cancer. Go back to sleep.
Me: How do you know?
Him: Because they feel fine to me. Ma kontish haskot ya3ni. Breasts don't just turn into lumps.
Me: You don't care if it's all cancer. You're just pleased they're bigger.
Him (sitting up): Ok, tell me what I can do to prove to you that I care.
Me: I almost had cancer once before. I have a history.
Him: 7abibi, you did not almost have cancer. You thought you had a lump and you didn't. You imagined it. That's not the same as having a history of cancer. You're fine. You're just pregnant.
Me: I was a smoker for years.
Him: Yeah, not the smartest move. Bas el7amdullilah 2dar wi lataf. If it will make you feel better niroo7 nikshif bokra elsob7.
Me: Ok.
Him: Ba3dain meen a2lik that I'm pleased they're bigger? You're pleased they're bigger. You thought you were too small. I thought they were just fine. I never had any complaints.
Me: Fine now or fine before?
Him: You know what? That's the kind of philosophical question......
Me (finishing his sentence): You don't want to deal with in the middle of the night?
Him: Right. Come on. Let's go back to sleep. Rabena yihdeeki.

And he did take me to the doctor in the morning. I couldn't have a mammogram because the doctor thought it might be risky for the baby. So I had an ultrasound which showed no solid lumps. No further testing is needed or recommended for the moment. Alhamdullilah, I don't have cancer.


Friday, November 07, 2008

Battles Lost, Battles Won

So he always thought I should be more reserved. A long-standing complaint is that I am too approachable, too much of a party-animal, not selective enough about who I mix with etc...

When I would argue, he would listen. At least he would appear to. He would appear to put up with it.

Now he says he tried and tried but he just can't put up with it anymore, that I have to change, that he is out of patience. He even plays the motherhood card now, tells me I have to change certain things because am going to be a mother.

The true extent of what I am being asked to do is becoming clear. It's not just a question of not going to clubs without him or not getting photographed while I do it. It's deeper than that. It's teaching myself to think of his feelings as I interact with people when we're not together. Something I still struggle with. He may always be on my mind. I may think of him and talk about him a lot when he is not with me. But I behave pretty much the way I always have. When I am out in the world, I have this different persona. The extrovert, the life and soul of the party, the girl who is ready to be with anyone as long as she doesn't have to be alone for a moment.

That's what it's about. It's not having people in my life whose presence there I cannot explain to him. That's what he really hates. Not that I go to clubs but that he has no idea who I'm with when we're not together, because a lot of the time I don't know myself ahead of time who I'll end up spending an evening or an afternoon with. He hates that I am in pictures with guys whose names I don't know. He hates that we can go out in public and I can be greeted by guys and then when he asks, I can't remember how or when I might have met them. He hates that there are still people who know me but don't know I'm even married and don't know he's my husband. Not because I mean to hide it. Simply because I might have ever met them only once - for one outing - years and years ago. All leftovers from a lifetime of just hanging out with anybody and talking to anybody to avoid being alone.

It's always been a point of contention that he likes to surround himself with a small group of people he trusts while I just like to surround myself with people. Stability, familiarity matter to him. Even his wild friends - much as I dislike them - he's known them forever. He likes to get to know people one at a time so he can take his time and seize them up and figure out if he trusts them before they're allowed to become part of his life. And now I am part of his life and he can't keep track of the people around me.

In response to the latest clash, I can't find the usual sense of rebellion. I can't hear the voices inside me that used to tell me that I have to be myself, that I can't allow him to mold me into his image of the perfect wife, that he should accept me as I am. Or the other voices that say well he can never be there for me all the time. There will be times when he chooses to withdraw from my life - either physically or emotionally - because he has other priorities or because he is punishing me for something. And what do I do then? Am so used to not being alone. I have no idea what to do with myself when am alone. None of that is resonating this time. Not really.

And - because he knows me so well, he can sense that this time I am not up to much of a fight, so he won't stop pushing until he gets his own way, once and for all. He won't execute a tactical retreat like he used to do in the past when he could sense I wasn't ready to back down.

Another reason why he wants this resolved now is that we are about to start a new life. This is my city. The city where I grew up. The life I have had since before I even met him. But when we leave here, I will be on his turf instead of mine. And he wants to make sure that our new social life is established on premises he is more comfortable with.

