To me the word ring has multiple connotations, the most immediate association would be engagement and/ or wedding ring followed by, in my own mind: boxing or fighting ring, bull ring, circus ring and the song Ring of Fire. The order or way in which I mention these have been influenced by the teaching style I’ve recently adopted wherein vocabulary is derived from an umbrella term with the aim of provoking class room discussion.
So here goes – I’ve been inspired – my own personal train of thought on RING
Turning back the time to a few weeks prior to our wedding day, I’d lost my engagement ring while working in a children’s clothes store in Bath, and consequently married without it only to have it replaced by another less sophisticated ring than the former: the wedding band.
No sooner than we arrived in the Maldives for our honeymoon however we received an email from my boss to say that a customer had found my engagement ring beneath the shop counter.
In as much as the news came as a surprise for both of us I’d already become less dependent on the idea of ever finding the ring again and that it would make little difference to our married life if any at all. The engagement ring was only a superficial symbol of our affection, yet remembering it as an experience has allowed me to understand the true meaning of love and happiness is perhaps linked to our fate.
Fast forward to the present day and our household has become an obstacle course with the kids passing through various stages such as fussy eating, fussy brushing of the teeth and hair, fussy going to the toilet and the not wanting to sleep alone in bed.
Before heading off to work our family is caught in a turbulent, domestic spiral: making, eating and spilling breakfast while frequently tripping over toys with wheels and other clutter to get from one side of the room to another.
When the time comes to walk out the door my husband and I already feel mildly destroyed by the pressure of getting both kids ready for school and struggling to keep the house in a semi decent state. At times scratches and bruises appear on both of us perhaps from opening the cupboard doors too fast, accidentally banging our legs to the side of the bed while rushing around from one room to another and often being hit by flying objects from across the room as the children play fight.
The storm seems to settle when we go our separate ways: husband and myself to work, kids to nursery school. I hear my fellow colleagues wishing they hadn’t come to work yet for me working is almost like therapy. Just the other week I entered the classroom, unzipped my jacket and a baby’s woolly hat came flying out thus beginning the lesson with a brief moment of unrehearsed comedy.
When my husband and I meet again its usually in our kitchen at around 6pm where the kids are jumping up and down off their chairs while playing with the food in front of them. The hot steam from boiling pots and pans rises creating a stuffy, misty atmosphere and from either corner of the room we emerge, facing one another, both of us tired from a long day yet forced into another performance of courage and bravery, as well as a battle of wills.
From here on the game begins again, when we must gather every little ounce of energy and chase after our little monkeys to prepare them for bedtime. Our three year old runs from one end of the apartment to the other while Mummy and Daddy try to catch him from opposite sides. This usually takes a few minutes and then we are on to the challenge of persuading him to part with his beloved Thomas trains collection.
A good half hour later and the children are on their way to dreamland, it is as if time stands still for a few moments before we recognise who and where we are, what time it is and what day.
There is an awkward sensation when the silence finally comes, the freedom to talk without being interrupted and to enjoy one another’s company. Instead of the latter however we are overcome by a need for independent meditation, to seek relaxation in the most simple of ways such as cleaning the kitchen or watching the news. At this point my husband is usually incapable of talking and I retreat to our bed where I position myself over an electric blanket and browse the net for some sort of sensationalist story depending on my mood.
Saturday evening when we aren’t too tired, we watch a film together after the children have gone to bed. This simple dressing of our relationship wound that we endure all throughout the working week provides some sort of comfort to two lost souls living for our children and sometimes ourselves but very rarely for each other.
Is there a secret to maintaining a healthy, stable relationship in parenthood? Do you sometimes feel like your marriage is on the line and if so, how do we relight the flames that had at one time caught fire with so much passion?