Keep it Fly for the Hubs!

January 4, 2011

 

Looking good together

As my friend Monica says, I have to “be more vain,” and have more pride and self respect. Further, real talk, I’ve got a handsome husband who makes a good living and takes darned good care of me and my children. Trust, I’m not the only who has noticed that. He deserves a wife who keeps herself up. –Roslyn, commenting at The Sojourner’s Passport blog.

One day a few years ago, Mr. Foreverloyal and I were out to dinner at a trendy restaurant in a nice section of town.  As we were on our way to our car, a voiced called out his name, and a middle-aged man came up and said hello.  My husband introduced us, he smiled warmly and we exchanged pleasantries for a few minutes before going on our way.

That night,  I was wearing a nice outfit, including a new jacket that fit and flattered.  (As an aside, fit is at least 33% of making clothing work for you.  This was the first top I had ever bought in petite size.  It’s amazing what proper-length sleeves and no excess fabric on the back does for your look)  I looked quite presentable, which is more than what can be said for how I looked the previous week.  I would have been embarassed to meet any of his friends/business associates that night.

A husband and wife is a team, and in addition to all the other ways in which they support each other, they should each be a flattering reflection of the other.  Your appearance and comportment does have an effect on how your husband is viewed by others.  Make it a positive one.

Advertisements

Dear Grandpa

September 22, 2010

Dear Grandpa Mac,

It’s fall and the leaves are turning.  As the days grow colder, I’ve been thinking of you more and more.  The world changed so much in the time between your birth in the early part of the last century, and just a few years ago when you left us.  We never spoke about it much.

You grew up in the South during Jim Crow, “Whites Only” signs and other limitations and indignities were your everyday realities.  For me they are only photos in a history book.  You were a young man during the Great Depression, just beginning life with your sweetheart, a life that lasted nearly 75 years.  You saw the Civil Rights movement, Motown, and watched bell bottoms come in and out of style a couple of times.

You had a good life together.  Mom talks about furniture that never matched and Aunt C complains about all the chopping and peeling involved in preparing and preserving often home-grown food, but they’re very proud of the fact that you and Grandma took care of your family without a dime of charity.  Even when you qualified for that aid.  You didn’t make excuses when you could make things happen.

Mom said that despite the fact that you worked long hours to support your family, you would always listen to her problems and give advice. She had to get up early and talk to you as you ate breakfast before a long day of work.  It makes me smile to picture mom as a preteen, sitting in a small kitchen at a small table talking to you in the pre-dawn hours, the rest of the house asleep except for Grandma at the stove.  I cherish a photo of taken of you in what I guess is the late sixties, frowning at the camera as you are about to carve the Turkey at Thanksgiving.  You just wanted to get going, but Mom insisted on taking a picture first.

The world changed so much in your lifetime. At the time of your death Black Americans could vote without fear of violence, had won equal access to public facilities, and some held high positions in the government and private sector. Your sons had served in the military, a daughter had led a professional association, and a nephew who traveled the world on business.

Everything wasn’t all rosy though. The Black American out-of-wedlock rate skyrocketed to shameful heights, with too many of us defending fatherless homes as “normal” and bringing up the odd serial killer raised in a two-parent home whenever the problems with this widespread practice were so much as hinted at.  It seems we gained so much, but lost alot of our old-school values.

When you and Grandma got married, you weren’t doing anything out of the ordinary. It seems back then we knew the value of family. You and Grandma were a team.  You hunted rabbits, and she cleaned them and made them into stew.  You worked hard to make money for your family, and she managed it carefully, stretching the budget by growing food, having the kids wear hand-me-downs and making crazy quilts out of clothing that could no longer be worn.  At night, a child tiptoeing past your room could hear laughter coming from beyond the closed door.

Together, families like ours got through stormy weather like the Great Depression.  Hardship was eased because they were together. They worked together, ate together, celebrated together.

