The man who would be my husband

I met the man who would become my husband when I was in my very early 20s. I was working as an office Temp and he was in the same office.

I first saw his name on a work email. I read the surname several times. I thought it was the most beautiful surname I had ever seen. I practiced my name with it and thought that the two together were sublime; a proper author name (I was always looking for a good author name for when I eventually inevitably became a famous author of course). Unfortunately I couldn’t stand the bloke. I mean I could not stand him! So you could say I fell in love with his name – not him.

I thought he was arrogant and bloody annoying. All he did all day was royally take the piss out of me. One day we were on a work do in the local pub and we were arguing as usual and my best friend exclaimed “Oh for goodness sake! Why don’t you two just get a room!” I will never, ever, ever forget it.

Ten years later after a million mistakes and other relationships we finally fell into each other with the force of a sonic boom. I knew he was it.

The next five years would be a fast and furious flurry of two children and a wedding day.

Something he doesn’t get credit for is how he handles – on a daily basis – my mental health problems. He is, in fact, the only man who has been able to cope with me! When I am depressed he will sit next to me, hold my hand and listen. He understands – even though he has never been in that position. He lists what I have to be thankful for and always tells me I will be ok. He is a calming anchor to my manic highs and lows. He is amazing.

I am so glad I took that temp job all those years ago. I am so thankful that I finally got my perfect surname (even though no one in Yorkshire can pronounce it correctly).

He has truly given me the world:

 

The perils of ‘Happy’ Occasions

January brings with it hundreds if not thousands of folk exclaiming “Happy New Year” like it’s a command; like it’s a militant instruction. “It’s a new year – Be happy or else!” And they sure look happy don’t they? All the well dressed, well drunk, groups of comrades linking arms, counting down the clock and screeching “Happy New Year!” whilst I’m staring at my M&S meal deal in my dressing gown wondering what exactly I’m doing wrong to not feel happiness at this landmark at all.

These, of course are the perils of so called “Happy” occasions.

Weddings – I’ve had a couple. We hire a photographer to capture this happiest day of our lives – so you better sure as Hell smile till you can’t feel your face anymore. Everyone – and I mean everyone is watching. This is literally the end of every single Jane Austen novel. You’ve reached peak happiness. Then why do I feel so utterly anxious, paranoid and on edge? Why do I imagine everyone whispering “I give this one a year” under their breath. Why have I never been so aware of my weight? What if he is late? What if everyone is late? And worse still – what if I don’t feel the euphoria I am supposed to? I am happy to be married but as for my wedding day – I felt more happiness at a Carvery.

The birth of a baby. Well – not just any baby: your baby! Sure there can’t be any happier moment could there? After the birth of my first born I distinctly remember putting a status on Facebook “I have literally never been this happy in my entire life!” Wrong – what I was, was higher than I had ever been in my entire life on diamorphine, two epidurals and four days of starvation. The come down was brutal. I have never been so terrified in my life. I was convinced if I took my eyes off my baby for one second he would stop breathing. I pissed in a vase in the bedroom because I didn’t want to walk across the hall to the actual toilet. I was convinced the Health Visitor was going to take him away because I couldn’t get him to latch. And don’t get me started on pregnancy.

Christmas day. There was a moment on Christmas morning when my son was ripping through his gifts and I felt nowt. I shook myself – why don’t you feel happy? This is what Christmas is all about – and this is what you’ve been waiting for for months. So I got a black bin bag for the wrapping paper because that’s what mums do. I felt real joy on Christmas eve – don’t get me wrong – I’m not Scrooge. Maybe the build up is better than the main event.

Birthdays – never quite as happy as they should be. What’s happy about being Thirty Five on a specific date – you’re half way to seventy! Smile!

So we don’t feel happy, even though society tells us we have to be. So we feel like we’re in the wrong or not normal. And of course we feel like we’ve failed.

Don’t worry if you don’t feel happy on the occasions you’re supposed to. Maybe you’re just not like everyone else; and maybe that’s just fine.

I don’t want you to leave me thinking I’m downright miserable so I shall leave you with three moments of pure happiness* and wish you a so-so New Year. Be averagely satisfied one and all.

*  my youngest son dipping his feet in the sea in Scarborough and squealing with delight and happiness. I wept happy tears.

*  Sitting alone in a restaurant in Rome eating Gnocchi with a carafe of wine.

* Walking around Whitby with my first born in a sling getting coos from elderly ladies and feeling utter pride.

 

 

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