One bleak day in the year 2000, at the ripe old age of twenty six or thereabouts, I was single again after a spectacularly bad ending to what had been, on the whole, an utterly miserable relationship. I sat in my mum’s kitchen with a cup of tea and predicted my fate.
“I don’t think I’m ever going to get married, or have a family,” I said “I think that’s it. I’m done.”
My mum sighed and took a sip of her coffee.
“I don’t think you are either,” she said.
She wasn’t being mean. I think we both genuinely believed I wasn’t cut out for that life, whatever ‘that life’ meant to me at the time.
It wasn’t too long after that I met the man who changed all that – and now, a significant number of years later, I can honestly say how grateful I am to him that he was in the right place at the right time. Without him I would not be the person I am now, I would not have experienced the things I have, nor live the life I do. I think there’s only a few people in your life you can honestly say change it completely for the better, and for me he is that person. He puts up with me, encourages me, supports me and loves me through all the good bits and the bad, and you can’t ask for much more than that, can you?
We celebrated seven years of marriage last week, and apart from a lovely dinner which both of us only have vague recollections of due to excessive alcohol consumption, we haven’t had an awful lot of time together to spend reminiscing. In fact, between his work, my work, visitors, and life generally getting in the way, we’ve barely had time to exchange a conversation. We elected not to do gifts this year, to save the pennies until we had the time or inclination to get something really worthwhile. So this morning, as we strolled towards the athletics stadium to watch our little man in his first sports day, I found myself musing over what we might treat ourselves to should we ever get time to go to a mall together…new saucepans, a new lamp for the living room, some new bedlinen….but as we moved around the field from race to race something else occurred to me. As I sat and snapped a hundred photos and cheered on my boy while he ran and jumped and threw for his team, I felt the pure unadulterated joy and love that comes from being a mum flow through me.
And it may sound a bit sloppy, and it may be well past our day of celebration, but that, I realised, was the best gift I could ever have been given.