Nostalgic

This week’s Weekly Photo Challenge asks us to post a photo which brings a sense of nostalgia to us.

For some reason I have been thinking a lot about life and our mortality lately.  When my mom posted this photo on Facebook, it brought such a sense of nostalgia, I just knew that it was the right one for this challenge.  It’s a photo of me (on the left), my sister (who passed away in 2005 in the middle) and my brother (on the right) WAY back when.  It brings back so many memories and I wish with all my heart we could once again sit down together for a meal or just to talk nonsense!

familie

7 Deadly Sins of Relationships

Ever since Jacques and I met, we have placed a lot of emphasis on the importance of communication in relationships. Between us we have witnessed, and were somewhat intimately involved in, 13 marriages; that, I’m sure you will agree, is a huge learning field to get your information from with regard to making a relationship work. Let me clarify the number: my only marriage to date, which ended after 12 years, my grandparents, who have been an inspiration to me of what marriage is supposed to be like and the remaining 11 were broken marriages our parents were involved in.

No wonder then, that it has been one of our big questions, quests even, to find out what it takes to make a relationship work. What is the secret ingredient?

I obviously can’t speak for everyone and I fully realize that there is valid reason, even if only a one sided one, for any marriage or relationship to come to an end. We all have our share of circumstances and emotions to deal with; circumstances and emotions which can never really be fully understood by any outsider. I guess we live in a society in which it has just become all too easy to give up; it is rather more acceptable to walk out than it is to stick around and fight for what you want.

Last night we decided to do the chick-flick thing and watch “The Vow” – O My Hat! Waterworks galore!

Now, if you have never seen the movie, do yourself (and your partner) a favor; get the popcorn, settle in for the night and prepare to be moved!

The Vow tells the true story of a young married couple who are involved in a car accident. After waking up from her coma months later, the wife does not remember her husband or even the fact that they are married. Despite being presented with voice messages, photos and even a video of their wedding ceremony, she can’t remember ever having met him. Her memories goes back about four years ago, to a time when she was still living at home, enrolled in Law School and engaged to someone else. It is then up to her husband to make her fall in love with him again and remember why they got married. Now that takes dedication!

Naturally, the movie got me thinking. We are all human and inevitably we all make mistakes. If you want, these mistakes can be categorized and filed and rated and such, to fit into two main groups; either it is forgivable or it is unforgivable. Perhaps we will call them “The 7 Deadly Sins of Relationships”

  • Forgetting to by milk – This one is not really something which will destroy your relationship, but if you have a full out row about something as small as this, it is a sure sign that you have some underlying issues. Get to the point and do something about it. You still have time!
  • Not pulling your weight around the house – Again, not something that in itself will destroy a relationship, but combine this little monster with underlying stresses of everyday life and soon those stinking socks you keep lying around everywhere will multiply with the toilet seat being left up and, boom, you have disaster!
  • Good lies – This, I will admit, is a tough one. Say you are planning a surprise birthday party for your partner. You tell your partner that you are going to visit your aunt on a Saturday afternoon. In actual fact you are going to the bakery to pick up the cake and then to the venue to decorate and get everything ready. While you are going about your business, your aunt innocently pops up at your place for cake and tea. Certain recipe for disaster! In a perfect world with perfect relationships where no-one have ever been hurt and does not harbour any trust issues, it would not be a problem. When you are in a committed relationship however, you have to take into account what your partner’s relationship history is.
  • Bad Lies – This one is obvious and it is also where we draw the line between forgivable and unforgivable “sins”. Telling your partner that you are visiting your mother just to go and watch a movie on your own is not cool. Speak up, tell him or her that you want some time to yourself and then go with it. There is never a justifiable reason for lying to your partner; it will only leave them hurt and doubtful of your relationship.
  • Flirting – Do I really need to explain this one? Yes the pretty little blond at your work has been giving you the eye and your ego just swells every time she turns the corner. There is no such thing as innocent flirting. Either you are committed to your partner and do all your flirting at home or you are not and you don’t. It really is that simple.
  • Cheating – This one is not to be confused with Number 7. Cheating does not necessarily involve having a relationship with someone other than your partner. Cheating, in my books, are defined as anything which steals quality time from your relationship. Addicted to porn? Drinking too much? Spending more times with your buddies than with your partner? These are all things which steal time from your partner and, in effect, steal the life out of your relationship.
  • Having an affair – Needles to say, this is the big no-no. Make up your mind: do you want to be with your partner, yes or no. Again, it really is that simple. Either you love him or her enough to want to be there or you don’t. Having an affair is just a cowardly act which speaks of nothing but your spineless character. If you are unhappy and you can’t fix it, walk out the door and go have your affair then. No-one has the right to treat another human being’s emotions as a yo-yo. You are up or you are down; you are in or you are out – you can’t have it both ways.

