Saturday, 27 October 2012

Opposites attract

Opposites attract
27 October 2012

You know how you sometimes see couples and they’re just so perfectly matched – temperaments, tastes, and all things in between.  And other times you see couples that seem so ill-suited.  But despite apparent looks, they’ve got a magical combo.  Who know what makes a couple tick.  I’m suspecting it’s hard work, tolerance, understanding and love.

Grant and I are polar opposites.  His childhood was conventional.  Straight down the line and pretty conservative.  Whereas mine was rather bohemian by comparison.  His family is small and rather quiet, whereas mine can’t be accused of either those qualities.  My family is artistic and creative, and classically educated in contrast to his that is sporty, business minded and perhaps more practical.  His family is more nuclear and plays things close to their chests.  Mine is like a wide open book, everything open for everyone to see.  We don’t do secrets, resentments, mistrust.  And my Ouma Helene is fond of saying “we are not clandestine people”.  Things are discussed, mulled about and everyone has opinions.  We’re involved in each other’s lives and see each other often – rejoicing in closeness and an exceptional bond.

And when it comes to raising a family of your own, it is quite a challenge to find a happy medium between “my way” and “your way”.  The best one can hope for is a melding of sorts.  Perhaps the best of both bits can come to the fore.  Compromise is key.

Grant and I often laugh about how different we are.  At school he was the cool jock.  It was all athletics this and sporty that.  Victor Ludorums, regional and provincial colours, records, medals and certificates.  And lots and lots and lots of girls.  I think he was a bit of a player.  Now, as for me.  I was the nerd.  All Library prefect, choir, drama club, piano and the lot.  I even had the required spectacles to complete the dork look.  I was pathetic at sports and played in the 7th team for Netball.  This great achievement only because there wasn’t an 8th team.

His family is very religious and devout Christians.  In general, with the exception of a few, my family falls short of that mark.  I remember being in Grade 6 at Beaumont, in the Afrikaans class.  And succumbing to peer pressure, feeling the need to go to church.  The one every other Afrikaans kid went to – the Dutch Reformed Church just around the corner from our house.  I asked my folks if I could go and remember them saying “it’s not really our bag, but you’re welcome to go, we hope you enjoy it”.  I went on my own for quite a while, until the Sondagskool became to feel a bit too much like hard work.  It was all remembering verses and lots of homework too.  There were lots of rules and regulations, fire and brimstone too.  I had to dress up quite smart and didn’t have the right clothes.  I always felt a bit uncomfortable and out of place.  Like I was acting in a play, without the correct script.  And in the end I fell by the way side.

But enough of religion and back to opposites again we go.  I feel like for the most part we’ve adopted my way of doing things.  Perhaps this is a mother’s prerogative when it comes to her children, especially as mothers more often spend more time with their kids.  The way I’m accustomed to, and was raised in, is my frame of reference.  Grant takes a lot of guidance from me with regards to the children’s emotional needs.  Perhaps an area that is more my forte.  And though I’m quite strict, in a fun way, I suppose (if that’s possible), Grant is more of a disciplinarian.  I’m playful and a confidant and the one the kids come to to discuss stuff.  I’m very hands on and involved.  Yet, I know without a shadow of doubt that I can’t do it on my own.  I can’t be a single parent and would hate it.  Grant is my sounding board and we discuss everything.  Neither is autonomous – we reach joint decisions with regards to our kids.  With Grant away the last few days, I’ve had to be good cop and bad cop with the kids.  Not fun for me.  Or them, I suppose.

We’ve created some unique ways of our own – my Grantie and I.  Parenting skills we’ve picked up along the way, not copied from his family or mine.  But rather gained en route.  And I suspect we’ll continue adding to our repertoire as our kids get older and we are parents for longer.  We complement each other and form a winning team.  Cole always says “Daddy is rough” and “Mommy is smooth”.  Quite observant for a little boy.  I’m hoping that the joint outcome of team Grant-Helene is perfect, just for us and our kids.  And we’ll expel wonderful young children into the world.

Brace yourself big world.  We’ll unleash them to you soon…..


  1. I enjoyed this, thank you. You are so blessed to be a Lombard-Loubser offspring!

  2. I think you make a great team - your children are delightful.
    Very very proud of them, and both of you!

  3. Stunning Foef!! You are an amazing exceptional family. Your kids are incredibly lucky and are who they are thanks to the winning team! Hip hip..hooraaaaaaay!!
    Miss you guys like anything xxxxxxxx