History, written by the winners

Today is our second wedding anniversary.

Coincidentally, we had a friend staying this weekend who is getting married in less than a month, and so the conversation of the past few days has revolved entirely about weddings, bridesmaid dresses, flowers, in-laws, fittings, dieting, hair, and flowers again. Which was jolly good fun in a madly girly way. And of course, my own wedding, for which I wore scarlet and looked like the Queen of Hearts, according to my cousin, so hurrah, was the loveliest wedding in the universe ever and my Dad managed entirely to Not Have A Row With Anyone. Or so I am told. I was too zonked on lack of sleep, champagne and happy, happy nerves to notice.

Being married is not the same as getting married. How trite is that? It’s the sort of saying that I had happily ignored all my life, as being Irrelevant, and, indeed, Trite, and I am a very bright woman and can figure all this out on my own, thank you very much (nevertheless, I actually said this to my poor friend, who kindly did not hit me upside the head). But all this wedding-flavoured air is leading me to reminisce into my coffee. You have been warned.

H and I met when we were both seventeen, started dating a few months later, and have been together ever since, through all sorts of shenanigans and being at university 200 miles apart and then, for a year, 2000 miles apart (though that year was Hiccoughy (you can just tell I’m British, me and my quaint spelling), which is polite for Rough). We moved in together, in a teeny little flat over a road so busy the windows shook when buses went by, when we were twenty-three, and I was a penniless pain-in-the-wallet because I was doing a Masters. We stuck together through H’s unemployment, my employment for wages that would make a Victorian mill-hand snigger, my Utterly FUBARed Not-a-PhD, my unemployment, H’s miserable if well-paid job, and then we got married. (And then I got my current lovely job, again done for love not money, and now I’ve got my nerve back and am I’m flinging myself at the Hurdles of Academe once more. H still hates his job. Everyone else in his company thinks he’s fantastic and cool apart from his immediate control-freak bosses. *sigh*. But I digress).

And through all this I knew, I have known since I was 22, that I would not be throwing away the contraception and pinging babies out within a year of the wedding. And that first year was a little hard, as family did keep on asking, where are the babies, where are they? Answer, buggered if I know, and really, could you please stop pointing out to me that the entire rest of my family contrives to be several months gone before they marry? The irony is not lost on me. Even my father said, the day I phoned him to tell him H and I were getting spliced, ‘Are you knocked up at last?’. Arse.

And part of me wants to blame H, because he wanted to wait until we were a little more solvent and a little less neurotic, to start ‘trying’. Note ‘wants’. I know that it would be unfair because I agreed with all his reasoning at the time, and yes, I did want to be married and not to have to worry about money all the time. His parents and my parents started their reproductive journeys in a far more gung-ho-oopsie way – his parents weren’t really planning on his arrival at that point in their young studenty lives and sort of got married for his sake, and my parents went mad and tried to renovate a ruin in another country and I spent the first few months of my life sleeping in a drawer and being baby-sat by assorted builders and drug-addled hippies grooving with the olive-groves. We wanted our kids to feel a little more… secure than that.

Now that there are still no kids, and now that my uterus has got bored waiting for people to grow in it and is experimenting with mysterious excrescences instead, and I am still not ovulating, and incidentally, I need to rip my mustache off again, I look back over our life together so far and think: ‘Would it have been that bad, being poor? Would I have minded screwing up my career even more so with bells on, instead of neatly getting a toe-hold that will allow me to bounce back post-infant? Would we have survived that freaky bit we had when my PhD went to hell in a hand-basket (and so did I) if there had been a baby too?’

Or would we be right where we are now, only with a few more years of trying and trying and waiting and hoping and freaking out?’

And then I look around at the flowers H bought me a few days ago to cheer me up because I had such a bad cold.

And I think that all this second-guessing is practically me giving myself assvice, and this extra time alone has been good for us.

And I wonder what colour our baby’s hair would be.

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4 responses to “History, written by the winners

  • MsPrufrock

    Second-guessing yourself is one of those things you’ll inevitably do, even though you do recognise its futility. Is there anyone who doesn’t second guess themselves? I’m envious if so.

    We started trying when we were broke and still doing degrees, and I didn’t end up conceiving until 4 years later. Even then it was hardly via the natural way. I am only 28 now, but being 23 didn’t help me conceive any easier, so that whole attribution of increased fertility with youth isn’t always true anyway.

    That’s my stupid assvice. Happy anniversary!

  • Watson

    Happy Anniversary, and may this next year bring you many wonderful surprised!

  • Watson

    surpriseS, many wonderful surprises, that’s what I meant!

  • Adrienne

    Happy anniversary, dear May!

    Peering into the swirling waters of “what if”, aren’t you? Dangerous place to go, I’ve found. Because you assume that all goes right in the “what if” world, which it doesn’t and it wouldn’t and it would be a different set of difficulties, troubles, etc. if you’d taken that fork in the road instead. Contemplating it only serves as a self-flagellation device. And I already have plenty of those at home.

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