The big realization that came with the movie, however, is this:

If both of you are 100% committed to making it work, it is never too late to start building new memories. If you truly love each other and you are both truly committed, if you have love and Grace in your relationship, nothing can stop you. Look at your partner and right now make a renewed commitment to each other and let go, and I really do mean LET GO, of the past. With love and Grace there is no room for hatred or grudges, there is no room for any resentment, you have to let it go in order to move on.

Start your relationship afresh. Every second from here on in is the opportunity to build new memories. You owe it to yourselves to make those memories good ones. The choice is entirely yours.

THERE IS NO BETTER TIME THAN RIGHT NOW!

I promise to never complain about a photo again!

My brother, sister and myself as part of a wedding party

My brother, sister and myself as part of a wedding party

Today I received my technology rescue, the one I have been praying for. The laptop my dad and his wife bought me arrived from the Free State, lovingly packaged by my mom. Along came a book too: Paulo Coelho’s The Zahir. Yay, but for once, the book will have to wait.

I switched on the laptop eager to get started, but that is where the waterworks started. Instead of a desktop image, there was a message from my mom:

“My dear Nanuschka, may this laptop be the start of great things for you. May you one day win the Nobel prize for all the injustices you try and find. May every word you type be to God’s glory and may He bless you in every moment. I am so proud of you!”

What I discovered on the laptop changed my view of photos forever. I have never been a huge fan of photos. I would much rather be behind the shutter capturing the moment than being in the moment. My mom has always been the one to insist on photos. Every event, every occasion had a reason for a photo to be taken. Her requests for photos at these times are always met by complaints, sighs and long faces. It will never happen again. I will be smiling and jumping the queue to get their first.

The photos on there are an heirloom of memories; a treasure chest of family history. I found photos of my brother, sister and myself; photos of my parents dating back to their wedding day in 1972. To the wedding day photo’s Luke commented: Gosh, those guys really got stuck in the 70’s! There are precious, precious photos of Luke – his entire life captured on film. I found photos of my grandparents, my childhood home, my first Christmas tree(!), Saartjie (the cleaner employed by my gran for as long as I can remember). There were even photos of celebrities, gala events and sports teams – all captured by my mom. Old black and white prints of wedding days before color film and antique photos of my grandfather’s first car and first motorbike. It was the first time I had been able to show Luke a picture of my grandfather – it would appear he looks like a German general of the Second World War.

Through these photos I remembered my Oupa getting ready for Sunday church, fights with my brother and moments of hysterical laughter with my sister. I remembered long late night talks with my mom and the smell of dad when he holds me to his chest.

Photos and stories are our links to the past. Treasure them. Without them we have nothing to stir up old memories. Through these photos I could share stories with Jacques and Luke tonight; stories that made me laugh and stories that made me cry.

Thank you to my dad and Theresia for making this day possible.

Thank you to my mom for always being the memory keeper of our family. I now understand!

Memories for sale

Today’s prompt asks us to go down memory lane.

