There have been many times in life when I thought that there were experiences I would not have. Given my past or my emotional barriers or my beliefs, there was a list of things I was certain that others would never catch me saying. Let me tell you that at the top of the list was “My wedding day was one of the best days of my life”. I heard others say it, often in romanticized contexts and the cynic in me would scoff. After all I was the girl who had nightmares about white weddings and who felt that marriage was nothing more than entrapment.
So can you imagine my surprise the day a little thought sailing through my mind caught me completely off guard. I was watching your Father pottering around the house. He was cradling you in one arm and prepping your milk bottle.
I found myself pondering the scenario of getting married. It almost shocked me out of the chair! Were all the medications messing with my brain? Where on earth did that come from?
Yet there is was, as plain as the nose on my face, just quietly sitting in my head. I shooed it away and went about my business.
A few days later, it sailed through once again. Such a foreign concept to me in many ways. But there was something undeniable about it, some kind of raw truth that could not be ignored and certainly would not be dismissed.
I gave some thought to this idea and before long I was stepping back to past moments, when odd things had happened.
The first time I ever met your Father was in early 2008. I was visiting your Nanny, on holiday from Sydney. A man in the community was turning sixty and there was a birthday celebration for him in the local hall. Long trestle tables were covered in table clothes and smattered with freshly cut flowers in jam jars. I sat with my Mothers neighbour and we chatted about my worldly travels, in particular my time living in Scotland. Opposite me, a tall well-built man with a beard appeared at the table, holding two plates with food. He handed one to his girlfriend before fishing in his pocket for the cutlery. I noticed the way he doted on her and thought, wouldn’t that be nice. Back in Sydney I was doing some serious internet dating. Lots of dates, no real substance. In a big city it’s easy to have the plenty-of-fish-in-the-sea mentality.
I returned to Sydney to my whirl wind lifestyle and by October of that year I was diagnosed with breast cancer and my life changed forever.
Just over a year later I moved away from my city life and all my friends, to live with Nanny. Thinking my life was now over, I was resigned to living to the end of my days at home with my Mum and my cat. However, life had other plans.
I began to spend time with a man shortly after I arrived and we became companions. We enjoyed one another’s company and soon saw each other most days. One afternoon he invited me to visit with his friends. When we arrived I noticed the man with the beard sitting outside and smoking a cigarette. He and his girlfriend chatted with us. They had a new baby who was sleeping inside.
I recall standing there but being aware that I was somehow outside of myself. Then I heard the words “You are supposed to be here”. It was so strange and so left field I thought I was going bonkers. Here I was standing on this man’s front lawn with my companion and thinking that I was the one meant to be in a relationship with a virtual stranger! I spoke nothing of it to anyone, such was its peculiarity.
I occasionally saw him around town in his beaten up old Toyota Hilux. You could hear it coming well before you spotted it! Later that year his relationship ended and I was genuinely shocked. I felt a sadness for the breakdown of his family.
It was almost exactly a year later when serendipitous circumstances caused us to gravitate towards one another in an intimate way. Our brief summer romance was guaranteed longevity when I discovered I was pregnant and we have been together ever since.
I want to take this time now to redefine the term romantic with you. By popular definition and understanding, romance is characterised by idealistic behaviours in the other. Grand demonstrations of love and symbolic tokens and gestures that we have all agreed on, somewhere along the line.
So here are some examples of my experience of romance with your Father.
He washes my dirty clothes. He dresses my wounds after I have had surgery. When you are in a mood and “only Daddy will do”, he coaxes you to kiss and cuddle me so I don’t feel left out. He puts my mobile back together after I have thrown it against the wall in frustration. He flirtatiously touches me when he knows I am feeling unattractive. When we are out shopping and I get tired, he carries my handbag. On my birthday cake last week he wrote in icing four words that define me; MELANIE, WIFE, MOTHER, FRIEND. He hovers over the stove to make sure the vegetables don’t get too steamed, because he knows I like them crunchy. He says things minutes after I have thought them. Whenever he is about to tell me something I may not like, he always starts with “You know I love you…”
He is my dearest friend. He is the Father of my child. He has loved and accepted me in ways I never thought a man could. He helped me dissolve my fears.
Therefore it all became easy. Easy to love him. Easy to see my life unfolding with him. Easy to marry him.
So on our wedding day, we celebrated with the ease and intimacy that comes so naturally to our relationship. We did it our way. The ceremony was in a beautiful garden. I wore a burgundy dress. We only had immediate family. Our wedding day was one of the best days of my life, because there are so many best days of my life with your Father. It was a beautiful day of celebration but it didn’t feel much different from any other day either.
My darling boy, one day you will be grown and your heart will yearn for another. I know that I am providing an excellent example for you in our home, of what real love is. You watch us always and I see your face light up when we are tender with each other in your presence. Listen to the messages from your heart and don’t dismiss them, for I promise you that it will surprise you in ways you have never known.
“Intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life” – Paulo Cohelo