I always told you I loved you.  But I never told you how great you were, just for being a good man.  Because you married my Grandma and were an excellent husband, you gave my mom a dad. Beyond that, you gave me a grandfather and my children a great-grandfather.  They were all pretty young so they will remember you mostly through pictures, but also by the stories mom, I, and their uncles and Aunts tell about you.  Your committment to family is probably your most important legacy.

I worry about the future of Black Americans.  I worry that our professional, financial and political gains–generations of effort– will be undone by personal recklessness. So many children will not have a grandpas and great-grandpas in their lives because their parents never married.  They will not have the love and support they deserve.  So many heartwarming stories will never be told because they will never happen.  So many children will grow up with gaping holes in their souls, not just where their fathers should be, but where their grandfathers and great-grandfathers should be.  So many families have those gaping holes, right now.

It’s fall, Grandpa, and the leaves are turning.  Not just literally, but metaphorically.  Unemployment levels are high, and rising.  Many people have lost their homes, with many more living with that possibility at any moment.  Unlike the past, most of our families are fractured and therefore weak.  They are not functioning as strong teams, and as blogger Khadija Nassif said, “Survival is a team sport.”  Most tragically, they deny that this sort of family team is even necessary.

Most of us seem to not be able to find our commonsense.  And as you used to say, “If you have something and can’t find it, it’s the same thing as not having it.”

I thank God that I have mine. As you know, I married a man much like you.  A hard worker, as you once noted.  Someone who loves and is committed to his family, someone to work with me to make life good for our children and for us. Someone to frown impatiently as I flitter around taking photos at holidays.

The leaves are turning.  Winter is coming, but I feel confident we’ll make it through. Together.

Happy Loving Day

June 13, 2010

Thanks to these two and their lawyers, my husband and I have the ability to be legally married.

No one will be bursting into our bedroom to cart us off to jail for the crime of miscegenation, and no one will make us choose between prison or banishment from the state as our punishment.

We are free to jointly own property, dine on the patio at our favorite local restaurant, and attend the company holiday party.  We are free to raise a gaggle of adorable mischief makers who carry his family name. To have an ordinary life.  A good life.

Happy Loving Day, Mildred and Jeter.  Rest in peace.

charityLet me begin by stating that I only believe in dating for marriage.  I’m muslim, and quite traditional in that respect.  So if you believe in dating for kicks and something to do on a Saturday night, none of this applies to you. 

Think about what you really need and want in a marriage.  Where do you see yourself in 2, 5, 15 years?  Let’s talk finances for a minute.  Good conversation and romance is necessary in a marriage in my opinion.  However, it’s not the only thing.  You, your future husband and children are going to need food to eat, clothing to wear, and a place to lie your heads every night.  Therefore, any potential husband needs to be evaluated for his ability to provide those things.  Not only to provide them, but to provide them at a level that is satisfactory to you both.  For instance, if you place importance on eating mostly natural and organic foods, you’ll want a man willing and able to bear the cost of that for himself, his wife and children.  If you’re not a clotheshorse, sew a bit and don’t mind thriftstore shopping, that will lessen the amount he needs to make. Your standards need not be your best friend’s standards and vice versa.

But PLEASE, set some reasonable standards and stick to them.  Marriage is NOT a charitable endeavor.  You’re looking for someone who can add to your life as you add to theirs.

A man may very well have good excuses, even reasons, that he cannot meet your requirements.  Fine.  But as a wise blogger once said, “Reason’s Don’t Matter”  http://www.roslynholcomb.wordpress.com/2009/06/24/free-lesson-20-reasons-don’t-matter   “The fact of the matter remains the reasons are unimportant. The question you have to ask is what impact does this behavior have on you?”

He should, by all ,means, find someone whose standards he can meet.  If you want to be charitable donate your car to the local Salvation Army.  Don’t play games with your life.

Mr. Foreverloyal’s hair is very different from mine.

Naturally straight, it is frequently cut, dye-and-perm free, and therefore is in no need of special shampoos or products with names like “Smooth Down Butter Treat” and  “Coconut and Almond Intensive Hair Mask”

Imagine my surprise, then, when I caught him red-handed with a bottle of my deep conditioner.

