Two years ago today I woke up at an ungodly hour in an unfamiliar bed, butterflies in my stomach and my hair a medusa-style mess. I opened a letter from my best friend and lover and read it under the covers, using my phone as a torch. The words in that letter soothed my heart and reassured me more than anything else could that day. It told me that all the choices I’d made up to that point had been the right ones, and I didn’t feel nervous any more. I got up, had my breakfast, and changed my life forever.
Our relationship was difficult then. We didn’t talk to anyone about it because what right minded couple gets married when their relationship is on the rocks? We didn’t need the criticism. We’d just bought our first home, decorated and furnished it on a shoestring, while simultaneously planning a wedding that truthfully only Big T was keen on (I wanted to elope because agoraphobia + a room full of people = freak out). It was a stressful time, even objectively. But on top of that, we were both going through personal transformations away from one another. For my part, I’d just finished therapy and my outlook was new, and my feelings were fresh and raw. I felt anger that had previously been dormant – suddenly chair covers and centrepieces seemed utterly trivial. As for Big T, well, that’s his story and I can’t speak for him, but he was wrestling with his own issues. We weren’t part of each other’s problems, but we couldn’t help each other either because what we needed more than anything then was tonnes of chocolate and some serious self-care, which meant that just before we got married we seemed separate and far away, like we were circling the earth on different moons.
But I’m grateful for that – because it meant we married out of sheer love. Nothing at that point really aligned apart from how fiercely we loved one another. Through the personal battles, frustrated arguments, and tears at midnight in our freezing Hyundai in the supermarket car park, there was never a question of love. We looked at each other, open and vulnerable, metaphorically bedraggled, and said, “I want you more than ever.”
So two years ago we got dressed up, stood in front of our families and friends, and committed ourselves to the unknown. And what an unknown it turned out to be!
Just four months into our marriage we began trying to conceive. We unexpectedly succeeded first time, and so began the crazy, beautiful, sometimes tragic journey that has brought us to this place now, with the amazing little person we created. It feels as though we haven’t stopped since we said “I will.”
So what of our relationship now, amidst the chaos of real life, PND and our whirlwind baby?
It was rough for a while. But adversity has a clever way of bringing together or pulling apart, and in our case we’re lucky enough to be stronger than ever for everything that’s happened. I would never claim that Big T and I are the ‘perfect’ couple, but by my own grossly lopsided definition of perfection we’re pretty darn close. Perhaps we cuddle and kiss a little less now, and we never have the chance to curl up with popcorn and a dvd (that’s our ‘refuses to sleep alone’ baby for you), but we communicate well and often. We really talk, the kind of talking that film characters do from rooftops and laid out in wheat fields under the stars, except we do it in bed with cats on our bellies and our baby’s white noise track playing in the background. We are real with one another, down to our bare bones. We’re vulnerable, and we trust each other with our insecurities and fears. We always apologise. We are trying constantly to better ourselves, for each other, for our relationship and for our son.
I’m not trying to brag. Like I said, we’re not perfect. Big T is stubborn and reluctant to admit fault and I have a cruel tongue and a tendency to lash out with it when I’m upset. What I’m proud of is that we work hard every day to be the best we can be, and in the poopy, dribbly storm that is parenting we haven’t forgotten one another. More than that, we see each other more clearly and with more depth. I adore my husband not just for how he loves me, but for how he loves my child.
Becoming a parent has been the making of Big T in many ways and I’m so proud of him. He is never stronger than when he’s holding our son, never more gorgeous than when he’s elbows deep in a dirty nappy, never more talented than when he’s crooning yet another rendition of L-O-V-E over a tiny stirring face, and never sweeter than when he’s sleeping with one hand resting gently on our boy’s chest.
I’m so very, very lucky. ❤