I guess he wants what he wants more than I want the opposite. I don't want to be a social butterfly badly enough to withstand all the hassle. I don't want my freedom enough to pay for it by putting up with his disapproval, his lack of attention - especially not now.

And he clearly wants me to change enough to put us both through whatever it takes, for as long as it takes for me to back down.

So he wins.

I think I've already changed. Probably not in the healthiest way possible, which would have been out of true conviction that it is right thing to do. I've changed because the look on his face when he saw that picture - and some of the more memorable things he said to me over this and similar things in the past - are haunting me in a manner that is affecting the way I behave. I've changed because after the long separation, I need him to be with me 100% and he's shown that he's perfectly capable of being physically here and yet being so distant that I am as deprived as when he was away. I've changed because I am having his baby and it is an experience I don't want anything to keep us from sharing as much as we can. It is so sad that we were not talking the first time I felt the baby move, that the state of affairs between us forced me to use our baby as an emotional bribe to get his love and attention. The same way I've had to use my doctor's appointments, my scans etc.....

Our baby is worth more than that. My baby deserves more than to be a bargaining chip for anyone - especially me.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008


To America. Not just for electing what appears to be the better candidate. Also for successfully getting through another peaceful transition of power some of us can only envy.

Congratulations also for setting an example for other societies still struggling with racial identity issues.

Here's hoping that this new presidency will bring all things successful for Americans and for America's role in the world.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Blah Blah

This morning I had an attack of dizziness. So my friend M drove me home from work. My husband wasn't there.

No surprise. I've hardly seen him since the last argument. He gets in very late. I always wake up when he gets into bed but I just turn over and go back to sleep. Someone is clearly going to so much trouble to avoid you, well, I do have some pride. When I can find it with him, that is.

In the morning, when I get up for work, he is asleep. And I don't try to wake him.

This morning though, I sent him SMS to tell him I thought I felt the baby move. I thought for sure he would call. Or at least reply to the SMS.


So it was no surprise to come home to an empty apartment. I changed and crawled into bed and fell asleep.

I was woken by something moving on my belly. At first I thought it was the baby again. But it was his hand on me.

I was afraid to open my eyes - or even breathe. Afraid that if he knew I was awake he'd withdraw and we'd fight again.

Then I realized how stupid I was being. Of course he knew I was awake. He's got to know I wouldn't sleep through this - his hand inside my nightie feeling my belly. I'd have to be dead.

I wanted to say something but I really couldn't think of anything. I was so tired of trying to find the right thing to say to him.

He asked if I was awake. I said yes. He pushed the covers away from me and put his head on my belly.

And I knew what he was trying to do. The same thing I wished I could do so many times. Place my ear on my belly and try to hear the baby move. Or a heartbeat. Or anything.

All the time, I wish that, that it was physically possible for me to do what he was doing. So I couldn't resist asking him if he could hear anything.

He said no, kissed my still non-existent bump, then pulled the bedcover back over me.

He asks how am feeling. I say fine.

I ask him why he'd been avoiding me. He says he didn't want to have an all-out fight, didn't want me getting hysterical when am pregnant, that he was just cooling off, that I shouldn't worry.

I ask him if he would hold me.

So he does and I go back to sleep for a couple of hours.

He spent this entire evening in. Still not very approachable, mostly watching TV or reading. Not very talkative. Until he fell asleep a little while ago.

But at least he was here. After the last 2 days, that feels good.

I am not sleepy at all. And I can't miss work again. That's not so good.

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Saturday, November 01, 2008

I wonder

What does it feel like when the baby moves or kicks?

Does it feel like someone fluttering their fingers along the skin of your abdomen except from the INSIDE?

That has happened 3 times. The first time, it was so faint I couldn't be sure it even happened. I decided I must have imagined it.

The second time, it lasted longer. And when I lay down on my back it became more pronounced.

Today, just a few minutes ago, I felt it again. It gave me goosebumps.

The sensation is completely internal though. When I put my hand on my belly I can't feel anything with my fingers on the outside.

If that IS the baby though then how many limbs does a 4-month foetus have exactly? I ask because I feel it in different areas of my abdomen, upper, lower, left side, right side, sometimes simultaneously.

What ARE you doing in there exactly?


My scan has been rescheduled until next Wednesday as my doctor has come down with a very bad case of the flu.

Will try to call her later and tell her about this.