It was on a Sunday afternoon, late in the summer of 2009, that we took the trip into the countryside.   With no real destination in sight, we decided to just go wherever the road took us.  Just as we thought that there were nothing to be seen here, we saw the sign

sale

I immediately wanted to protest.  Rummaging through someone else’s rubbish is just not my idea of fun.  Give me a lake and tree under which I can watch the sun set – that’s what I had in mind when we set off!  I knew, however, that no amount of complaining could stop Jacques from pulling into the driveway.  I resigned myself to the fact and grudgingly got out of the car.

We were met by a tight-lipped young lawyer, obviously not happy with the way his Sunday was being spent either.  “All items are for same as per the prices indicated.  This is an Estate sale and no negotiations will be entered into.  All payments are to do be done by means of cash or money transfer, for which we have set up facilities in the dining room.  Nothing may be removed prior to complete payment being made.”  With that he turned on his heels and continued talking on the cellphone.  We looked at each other and shrugged, not very inviting then?!  Jacques took to his normal routine while I aimlessly walked around.

I found myself at the door to the barn; it was slightly ajar, barely hanging on the hinges.  Curiosity got the better of me and I stepped inside.  It was considerably darker inside as the windows had been closed up, thin rays of sunshine crept through the cracks in the board.  My footfall dampened by the thick layer of hay and dust.  Old air assaulted my nostrils, made me sneeze.  For some reason, I couldn’t leave and walked deeper into the bar.  Five paces later, I saw something which gave me the first sense of excitement since we arrived.

bookshelf

Books and books covered the entire wall, all the way to the top!  This was heaven!  I walked over and gingerly started to clean away cobwebs.  There were books dating back from before I was born, leather backs and old thick pages.  I was too afraid to disturb them and walked down the wall, gently stroking the backs of books I passed.  I  fetched the ladder I had seen outside the door to discover the books higher up.  Precariously balancing on the unstable ladder I found Shakespeare!  Every single play written.  I simply had to see more!  As I took out Hamlet, the ladder gave way and I ended face down in front of the bookshelf.  My fall somewhat softened by the hay, dust swirling around my head.  I just lay there, waiting for the pain of broken bones to start screaming at my senses, but it didn’t come.  Instead, my eyes caught sight of a book that I would never have noticed. I just about jumped up and grabbed the book.  I could not believe my eyes and had to shake my head to be sure!

I grabbed it and ran out of the barn, I had to find sunlight, I had to be sure!  With trepidation I opened the brass buckles and opened the cover.  I closed my eyes, it was too much, what if it was not really the one!?  With one eye open I took a peek at the book and shrieked in joy!  It was the old Family Bible, the one that’s been in the family since the late 1800’s!  After my grandfather passed away it was taken by a family member.  None of us knew who took it and it was quite frankly something that did not really seem to bother anyone much.  For me it was important though.  I used to sit by his knee at night when he would read the evening scripture.  I used to love listening to the sound of his voice and the gentle sound of the thin pages as he turned them over.  I used to look at the names which appeared in the family tree and wonder about what they looked like and how they lived.  It was our Family Bible, I found it!

bible1

I ran up to Jacques just as he and the lawyer concluded their transaction, the trunk of the car stuffed with who knows what.

“How much for this?”  I asked.

“That’s not for sale ma’am.  Where did you find it?”  the you lawyer asked.

“I found it in the barn, at the back.  Please, I have to have it!  It is my old Family Bible and I have to have it back.  Please sir, I will pay anything!” I pleaded.

He looked at me, very puzzled.  “What do you mean it’s your Family Bible?  The lady of the house was the last in a long line of descendants and her will determined that everything should go to charity as she knew of no family members”.

Not grasping the important of his words I opened the Bible “There, G C Erasmus, that is my grandfather, he passed away in 1985, and the Bible went missing after that.  Please, I have to have it back!”

“May I see some identification?”

He took my Identity Book and disappeared into the makeshift office.  After 5 minutes he came out.

“Ma’am, there would of course need to be DNA Testing to confirm, but it would appear that you now own this land.  If indeed you are who you claim to be, you are the sole heir to the estate.  My offices will be in contact with you.  In the interim, feel free to take the book with you”