Happily ever after.

15 years we’ve known each other this year, and 12 of those married. It’s one of those occasions where it feels time does that funny thing; it only seems like yesterday that we met and at the same time it feels like we have known each other forever. I can’t imagine life without him.

We met in the days before social media, the days before smartphones; we met on a mutual friend’s birthday night out and when we said we were dating everyone seemed surprised. I still don’t know why they were so surprised really. It had never crossed our friends’ minds to introduce us to one another apparently, but we feel like we were made for one another.

That first evening we smuggled him into a basement club which had a strict “nae trainers” rule (we were in Newcastle-upon-Tyne and these rules were normal) but of course he had trainers on. It seems daft now to think he would be wearing anything else out. He still wears the same clothes as he did back then; a jeans, t-shirt, trainer kind of guy. Suit and shirt for work, of course. We chatted all night in the cheesy club, the kind where you stuck to the floor when you walked, and apparently I was the one to make the first move (I finally admitted to this at our wedding three years later, to be fair). At the end of the night I handed him my Nokia phone to put his number in.

We texted for a week and the following Sunday we had a lunch date, then a dinner date, then met our friends for a movie date. True story: our first date was 12 hours long. And that’s how it began. We were best of friends pretty early on and I think that has been key to our success. We went out with all of our friends a lot and my best friend, who only lived round the corner, loved him too. When a relationship starts surrounded by others who love you both, I truly think it helps a lot.

We were in the early stages of our careers, but just out of uni. It was the best of times; the independence of youth and first salaries, the energy and time to burn the candle at both ends. We didn’t grow up fast, we were silly, we had fun, we were reckless, but it was great. Pre-loading in my flat before we got the bus into town, hanging out at house parties, country drives around Northumberland on Sunday afternoons. Eating space cake before going to see a subtitled movie and thinking we could all of a sudden speak Spanish, me getting locked in his flat by his flatmate after he had gone to work, him waiting to meet me for an hour in town because my phone battery was flat. These were the early days of our relationship and we had so much fun.

I still look at this man and remember these times and they make me smile, but we have been there through good and bad; tough times at work, family bereavements, we held each other tight through them all and still do today.

I told him that I loved him by writing it in a crossword puzzle. He asked me to marry him as we crossed the road in New York on the way to the jewellery quarter (but that’s another story). We decided to emigrate to the other side of the world because he trusted my opinion on New Zealand without him ever having been here. We talked about having a family, and when we realised it didn’t look like it would happen we started planning our travels around the world. We cried with joy and disbelief at the positive pregnancy test only a month after that discussion. He let me squeeze his hand until it was white as our first child was born. He held our second child in his arms while the medical team all rushed in as I started to hemorrhage. Thick and thin…always there for one another.

Moving to the other side of the world will either make you or break you. I’ve seen it happen so many times. Thankfully it made us. Nearly a whole year of not really knowing anyone, our first year of marriage was spent playing scrabble and exploring our new home. I truly think it was the best thing for our marriage. We basically had a year long honeymoon with no interruptions from friends and family. It’s a good job we liked each other’s company!

We have always been equals and that stands as true today as it did 15 years ago. We discuss everything and make decisions together. I trust his judgement, and he trusts mine. We are both stubborn, but to be honest, we rarely argue. I respect him too much for that and we kind of have an unwritten rule that if other one of us is being a dick, we say so. It works. Trust me.

He is a wonderful father and husband, but bottom line is, he is my best friend, and for that I thank him. Are we lucky to have this relationship? Maybe, but I’m happier to say we work at it and never give up. And yes we’ve grown up, but we haven’t forgotten our younger selves. They are still there everyday, they just sometimes have to be reminded to come out and play.

 

Days 19/20: 30 day music challenge

Day 19: A song that makes you think about life 

Today’s post is heavily influenced by Take That and I make no apologies for that. It just so happens that my choices for these two days are both by my favourite band. So a song that makes me think about life is The Garden. The lyrics to this song are so beautiful and it is where I got my username (and other blog title) Miracles of Matter from. From the moment the song opens with the gentle piano to its huge crescendo and back down to its peaceful end, every note is just perfect. It captures for me so much about life and how we should all try to lead our best one. I have very clearly stated to my loved ones that this should be played at my funeral (not that I’m planning for this to happen soon by the way).

It is also amazing performed live. Check out these performances on YouTube on the Circus tour and more recently in 2015 on the III tour.

