This was first published in May this year.
It’s my wedding anniversary tomorrow. Twenty one years since the day poor Tim was so nervous, he’d had a large glass of Brandy, had to have his Uncle Colin fasten his tie and had forgotten his name and address by the time he met me in the Registry office at noon. Last year we mistakingly thought it was our silver wedding anniversary and had a weekend away to celebrate.
I was eighteen when I met Tim, we both have different recollections of how and when. I remember his friend bringing him to a Eurovision party I was hosting, he remembers me flitting around a local night club well before that being annoying, but we’ve agreed to differ. We both do agree that a few months later, having set my sights on him and knowing he was an electrician, I asked him to mend my hairdryer. Two days later he turned up to mend the it (he never got around to it, something I was going to have to get used to) and the rest as they say is history.
I was nineteen and he was twenty one. I wasn’t looking for Mr right and I can’t imagine he was looking for Mrs right either. It just kind of happened. I going through a pretty rough chapter of my life, having lost my mum two years earlier and I had an awful lot on my plate trying to juggle a grown up job, an errant dad and a wayward younger brother. Poor Tim must have wondered what he’d stumbled into, when he introduced me to his mum and dad he warned them I wasn’t like any other girl he’d ever brought home. I’m still not sure what he meant!
Two years later we bought our first house. It was a tiny cottage and it was beautiful. Tim didn’t dare tell his parents until just before we signed the final papers! His dad’s reaction was ‘Well you could have done better and I don’t mean the house!’ (honestly that’s nothing to what he thinks of Meghan Markle). I suppose you could say he didn’t agree with us ‘living in sin’ or that he particularly liked me all that much. We were dead poor, but that house was gorgeous and we were so happy there. His dad still wasn’t keen, and I had yet to learn to bite my tongue and ignore him, but that would come in time.
Next I wanted a baby, but Tim said we had to get married first. Well with me being a feminist vegetarian member of Greenpeace you can understand that I wasn’t too overly impressed with that idea. We carried on with the ‘I want a baby, we need to get married, I’m never getting married’ conversation for a about seven years until one day it went ‘I want a baby, we need to get married, alright then when?’ And again, being a feminist -vegetarian-member of Greenpeace, I certainly didn’t want to get engaged (this is the bit where my future self would tell my past self to stop being so bloody stupid and get a ring, cos you sure as hell won’t get one later) so we set a date for the following May, because it would be sunny (and we had a share option due to mature) it was seven months away, and that’s when, with the worst possible timing in the world, I found out I was Pregnant.
Well let’s say it was a lovely surprise once we’d got over the shock. If you’ve read my previous blogs you’ll know it didn’t end well and we lost our first baby just before Christmas. The wedding went ahead as planned, all be it with me in a normal wedding dress and not in a bell tent to cover my eight month pregnant stomach. We were married in the local registry office with a reception for forty in our back garden. Unbeknown to us I was infact already pregnant again, and I suffered with terrible morning sickness all throughout our honeymoon in Rome and Florence. I lost that baby too, and then another one later on that same year.
Eventually, against the odds, our lovely Lily was born and we had to move house because we couldn’t fit the pram and high chair in the house at the same time. After we moved into our current house, we then lost three more babies before Iris was born three years later. A good few years after that we became a family of five when we began to foster (see previous blog ‘We are a fostering family’)
So we’ve now been together for twenty eight years, and have been through some incredibly tough times but lots more fun times and are are still plodding on. Here are my reflections on our happy marriage.
1. We were so young when we met we did our growing up together, we had no check list of what we were looking for in a husband or wife but have somehow grown around each other and are two halves of the same person.
2. We respect each other.
3. He is the best dad any child could ever wish to have.
4. We both have the same values, ideals and as I’ve eventually persuaded Tim the same politics too.
5. We are both family focused and that’s a good job as our hands are well and truly full with the girls, and will be for the foreseeable future.
6. We know each other inside out.
7. We don’t lie to each other, (although I’m very good at manipulating the truth).
8. We’ve been poor, and we’ve been better off. I’ve always had a shopping habit but we live within our means and only spend what we can afford. Tim has no idea what he earns or what things cost, but what he knows can’t harm him and it’s in his best interest for the house to look pretty and for me to be well turned out.
