Lately I’ve found myself talking about relationships a lot. And it’s not because Papa Bear and I have hit a personal milestone. It’s more to do with the fact that being a family of bears takes its toll on even the most stable of relationships. It’s hard. We know that. We’re up against quite a lot when kids come along. Intimacy, conversation, time for each other stalls. And Hollywood doesn’t help. The Hollywood Ideal lures us into a false sense of security, almost as though it’s not necessary to work on our relationships daily. But we do, oh we really, really do.
I sound incredibly pretentious and righteous with the title of this post. But the fact of the matter is, myself and Papa Bear are together 17 years last week. We must be doing something right. I was a teeny, tiny 17 years old when I met him, meaning I now literally know him half my life. I’ve thought of this day quite a lot over the last almost two decades. Knowing, and loving him (get a room!) for half of my life feels like such a huge achievement. He has been by my side for so long and I can’t imagine life without him. We were young when we met, young when we married and we’re still young. And we’re still together. Against the odds. Because everyone figured there would be odds. That we were too young. That we wouldn’t last. Well, we did. And we are. And I put it down to three things.
I’ve come to the conclusion that parents shouldn’t date – or maybe it’s just me and B. We’re pretty disastrous when it comes to finding ourselves with a few child free hours but last Friday night pips the lot of them. Date Night? More like waste night as our car pulled back up to the house at 10:50pm and we swore next time would be better.
Myself and B have been told on a few separate occasions on Twitter that we are #RelationshipGoals which is a pretty damn nice thing to see and hear. Basically, some people out there seem to see us as having a relationship that others should aspire too. I guess we come across quite well on Twitter but more often than not, one or both of us will respond to the tweet by bringing that kudos down a peg or two. We effectively deliberately knock oursleves off that pedestal. We tend to try to reiterate the point that we’re human and have our ups and downs like anybody else. And while this is true, it sort of got me thinking about our relationship and you know what I thought? Well, damn, yes, we are #RelationshipGoals but for one reason and one reason only…
Today is our 11th Wedding Anniversary. This day eleven years ago, I married my best friend and the only man I have ever been in love with. I know for a fact, that I will always love him more than I love our children. Some may find this remark scathing, unloving and possibly cruel to say. But think about it – can you honestly say that you love your children the same or more than your partner? I’ve always known that my love for B is stronger, closer and more powerful than my love as a mother to our children. And I’m not ashamed or shy to admit it.
Today marks a very unusual day for our family. A bitter sweet day at the end of an era. Today, is my last working day and technically the start of my year long maternity leave. The start of my year as a Stay-At-Home-Mum. As well as being the beginning of a journey I’m looking forward to and equally terrified of, it’s the end of a time in our lives that admittedly seemed never ending. Three years ago, plus one month, I went back to work after a very, very short maternity leave. I took the standard six months which in reality meant A was a tiny five months old when I wandered back into my office in April 2014. That beautiful, small baby was handed over every day B and I went to work to an incredible woman, B’s Aunty P.
B, you know me better than anyone but did you know…
Valentines has come and gone this year and once again there are no flowers in a vase or cards on our mantel. We avoided the wall of hearts and red flowers, and the hallmark quotes have been given to young couples who revel in the mushy romance of the day. You see, B and I don’t do Valentines. In fact, in our 16 years together, we’ve never really done Valentines. It’s nothing to do with the monetary ridiculousness of the mass produced corporate world. Or the falseness and pressure of the day. It’s more to do with the fact that we first met on the 16th of February and for many years celebrated our relationship and swoon worthy love two days later than everybody else. Now, that we’re married and have ten years of fiercely loyal marriage under our belts we celebrate our wedding date instead, sending the anniversary of when our eyes first met and good old St Valentine to the back burner.
There has been a long running debate in our society about whether it’s acceptable to forgo wearing your wedding ring. Whether it’s one of those traditions that no longer holds the same sense of purpose, or if the importance of what a wedding ring means has lost its initial recognition. There are plenty of men and women who no longer see the necessity of flashing a ring on their wedding finger. But why? Why has it become a thing to not wear a ring after your wedding day? And why does it kill me if my husband ever accidentally, and it always is accidentally, forgets to wear his ring?
2016 was an emotionally mixed year for me and for my family. I’ll be honest, I’ll be glad to see the back of it. I’m looking forward to 2017, hoping it brings us a year of good fortune without the unhelpful worries and stress this year has brought us. At a time when we should have been excited and happy to start our first year in our forever home, we struggled with daily life and issues beyond our control. But lessons were learned, important lessons, which will see us through next year and beyond in a more positive light.