Day 20: A song that has many meanings to you

Like I said, this will be another TT song, Patience. It’s not that the words have lots of different meanings but that the whole song does and it reminds me of different occasions. In some respects it is a sad song, it reminds me of a sad time when my dad had just passed away and I returned back to New Zealand after being in the UK for his funeral. It can also be a very positive song about love and relationships; it just depends on my mood when I listen to it. It is one of my favourite songs to watch perfomed live but my favourite performance of it was at The Brits. And of course it makes me happy that it is the song that brought them back together after ten years away. Happy times.

Day 9/10: 30 day music challenge

Day 9: A song that makes you happy

You just know that there will be a disproportionate number of Take That and Robbie songs in this list, but it’s my list so I don’t give a damn! So a song that makes me happy has to be Love My Life by Robbie Williams.

There are the obvious reasons; the lyrics are happy, meaningful, and it’s a bloody lovely song. But then there are the less obvious maybe. Knowing that he is writing this from a happy point in his life is enough for a long term fan like me. Just like Come Undone had elements of an autobiographical nature, this does too and it just shows how much his life has changed, and how far he is come. And you know what? That makes me happy too. The two songs are the antithesis of each other but I love them equally.

And then there is what this song means to me as a mother. The sentiment behind it has made me cry on more than one occasion. All you want as a mother is for your kids to love their life and I am doing the best I can possibly do to make that happen. They, at 4 and 6, also LOVE this song. They request it in the car, they know the words and sing along. That’s the next generation of Friendlies right there. Makes me proud.

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Day 10: A song that makes you sad 

Seems like I was meant to miss yesterday and have these two songs on the same blog post. A song that makes me sad is November Rain by Guns N’ Roses. This song really reminds me of my dad so it is fair to say that it make me happy and sad. Dad loved Guns N’ Roses as much as me and took me to see them play at Milton Keynes Bowl on the Skin N’ Bones tour in 1993. There are enough stories about that day to fill an entire blog post so maybe I’ll write about it one day but being 15 and your dad taking you to a gig like that is pretty high in the cool stakes, if you ask me. I got to recreate some of those memories with my husband last month at Western Springs in Auckland and the song still has the same effect on me.

Dad sadly passed away from cancer in 2007 and prior to that spent quite a bit of time in the hospital having numerous treatments. One day the hospital radio guy came round and asked Dad if he had any requests. Dad insisted on the album version of November Rain…all 8 minutes and 58 seconds of it. You see, that was my dad all over; subtle with his humour, quietly spoken, but knew how to get his way. He was very happy when they played it, and apparently the DJ was too, he got an extended break.

Anyway, when it came to his funeral he picked Sailing by Rod Stewart for the time his coffin went behind the curtain. So, like the dutiful daughter I am, I  went and bought a CD with it on. Now, your average song is what, two minutes thirty, three minutes? Oh no, not this one. This version? Nearly five minutes. Now I don’t know if you’ve been to many funerals but it really doesn’t take that long for those curtains to close. It was like dad was having the last laugh. This is the song he used to sing after a few too many whiskeys, the song he used to rewind and play on repeat on car journeys. I can’t believe that it was coincidence that he chose such a long song again. So as the extended middle eight played my mum, my husband and I couldn’t help but snigger. The family and friends behind us why on earth we were laughing at his funeral, but well played dad, well played.

So both of these songs have happy and sad memories about Dad for me. And for the record, we chose November Rain for the end of the funeral because you know, it really does take nine minutes for everyone to leave a crematorium.

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Day 8 – 30 day music challenge

Day 8: A song about drugs or alcohol

Warning I may go all fangirly in this post, but day 8 has to be Robbie’s day with Come Undone. I don’t find it hard at all to say that this is my absolute favourite song of his, despite having many favourites. It’s a song that brings out all my emotions and knowing that, in some respects, it’s kind of autobiographical for him hits me right in the feels.

As with all the songs in this music challenge it makes me think of times and places. I had the absolute pleasure of hearing it twice live in 2015 (yes, I am one of those fans who went to two gigs in the space of four days) and it sent shivers down my spine. It comes on the radio and I stop in my tracks, and don’t even get me started with the video. Watch it here: Come Undone – Robbie Williams

 

Day 7 -30 day music challenge

Day 7: A song to drive to

This has to be Hotel California – The Eagles. This song has followed me everywhere I’ve been in my life and it is so epic to sing along to in the car with the windows wound down.

It bring memories of air guitar solos in friends’ bedrooms, memories of walking along a road in the south of France daily for three weeks where I passed a hotel called, you guessed it, Hotel California. My next door neighbours regularly blast this loudly and I join them in singing along. It is epic in every way. Love the words, love the music and more lately, well, if you know, you know. This song will NEVER be the same. It hasn’t ruined it, it’s only made it better.

“On a dark desert highway, cool wind in my hair
Warm smell of colitas, rising up through the air…”

Now close your eyes and imagine.

 

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