It went something like this:

Me, *eyebrow raised:  “Um…. What are you doing with my stuff? Your bottle of Suave Ocean Breeze is right over there.  You know my conditioner isn’t good for your hair.”
Him *casual, winning smile, shaking up the conditioner and flipping it open:  “I like this stuff, it’s great for my beard.”  Patting it onto his cheeks and chin “It’s been kind of dry lately.”

 guy in mba

Me: *Leaving the room mumbling about how I better have some left next time I need it.*

So, now I have to make sure to have enough fancy schmancy conditoners for my hair AND his beard.  I can do that.  But if I catch him with a showercap on his beard under my bonnet dryer, we might have a problem.

A Day in the Life

May 3, 2009

Woke up, prayed Fajr.

Enjoyed the quiet for a little while, read posts at Khadija’s and Lisa Vasquez’s blogs.

Gathered the children’s clothing, crept into the room. The plan was to get them dressed and get them out of the house so that the Mr FL could sleep in.  I needed to hit the Home Depot for plants, and the flooring showroom as we need to replace our carpet.  Just as I have them all dressed, I hear my dh moving around upstairs. I decide to let the kids see him before we go.  Of course, what was supposed to be no more than 5 minutes of talking to their Daddy and then kissing him goodbye turned into the usual Saturday m0rning, kiddie-and-daddy WWF.

My sons jump on him, and he pretends to body slam them on the bed. Tiny Toddler tries to get in on the action and laughs hysterically when she is lifted high in the air and then dumped on the bed for tummy kisses.  I alternate between looking on in amusement and watching “Renovation Realities” on HGTV.  We end up all leaving at the same time.  My sons keep shouting, “Don’t let Daddy get away” as we follow his car down the road for a bit.  He turns off to get gas, we keep on to the flooring store.

They sit quietly on the couches in the showroom for a bit. I am relieved.  However, that doesn’t last long. I find the carpet I want, then dither about shade selection, holding the paint chip next to this sample and then that. We finally leave the store with the samples so I can see them at home.

At the Home Depot,  Tiny Toddler fusses at her oldest brother when he tries to sit with the youngest two in the cart. “No!” she barks. “You can’t!”  I roll my eyes and tell him he’s too old to sit there anyway. He is not pleased. I pick up two plants and then struggle with a bag of mulch.  A flag holding employee sees, stops the guy driving the heavy equipment, and comes to my aid.  Chivalry isn’t dead.

We hit the grocery store, and come home.  The kids go play and boy did I need a break! I love them but running errands with lil kids is no one’s idea of fun.

Mr. FL comes home, and as we are discussing carpet choices, the little ones get into a box of EmergenC packets and make themselves drinks. And spill powdered vitamin C on the floor. Mr. FL suggests that I not wait to put items away so that they won’t make unnecessary messes.   He then scolds the oldest, who knows better. 

I help him put up a new chandelier in the dining room.  My younger son has fun climbing the ladder and “helping” his daddy.  My older son wants to go in the backyard to play with a new bubble blower he got from his grandma, Mr. FL’s mom.  I tell him he has to wait until I can go out too.  After a few missteps and alot of time spent holding my hands over my head, we get the chandelier up.  My son takes a pic of me with his dad’s phone. Man I’ve gained weight since I messed up my knee.  Mr. FL and I then spend time looking at the chandelier

These things can take awhile to put up

These things can take awhile to put up

from every angle trying to decide if it looks right and if it is correctly positioned.  This home improvement stuff always takes longer than you think it will.

Mr. FL takes down the light fixture in the foyer, but the new one we got is defective.  He takes a break before starting dinner. I clear the counter and get out the cutting board, vegetables, and canned tomatoes. He comes down and begins chopping. I head for the backyard to pick basil and oregano. Tiny toddler fusses to come with me, so I carry her out.  She has a great time picking herbs but nearly yanks the oregano out of the pot entirely.  Back in the kitchen, she insists on rinsing them for daddy.

