It always amazes people when I tell them that Gaz and I have only been together for a few years. Four years and seven months to be exact. And it amazes people even more that in that time we have managed to fit in a wedding and three children. When we look back at the last few years, it amazes US!!
Gaz and I grew up in the same village and went to the same high school, although two school years apart, a fact that he likes to remind me of whenever possible. In our late teens and throughout my first marriage we socialized in the same circles and following my divorce we found ourselves back on the “singles circuit” where we would bump into each other, usually absolutely hammered, on a Saturday night in Wetherspoons.
After weeks of flirtation, using all of his best chat up lines and relentlessly pursuing me, and that’s the story that I’m sticking to, I finally gave in and agreed to go on a date with him. It sounds crazy but I knew even then that it would be my last ever first date and for that reason I was nervous as hell!!
We met at the train station one Saturday afternoon in the October, me more than a little bit tipsy from the two glasses of wine I had downed for dutch courage, and got on the train to Manchester. And where as most men would usually take that opportunity to tell their date how beautiful they look, compliment them on their dress or their hair, Gaz decided that now was the time to tell me that I have “the arm span of a condor”.
And we laughed from start to finish. We had a beautiful meal, drank far more than we should have and we talked about every subject imaginable until our jaws ached and our sides hurt from laughing. Gaz escorted me home like the perfect gentleman where he stayed until the early hours playing Mario Kart on the Wii, me wearing my pink, fleece, Primark onesie, and I knew then that he was a keeper.
Within two weeks of our first date I went away to Spain on holiday with Lewis and it was during that time that I realised just how much I had fallen for him. It was strange to suddenly feel this way about someone I had known for almost half my life and yet as lovely as the holiday was, I couldn’t wait to get back home to him. Within hours of landing he was there on my doorstep and that night, just two weeks after our first date, we said I love you for the very first time.
By the December Gaz had become a permanent fixture at our house, staying over most nights, playing Lewis on the Wii or discussing WWE wrestling figures with him. The way that Lewis accepted him, and watching the two of them together, just sealed the deal for me. Finding someone who loved me was one thing, but finding someone who loved my son was another.
In January Gaz moved in. By the May he had proposed and we were expecting Eva by the end of the Summer. If anyone thought that we were moving too fast they didn’t say, but for us it just felt right and as the saying goes, when you know, you just know.
People often ask how did Lewis cope with the whirlwind of events and I can honestly say, hand on heart, that he welcomed every step of it. When he found out that Gaz had an X-box he was practically begging him to move in (“You will be bringing your X-box though, right?”), when we got engaged and Gaz asked him to be his best man, Lewis could not have been prouder. And when we told him that he would be having a baby sister, after his initial disappointment, (“A girl?? Can we not just find someone who is having a boy and ask them to swap?”), he was absolutely over the moon and any worries that I’d had were completely forgotten. We were a family and as much as Gaz and I had fallen in love, Gaz had equally fallen in love with Lewis too.
For the first time in my life I felt truly happy. I felt protected and cared for and after years of feeling that I wasn’t good enough, I felt like the most important woman in the world to this man. It wasn’t all perfect by any means, there were times like any normal couple when we would argue and bicker and yet the difference was that we would always talk things through and nine times out of ten we would end up laughing so much that we couldn’t even remember what we were arguing about in the first place.
It was easy. And that was the best part. I didn’t have to try to be someone I wasn’t or act a certain way when I wasn’t feeling up to it. Gaz accepted me for all of my ups and downs, all of my baggage and insecurities and he did everything in his power to make me happy, gain my trust and make me smile. And he did.
The following May, when the sun was cracking the flags and there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky, with Lewis at my side and Eva in my arms, I stood beside the man of my dreams and said, “I do”. And as we walked back down the aisle as husband and wife, with our two beautiful children, I wanted to freeze that moment forever. I had never felt happier, prouder or more complete and I could not imagine a time when life would be any better than it was right there and then.
And so by the time our first wedding anniversary came around and we were in hospital with a two day old Megan, we couldn’t believe our luck.
And by the time our second anniversary came around and we were back in that same hospital, being induced with Harry, we were both ecstatic and hysterical.
So it feels somewhat strange today to be celebrating our third wedding anniversary without a newborn baby or the imminent arrival of another. Instead we are sat here, still in our pyjamas, watching the children play and discussing what we need on the shopping list from Tesco later. The house is a mess, there’s still a second birthday to clean up from and a first birthday to plan for. We have no grand plans for a weekend away, even a meal out, and infact we will probably mark our anniversary with a chippy tea and watching Big Brother. And yet everything is exactly as it should be. This, right here and now, is everything that I have ever wanted.
And its funny because they say you can spend your whole life looking for the man of your dreams and it turns out that actually, he was right there infront of you the whole time.
And so he was.