Twenty two years ago today, my now husband Richard and I went on out first date. I was 18 and he was 23 and you can see us as we looked back then in the photo that is 2 across and 2 down in the grid. We were so very, very young. We have spent approximately half of our lifetimes together. I trawled through our photos to find some pictures to represent our years together, and actually this display is OK but doesn’t do our relationship full justice. This is partly because lots of photos of us in exciting, exotic locations on our trips, holidays and adventures have only one of us in the photo. Before children, we were away together but one would pose in front of the view or panorama we were enjoying whilst the other took the picture. At least in those days there were pictures of the two of us; the arrival of children in our lives skewed the photographic record to make us look like largely absentee parents as we really only take pictures of the kids now.
So what does this little montage tell you about our adventures and life together, and what is left out?
Well, you can see some of our holidays to Jamaica, Egypt, Germany to see an eclipse and camping in Henley on Thames, but not our trips to New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, Italy, Paris, lots of very rainy camping in the Lake District and numerous trips to Ireland.
You cannot see Richard teaching me to ski, to drive, and to learn physics for my teaching degree.
You can see that we have three daughters who were born 12 years, 14 years and twenty years into our relationship.
You can see our that we got married; this happened ten years after we had been together.
You cannot see that we never, ever run out of conversation and things to say to each other.
We had a long distance relationship for the first six years, as Richard worked as a policeman in Thanet whilst I studied for my degree in London. Then I lived in Bath whilst I completed my teacher training and Richard was back in the IT industry working in London. We moved in together when Richard bought a house in Croydon, I got a teaching job in Croydon and we settled down to live normally-ever-after. It took us about a year to learn to live together well as we had grown used to a lot of independence and occasional longer times together in our apart-but-together years.
So on 31st December 1999, just before midnight, Richard asked me to marry him. I’m pretty sure if there hadn’t been a millennium to mark that we may still have been unmarried! This is not to say that Richard is not committed to me fully, just that we don’t always feel the need to do the conventional things. In fact this 1999 proposal was Richard’s second to me, as he had decided very shortly after we met that he wanted to spend his life with me and asked me to marry him 10 weeks after we met, in 1992. I said no, as I was off to university and felt too young, and yet knew from early on that we were very right for one another.
So this is the man whose life is intertwined with mine. I cannot imagine my life without him. He is my love, my rock, and my greatest supporter. We are ordinary people who have happy and grumpy days and good and bad times. But largely we are of the opinion that as long as we have each other we can get through whatever comes our way in life. We are happy with what we have, grateful for the life we have been lucky enough to spend together and appreciative of the home, children, family, dreams, plans and health that we enjoy.
So here is to the next 22 years. I am excited to see what they have in store for us.
Happy Anniversary Richard, my love x