9. Tim is a grumpy sod and I’m an over anxious control freak, we both know and accept this.
10. We argue. I’ve always been one to get things off my chest and speak the truth. Tim prefers to bury his head and carry on like every thing is ok, but usually arguing wins through.
11. I once threw a cucumber at Tim’s head (his football skills came in handy as he did a super fake dive) and he once threw a hairbrush at me.
12. Tim is super laid back, to the point of inertia. I’ve had to learn that somethings will just never get done. I’ve also learnt that to get things done we need a slow build up of gently nagging flowed by a full blown paddy.
13. Once when I’d been admitted to hospital Tim dashed home to get some essentials for me. I’ve almost forgiven him for coming back with a hairbrush in one pocket and a pair of knickers in the other.
14. We would both argue that we’re the better driver and I still maintain that knocking the wing mirror of his brand new car or getting another one stuck in a gate do not count as a crash, unlike the time he reversed into a member of our anti-natal classes car or drove into that woman in Batley when I was showing him a picture in a magazine.
15. I’ve never felt more proud of Tim as I did when he carried my Grandads coffin down the aisle at his funeral or when he recently stood and read a poem at his mum’s.
16. The way to my man’s heart is definitely through his stomach, unless it’s mackerel carbonara.
17. Tim prides himself on bringing me breakfast in bed most Sundays, but to get the said breakfast in bed it requires at least an hour of me huffing and prodding him.
18. Tim is still trying to learn that when I’m upset, cross or anxious I don’t need an answer I just need an ‘awwwwww’ and a hug.
19. Having (literally) dealt with the fall out my uterus caused twenty years ago he’s once again at the mercy of it as it drags me kicking, screaming, sweating and crying through the menopause.
20. I will never have matching crockery or a full set of glasses as Tim breaks at least one item each week.
21. Tim likes sport, Tim needs to watch all the sport, especially football. That’s ok as if he takes the little one to watch the football that’s a free Saturday for me, and I’ll always nod off before match of the day starts.
22. No matter how annoying Tim’s family are we both know that no family can be stranger than mine.
23. We have blue jobs and pink jobs. Blue jobs are the jobs I don’t want to do.
24. When we lost our babies I was so sad and upset for such a long long time and Tim just wanted to make me happy. He still does.
25. I say the wrong things at the wrong time and have a temper like a ferocious dragon. Tim has had to pick up the pieces on many an occasion and has got me out of more than his fair share of sticky situations.
26. Tim was once nearly beaten up in a pub one New Year’s Eve when I pulled the tail off a man’s lion costume and handed it to him to hold.
27. My anxiety has lead to some quiet bleak episodes but somehow he always understood and supported me. When I’m in a full blown anxiety driven panic he’s the one who knows how to calm me down.
28. When I was pregnant Tim used to go and buy me McDonald’s milkshakes at two in the morning. Likewise I once had to park my car in a very dubious area and go and find him in a grotty take away whilst wearing my pyjamas at a similar hour.
29. He will never accept that I’m poorly, and when I broke my leg he made me walk over a pebbled beach towards the car before he took me to the hospital. A few years later, when I broke my arm, he sat me in the bath and went to buy a Christmas tree before he’d take me there.
30. When he had appendicitis and been ill all weekend I did just drop him off at the hospital doors on the Monday morning.
31. We are on cats number six and seven and once had a goldfish called Simon.
32. Tim doesn’t like drawing attention to himself in public, whereas that’s what I spend the entirety of my life doing.
33. I’ve lost my wedding ring twice. Once it turned up in a bag of spinach in the bin, the other time it turned up six weeks after I’d lost it on Valentine’s Day, in a puddle, in a car park!
34. Tim hates his elbow or Adam’s apple being touched and I can’t bare him touching my feet or little fingers.
35. He must be crazy and Sagittarius cos I’m a Leo and I’m hilarious (little nod to the Housemartins there)
36. We love each other unconditionally.
Here’s to the next twenty one years 😘