He makes spaghetti. It’s delicious as usual.  Halfway through dinner I realize I forgot to make lemonade.

I put away the food, we sit on the couch and talk for awhile. 

I leave to pick up Mini-FL, she’s spent the day with friends. On the way, I listen to Heather Headley.  When I arrive, she’s bursting to tell me all about her day, then tears up a bit because one of her friends is moving.  On the way back, we pick up an oreo cookie shake from the ice cream shop per Mr. FL’s request.

At home, everyone has to be bathed and brush their teeth.  I put Tiny Toddler to bed first, then braid Mini-FL’s hair so it won’t tangle too much.  Younger son shrieks and struggles when I announce bedtime. Yeah. He’s overtired. I carry his fussy self upstairs, but once in the bed, he stops resisting and goes to sleep pretty quickly.

And after that, I was tired and ready for SLEEP!

My Husband’s Hands

February 18, 2009

His hands throw our children in the air and tickle their tummies.

They thread chunks of chicken onto kabob skewers so he can grill us up some dinner.

His hands pull me in for a hug when I’m frustrated or sad.heart-in-hands

They put up curtain rods, they sometimes wash the dishes, they hold the door for me when we go out to dinner.

They have never struck me, or threatened to strike.

They have never closed around my neck, never yanked my head back, never shoved me into a wall.

Tell me, are his hands so rare in the world of Muslim men?

My Husband is Annoying

January 20, 2009

And so am I.

But I still love him, and he loves me.  Marriage is not at all “Happily Ever After”.  It’s more like, “Happily, Annoyingly, Ticked-off-ly, Blissfully, Wonderfully, Disappointedly, Amazingly, Mundanely, Passionately Ever After”  There are moments when he could just shake you and vice versa.  Annoying little flaws don’t disappear once you get married, you simply have the joy of living with them.  In your own little castle of love.castletopper1

You wonder, why after ten years of marriage he STILL doesn’t know which hamper is for whites and which one is for darks?  He wonders HOW you could have just gone to the grocery store yesterday, and TODAY have to stop on the way home because your baby is wearing her last diaper?  But you learn to (most of the time) ignore the little annoyances, even laugh at them.  After all, isn’t he the same man who held your hand, looked into your eyes and told you “You can do it” when you were in labor with your first child, (sans drugs)?  Who goes out into the cold and darkness every morning to work, so that you don’t have to?

And he remembers that you the same woman who cheerfully ran up and down the stairs about ten times an hour, fetching tea and tissues and soup and fresh-squeezed orange juice and Advil and extra blankets, and propped him up with pillows and plied him with vitamin C and echinacea when he was ill?  Who made his favorite meal, for no occasion at all, even though it makes a spectacular mess of the kitchen?  Who makes sure that he never has to touch an ironing board?

Aren’t you that same couple who stood before family and friends and swore to love and honor and all that other stuff? And didn’t you mean it?

I’m so grateful to say, YES!

I think Rita Rudner said it best:

I love being married.  It’s so great to find the one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.

Daddy

January 3, 2009

I ordered a cabinet and my husband put it together.  He asked our son to “help” him.

My son’s face was a mixture of rapt attention and sheer joy.  That boy loves his father.  His dad let him use the screwdriver, and explained the process as the cabinet came together bit by bit.  My son got to bring him the correct size screw for each part.

These are the moments I am grateful, all over again, for the husband and father that is Mr. Foreverloyal.

Last Night I Cried

October 29, 2008

My husband and I had dinner out.  It was great.  We talked about any and everything, the food was delicious and the restaurant wasn’t too loud.

As we headed back to the car he said something funny, we made eye contact, and burst out laughing.  In that moment it hit me all over again how much I love him, what a great husband he is masha’allah, how blessed I am to have him in my life.  How much it would hurt if anything happened to him (may Allah protect me from that). 

I started tearing up a bit but got it together in a few seconds, and he never noticed.

Go hug your love today.

If you don’t have one, know that their is such a thing as true love.

(On a lighter note, that reminds me that I have leftovers. Yum!)