You spend the major portion of your adult life with a backup plan in your pocket. This isn’t a get-out-of-jail-free card. Life isn’t Monopoly. It’s a survival tactic that’s sewn into the fabric of your personality. Then your life does a kick-flip and you realise that you need that back-up plan less and less, because the plan you have before you is actually better. Sure, it takes hard work, learning and a bunch of really difficult curveballs to create, but this one is pretty darn cool, so you’ll stick with it. Eventually, you throw away the back-up plan because you haven’t updated it in years.
I’ve never been a huge idealist when it comes to marriage. Even just typing the word still feels foreign to me. I always just found it an impossible idea. In fact, it’s something that I had pegged as an experience I would not be going through, and I was totally okay with that. P knew that too – I like our life, with the homes, the dogs and the kid in-between. Were we to stay like this for the next 5000 years, I’d probably die from an overdose of satisfaction in my dotage.
But if there’s one thing life has taught me about this man, it’s this – that I should never expect the expected. Six years ago, when I thought he had come over to feed me baked goods and talk through a problem he was enduring, he got down on one knee with a post-it note and asked me to be his girlfriend.
Since then, it’s been six years of surprises. Of leaning, learning and loving. Of homes, dogs, parent-teacher meetings, take out menus, spreadsheets and me doubting myself, while he doubted me not at all. He has believed for, and in, me, far beyond myself, and far beyond anything I could ever have imagined.
I’d arranged a special starter for our anniversary dinner for him. Something he’d been wanting to try, and that I hoped would raise a giggle. We’ve done years of HUGE surprises for each other, and years of smaller ones. I thought this would be a very cool one.
After he finished eating and we were giggling and laughing, he engineered a conversation with my daughter that made my eyebrow do the telltale arch. He asked her what she would say if he asked her for permission to marry me, and she nearly exploded in a smile and tears with a resounding yes. Then he turned the conversation to chatting about my brother because, as it turned out, he’d asked him too, earlier on that day.
And then he turned his sparkly-eyed face to me.
This funny man, who has made me laugh (mostly at myself) when life threw the biggest wads of horrible paper at me. This human, who stands up for me whenever and however he can, especially when it’s me that’s talking me down. This one. The one who saw my life as a package deal, and signed up for it, terms and conditions accepted.
With a ring in his hand and a knee on the floor, the man I’ve given the most uphill to, who has stood by me through more than anyone can imagine, asked me to be his wife.
It’s the easiest question to answer that I’ve ever been asked.
Most people get married, find a home and have children. But there’s nothing usual about us at all, so it makes sense that we do everything in a roundabout way.
As it turns out, we are the extraordinary thing.