… On Christmas Day four years ago I said ‘Yes’ to the man who was quite clearly made for me, when he asked me if I fancied being his wife one day. Then we woke up on Boxing Day and went shopping for my beautiful engagement ring.
Nowadays it’s not quite as shiny, and neither are we – three pregnancies, two beautiful baby girls, one house-build, a few work promotions and many, many happy memories later we could both do with a big old sleep, he could do with being less crap at night times and more lively in the morning (he’s working on it) but those shitty moments are far outweighed by how much I love him – even on the days I don’t like him very much at all.
Women’s magazines would have us believe the true test of a relationship is to jet off to sunnier climes together – after all, ‘if you can survive a holiday together, you can survive anything’, apparently. Recently I’ve started to realise how ridiculous that actually sounds. On holiday (pre-children), Tom and I tended to be bronzed (OK, he was bronzed, I was burnt), relaxed, lapping up gorgeous sunshine and enjoying food, drink and sleep in abundance. Now we’re pale, tired and snapping at each other because our toddler has decided she doesn’t like sleep anymore and we have an almost four-month-old baby who likes to graze on a couple of ounces of milk at a time – conditions which make it a hell of a lot harder to like each other most of the time.
There are millions of things I love about Tom. As we find ourselves in this challenging period of our lives, I fear he might think I’ve forgotten some of the reasons he’s my other half, so I’m writing this for both of us – to help me remember on the days his sloth-like morning behaviour drives me crazy and for him – to show him that I still utterly adore him. This list is by no means the entire catalogue, but I’d say these are my top ten. So here you go, buddy – I might tip full bottles of new squash down the sink and throw crumbs on the floor through blurry-minded exhaustion, but I still know you better than anyone – and I love you regardless.
1. He’s surprising – after almost nine years together he is still a little bit mysterious. Take his new-found love of gardening, for example. Never saw it coming. Oh and on our first date, in May 2007, he was playing Christmas songs when I got into his car and he is still the only Whitney Houston-loving Mechanic I’ve ever met
2. He’s a fantastic father and he gave me my beautiful daughters. Yes, we have disagreements over whose turn it is to feed the baby, who cleans up the next poo explosion and I get moody because he still can’t pack the changing bag by himself, but he is superb with our girls – and that’s why I chose to have babies with him – because I knew he would be
3. He’s got my back. I don’t have a relationship with either of my parents, so I often look to him for advice, and he manages the perfect balance of opinion-sharing and listening – every single time
4. We’re different,but we complement each other. I’m ambitious, he needs the odd kick up the arse, he makes a mean fried egg and I’m frying pan phobic. Also, he likes mess, and I like tidying up… just kidding… well, sort of
5. He makes me laugh – because he’s about as daft as I am. He recently came home from work quoting a line from Gavin & Stacey (Bryn: “I’ve gone for the gnocchi!” *fist pump*) and it made me cry with laughter
6. He knows me – and because he knows me, he knows how to react when I’m being a dick – resulting in very few arguments
7. He doesn’t do things by halves – he jokes that his efficiency is due to his German ancestry, but all I see is a man who likes to do a really, really good job of everything he sets his mind to – and after growing up with a useless Stepfather who couldn’t ever finish a project, this is a very attractive trait
8. He’s easy going – he knows he can’t win a lot of the time, and he just nods, smiles, rolls his eyes and carries on – which will stand him in good stead in a house full of girls
9. He still thinks I’m beautiful – even though I’ve got eye bags which could save us the 5p supermarket charge, a stomach my daughter recently referred to as ‘bouncy’ (charming) and he recently witnessed a lot of poo leaving my body as I pushed our youngest daughter out into the world (a delightful treat for him, I’m sure)
10. He’s gorgeously honest – and doesn’t try to be macho. Recently our eldest was worryingly poorly, and as he left us at the hospital to take our baby home for the night, his eyes filled with tears and he told me how scared he was. And he was 100% amazing during both of my labours too (even telling me not to worry about the poo…)
Sorry for the tantrums, rules (you understand the ‘no Cath K cups outside’ one now, right?), fun-policing and salad force-feeding matey, you know I don’t mean to be a cow – if only you could get your arse out of bed I could tell you that in person too. Sigh. (I love you xx)