In the last days, my wife and I have talked numerous times. She to tell me she loves me completely. Me to tell her I love her completely. I need her totally. But we both know we need to get away in August. At first I thought we would have to go to Bangkok to a hospital. I hate Bangkok with a passion. I told her and she just laughed. I would probably go there and sit in the hotel room for two days or so.
Instead my wife is feeling better and wants a break from family and house and friends. So we will be going somewhere in two weeks. I don’t know where it is yet but we will book some minivan or bus that will take us somewhere. It needs to be by beach and sand with modest beer and a lot of good food. My wife cannot drink any longer more than 2 or 3 beers but she loves spicy and good food. It will also be bikini time which I love.
So whistling down the wire is time to leave. Time to reinvent ourselves around the house and home. Create a new value for ourselves in the house. The house is a year long endeavor for us. We want to enjoy, raise the kids, send them to school. Take care of Mom with good food, comfortable rooms and AC, and just enjoy her unlimited hugs and care.
Sometimes things come along with my wife and I which seem to be problems like us taking these two kids on. They have been traded around in our family in Preah Vihear Province and not found a home yet. The girl stole from a store and was caught. The boy just does not behave at all. At first they lived with mom and it is too much for an 80 year old woman to do. We took them because no one else would. We decided with the house we would gain a family and Alin could once again find value in both of them, promote it, and give them a positive experience. This was not the solution that happened. Instead my wife embarked on days of rage and anger sometimes uncontrolled. It sent Mom to the far corners of the house seeking a reprieve. I just huddled in our room until finally we talked.
I told her gently not all kids are the same. No two can be considered as smart or stupid weighing one against the other. It is unfair to both. My son is very smart but he has autism. He has skills but is lacking on social abilities. His few friends understand him. My daughter is the opposite but she had her demons. So if we just compared them, my son would be seen as smart and my daughter stupid. Or even the opposite way later in life. The rule to me is never compare them to others. So finally after a few days of talking with my wife, the anger dissipated a bit but she still gets upset and when a Khmer parent gets upset, it often is a messy thing. I told her it would not work for me and today she decided to lead a different way with our kids.
The truth has been is that my wife leads in life. I am not a good leader or follower so I just do my thing. Truth is nothing is expected of me to be a problem or solution or even both. I try to help the kids by being gentle with them, loaning them my laptop at times to watch movies, asking them to please do for me. They always respond immediately. The girl does all my laundry now without being asked. I never have dirty clothes. The boy I have told to do the outdoors cleanup. He takes a little more pushing.
I have learned life can be so same same but different with a Khmer wife. She expects above all to be dedicated to me, to give me happiness in all things, and for me not to do much around the house. I can sit all day in the room, have the fan going, read or write. Now I go for walks in the morning earlier and do yoga later. It makes for a nice life but I have also learned a few things of note. My wife has expectations of others. Standards. She believes those that live in the house must come to the standard and do for the house to earn their keep. Mom does all for us without being asked. She mends clothing, cooks, cleans, and helps with everything. She also gives some damn good hugs. I cherish her. She is like all the good parts of Cambodia with none of the bad.
Most of all though I have learned yet more about my wife. More with each day from a journal of her I keep and more with just hearing her talk and express herself. I gently push her to be more accepting of the kids and not compare them to others. I learned she will listen in all things to me and decide then what to do.
I also have learned I must tell my wife every day I love her. In response she will smile but rarely does she tell me she loves me. That is her way and I’ve learned she expresses the love by all the things she does for us all. For me, she ensures my life is good, I am happy, I have some money in my pocket for coffee when I’m out, and that home life is just that. It should be a refuge, an escape from the world out there. A place to sit still or read or do things as we want. Build gardens or journals. Find words or worlds in my books.
And I learn more of the chronicles each day of this family we have. This blog enriched by all the kindred stories and explanations and how sometimes strange and weird life can be. Yet how wonderful with the wife I have that takes time to always check on me. Look me over with those liquid khmer eyes that can look inside with bothersome accuracy.
I’ve learned all this and more. Now I check on this blogpost. It is done.