For my beloved husband Ekarin and my daughter Wanarin
I got married when I was 29 and gave birth to my first child when I was 30. It was not a young age if you compare it to our parents’ time ; my mother had me when she was 25 and got married when she was 23. Yet it is still considered something really special in today’s society where women have obtained education and tend to stay single.
When I was working at UNDP, I remember that there was a lady who was single at the age of 58 and many female staff members in there , having worked there for 20 years or so, are still single. I was quite shocked to find out about this and always wonder if they have ever been in a relationship at all.There were also colleagues about my age, who were single, and who kept asking me how I knew if the guy they were dating was the one. At the age of 30 with a decent job, a wonderful husband and an adorable daughter, I was really a phenomenon there thanks to my perfect life.
My reply has always been the same I used to give to some junior colleagues at Canon Marketing ; that is ‘when the right one comes along, you will know’. It’s hard to explain but it’s something that needs to be felt by your heart. Sometimes, you just have to trust your feeling and trust that person too. It may sound risky but life without a risk is nothing and you may gain nothing too. Of course, I agree that staying single is far better than having a lousy husband or partner and a good husband is really hard to find in the society. Getting married to me is not about how long you must be dating before reaching that important decision. Some people (or some couples I know) have been going out for many years and finally broke up. Or worse, getting married and ended up getting a divorce (after having kids). I was dating my husband for a couple of months when we decided to make some savings for our wedding.
I have never regretted that decision and I have learned so much after the wedding and having the baby. The relationship really grows both of us up. Girls still keep asking me what is my type or ideal guy and I can never give an answer because I never had one. No, I never thought that he must be from a Chinese family, good looking, good with the children, good at cooking, etc. I could never expect that much from someone who is not my family and always believed that I could take care of myself.
I don’t fall for look really even though my husband is an incredibly good looking person. Please trust me. I am not exaggerating. I just notice that when we go out together, there are always always girls or even (gay) guys giving him that look. What I like so much about him is his kind heart, his sense of humour, his sense of responsibility. As far as I remember, he always takes good care of me in health and sickness. I really feel happy and be myself when I am with him. He always seeks to understand me though I am a quite difficult person. And he has a gift to be able to always make me smile and laugh naturally.
So my dear daughter and my friends, one important qualification that you should be looking from your boyfriend or husband-to-be should not be physical appearance alone. Try to think about what makes you really happy (when you are with that person) that could last even when you are old. I know that my husband has given up so much to make me happy and he seemed willing to do it just to see me smile. He always asks me first about what I want to do, what I want to eat and where I want to go without spoiling me, and not just when we were dating but even today that we have a daughter.
Through these years of relationship, I have learned that being together forever is not about having the same taste for everything, sharing similar education or family backgroud or never fight. It is about being willing to compromise, forgive and understanding. My husband and I are from a totally different family and education background. Sometimes, it seems we don’t even speak the same language. Our interests are pretty much different and we fight a lot. I guess it is the willingness to accept the other as he/she naturally is and respect that that keeps us together.
My husband loves to spend so much time watching TV or play computer games. He is interested in modern technology while I rarely watch TV, even for news report. I don’t know how to play computer games and I don’t care what advance technology can do as long as it cannot do translation jobs. I just think it is not so smart to sit in front of the television set or fighting like crazy over computerized game. But if he wants to do it, fine with me. I just grab a book or a notebook and start my own literature. I tried to tell him how I thought about those habits without trying to change him at all. Yet it seems he agreed that it was not such a smart thing to do.
Nobody is perfect and my husband and I both know that. We all have our bad habits which have been part of us for years through education and family. Being together is about bearing that in mind and try to encounter it to see how well you can handle that. If you can’t, then I think it’s gonna be an unhappy relationship and not worth forcing yourself into it. I respect his bad habits as long as he knows they are bad and I expect the same kind of respect for my self being. I know I am such a stubborn person, self-confident and never giving up. If he finds this too much for a woman, then he should not be with me. Up to know, luckily, he seems to handle me well and even makes fun of it in such way that I feel he respects me.
I remember a dialogue from the movie ‘Ocean Eleven’ between Julia Roberts and George Clooney and often quote it to my female friends. He asked if she is happy with her new love. She replied ‘He does not make me cry’ and he asked ‘Does he make you laugh?’. Or something like that. I think it is such a valid question. It also makes me realize that a good relationship does not necessarily have to be without tears. The couple can fight and can cry but no crying does not mean happy relationship. Laughter or sense of humor is more important and very healthy to the relationship. I realized that a good sense of humor really helps a lot since I had a daughter.
Raising the baby during the first months can be a quite painful task to every parent. My husband and I totally agree. We stay together in a small condo downtown and have to take of the baby on our own every night. As tired and as exhausted as we can be, he always always got up immediately upon the baby’s cry and talked or sang her to sleep without getting upset. In fact, he always tells jokes or puns which of course the baby did not understand, but I did and I laughed at that hour of the night. We also had our ‘secret codes’ for the baby operation i.e. he is the first pilot and I am the co-pilot. The baby is the plane that we had to land smoothly and peacefully. We had a great time ‘accomplishing the mission’ or ‘failing the mission’ and ended up laughing. At times, when the baby was not well and threw up in the middle of the night, he never lost the humor. The baby often threw up on him because he was the one who held her in his arms most of the time. And we refer to the situation as ‘she loves daddy again’. Without a good sense of humor, I think the task could have been really tense and pressuring.
It is hard to guess whether the man you are dating will be a good father of your baby or not. Some guys may just want to get married and produce babies without knowing a damn thing about what pregnancy could involve or how tough raising a baby can be. Especially in Thai society where men are largely regarded as head of the family, leaving all domestic tasks to the wife. I think I am just lucky that I am married to a guy who is good with children and is happy to be involved in every single step of becoming parents. So, I encourage you to look for sensitive, caring and understanding guy who love to be with children.
From the first day I got out of the hospital from my C-section, he has been playing a major role in taking care of the baby, in a way that I should be ashamed. He make my daugther’s first bottled formula milk, washed the bottles, changed the diapers, gave her a bath, sang her to sleep, washed the cloth diapers, etc. when I was not fully recovered from the wound. He has been so calm and so caring while I did not know much about the baby. All I felt like at that time was crying. I guess it was part of the post-delivery depression or something. I felt tired, lonely and I was so lucky that he was always around.
Today, my daughter is 2 years and 2 months old. She is very very close to her daddy because he always plays with her. He is never tired of holding her in his arms and always has some funny games for her. They are always having a great time together.
So my dear Wanarin, before entering in a relationship with a guy, I want you to know that your father and I will be forever concerned. Remember that your daddy loves you so much and has been taking such great care of you as if you were a princess. Never ever allow anyone to hurt you. Love yourself as your father and I love you. I hope that guy treats you nicely and be as good as your daddy, otherwise, ask him to leave you alone.