Two years ago today it was ridiculously sweltering hot – a forecast top of 39 degrees celcius (thank goodness it only reached 38.9). It was the hottest day in December that year. My house was jam packed with family from afar, joking and teasing one another and doing whatever they could to be useful. (My brother proudly told me last month that he hasn’t ironed a shirt since my wedding.)
My three beautiful bridesmaids and I were primping and preening, aided by a lovely make up artist and hairdresser, and taking it in turns to stand in front of the fan and air conditioner. One of them, one of my closest friends, had brought over a posh bottle of champagne to share (and take the edge off any nerves). We snacked on cheese, pastries and fruit. I squeezed in a quick meditation while everyone seemed to be otherwise distracted. The photographers did their thing. The cats hid downstairs under the beds.
I sent my family ahead early to make sure the flowers and decorations were set up properly. I got dressed, made dad put on one of my boy’s nice ties (just for the ceremony and photos), and hopped into the car (sans air conditioning – whose idea was that?).
We were late (I’m always late). And later still, as the girls and I dried off in the toilets before hitting the aisle (there's nothing worse than a bride or bridesmaid dripping in sweat). Thankfully my boy was there, still waiting for me at the end of the path, under the arch in the peaceful cottage garden, smiling broadly (in relief that he could soon take off his coat and vest, and get out of the sun, I imagine).
He said I do. I said I do. We signed some papers, as you do. Our sisters read some poems. The bees swarmed around the flowers in my bouquet (I’m told this is good luck). Our friends sang a couple of our favourite songs. Then we walked back up the aisle together, holding hands as we stepped over the broomstick, and headed straight for the Pimms and lemonade. There were speeches and cocktail drinks and food. There were some gallant attempts at dancing, but it was really too hot, so most people chatted in the garden.
There were also a myriad imperfections: a waiter lost his tray of drinks rather spectacularly (poor guy); the venue ran out of toilet paper(!); the DJ refused to play some of the songs we specifically requested when we hired him; the taxis took hours to show; specially ordered meals weren't prepared, and more. But despite this, people seemed to have a good time. As we left, our friends and family stood together to form a long arch, cheering us as we ran under their arms and out the door.
My favourite part of the day? The last song. Just before we went back to the hotel in our old neighbourhood, the DJ played our informal farewell song. My boy and I let loose, dancing to Belinda Carlisle’s Leave a light on – a joke song for us. During the four or so minutes this song played, I was the most relaxed I’d felt all day and night, singing off key (well, I never sing in key) as we swung each other around.
We are lucky that the first two years have been quite easy on us. They have flown by with renovations, holidays, study, work, a pregnancy and a baby. I don’t think that marriage has changed our relationship, although I secretly quite like saying ‘my husband’ now when I talk to strangers. It rolls off my tongue much more easily than I thought it would. And I think it’s a nice salute to the man who loved me enough to ask me to spend the rest of our lives together, despite knowing I wasn’t that into the whole commitment thing.
I’m lucky that I’ve found someone who accepts and loves me for me. Someone who compliments me often, even when I’ve had three hours sleep, am wearing my daggiest, food-stained clothes and no makeup, haven’t brushed my hair, and am cranky, feeling unfit and in tears.
I love that my boy cares so deeply and feels so responsible for his family, friends and pets, and complete strangers. Even though his protectiveness drives me crazy sometimes (and will be sure to do the same to Little Red when she’s older).
I especially love how much he adores Little Red. That for the first two weeks after Little Red was born and he was home, he changed almost all of her nappies, no matter what time of the day or night it was. When he’s home, he still changes her, and baths her, dresses her, feeds her, plays, dances and sings with her, and takes her to visit his parents so I can have some me time.
I love his gentleness. That he catches spiders and insects (and lizards that the cats bring in) and releases them safely outside instead of reaching for the Mortein. (Even if he does squeal like a girl when I sneak up behind him and poke him when he’s catching spiders.) When we go walking, he picks snails up off the path and moves them to the grass, so they don’t get stepped on. He finds the owners of stray dogs. He buys food to feed stray cats when we’re on holiday.
I love how thoughtful he is. That I can mention a book or CD or movie in passing, and he’ll get it for me as a birthday, Christmas or ‘just because’ present.
I love how unconditionally supportive he is. That although he doesn’t believe in most of the ‘hippy’ medicine I study and use, or many of my alternative ideas, he still brings me cups of tea and treats late in the night and early in the morning when I’ve got assignments due, and encourages me to follow my passions. (I’m yet to convert him to green smoothies though.)
I love his kindness. That when I’ve had a bad day and run out of my high-maintenance chocolate, he’s come home from his own bad day at work bearing three different blocks of my chocolate. All for me. And he doesn’t even complain that much when I’ve eaten his chocolate when I’ve been desperate. Around 99% of the time, he’s the first to apologise after we argue. Even on the very, very rare occasion when I’ve been at fault.
I love how considerate he is. That he puts the toilet seat down. I can probably count the number of times he hasn’t on one hand. And while I agree it’s no big deal if he doesn’t, I think it’s lovely that he does. At night, he’ll go outside to water the garden for me, so I don’t get eaten by mosquitos. When we’re out and I think he’s perving on girls in skimpy clothes, he tells me that he’s actually questioning how sensible their outfits are in the winter weather and wondering if they are too cold. (Or so he says…)
I love his respect. He knows who I am and doesn't try to change me (although I sometimes think he would like me to be just a little more wifey, motherly and settled). He knows I need my freedom and independence, like being able to travel at will, have alone time, and keep my name even though we're married. He doesn't even seem to mind all that much when he's called Mr Pobjoy at hotels I've booked for our holidays.
Here’s to at least another two years, my boy. I hope I can at least equal, if not exceed, the love that you show and give me every day.