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Getting the hang of married life

A recent would-be visit from one parent highlights how well married life is actually going.

My father was supposed to visit Mr T and me last week. He had a conference to attend in Abu Dhabi, and all three of us were looking forward to spending a few days together. Mr T and I were especially excited to have him stay at our new apartment; we take a perverse joy in showing off our various accommodations to our family members every time we find ourselves in a new abode.

I considered my father's arrival as our deadline to get our apartment in order. Every picture frame discarded in the corner of the spare room found a home on our pristine white walls. Every cupboard was finally organised, and room was made for my father to unpack his suitcase comfortably.

The guest bathroom was stocked with toiletries and fresh towels. The fridge was ready with a variety of groceries; I even spent an afternoon on meal preparation for the week. We tracked down that elusive rug for our entryway, we made sure all the lamps had working light bulbs and we took the time to select material and find someone to come install curtains for us - a very grown-up step for our young marriage. We were on a roll.

Then the news came that my father would not be coming after all; his visa to the UAE was not issued in time for him to attend his conference. Raging and ranting aside, I felt a deep and unexpected sadness.

Although I have become accustomed to living my married life in a country far from my parents, I still sulk sometimes over the fact that they are not close enough to come by for a cup of coffee when I've baked an especially moist cake, or near enough to invite over for dinner when I've managed to pull off an edible meal. When I reach milestones as a homemaker - it's always a big step for me when my white laundry stays white - it is my mother I automatically want to boast to. When I come across a particularly beautiful and affordable piece of furniture, it is my father I want to show it off to (he's the furniture fanatic in the family).

So their visits, although rare and far between, are an opportunity for me to show them how happy I am in my marriage, how well I have become acclimatised to this married-life thing, how good I am at creating a cosy home out of a mere house.

Finding out last minute that my father will not be stopping by any time soon was a bit of a downer, to say the least.

Still, the upside is that Mr T and I managed to attend to the last remaining details of settling into our new apartment, which really doesn't feel as new anymore. It is cosy and homey and full of love and warm colours, framed by the most professional-looking and efficient curtains, if I do say so myself. They are the first curtains of our marriage - albeit having taken two years to hang - and I can't wait to show them off to my parents the next time they manage to stop by.

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