You had to come and get your malteasers out of mine…….
On the 1st of August, 1997, I married my boyfriend of 6 years, Nik. Our 26 years together have been a relationship of craziness, travel and growing up together, so our 20 year wedding anniversary feels like one to celebrate. I feel I do share a bit of myself through my blog, but Im pretty private about time with my family and friends, you will rarely see anything of them on social media, but I wanted to share this little story with you. I promise I will try to keep the sentiment to a minimum.
I met Nik completley by accident, and if life had not decided otherwise, we would never have met as our paths would just never have crossed. I had left the UK with a friend, to travel Australia a few months before. I had sold my car, given up my job in London, said my goodbyes, so when it didnt work out as planned and I returned home sooner than expected, I was at a total loss as to where I went and what I would do next.
I started thinking about continuing with my education, and going to Uni, but needed money to keep me going in the mean time. My Dad knew someone who ran the canteen in a gas bottleing plant not far from where we lived, so asked him if they had any work they could offer me on a short term basis. I became the girl that filled up the vending machines for the office and the canteen, complete with Thunderbirds style hat and a maroon stripey apron. Killing it in my 18 year old fashion stakes right there!
After a week, I was asked to help out with serving the lunches also in the canteen. Promotion! The first day of that, I met Nik. Well, when I say met him, I heard him first! This loudmouth was coming up the corridor to the canteen, shouting and laughing with his mates, all taking the pee out of each other as blokes do. As the doors burst open and he came bowling through the doors, (all 6ft 3 of him, so I couldnt really miss him) I looked up and this huge smile spread on his face. He strode over to the counter and his first words he said to me? The words that won my heart and made me know he was the man for me? He said,
“Alright (translated from Essex thats hello), you definately have contact lenses in as no one has eyes that blue”
Yep, those immortal words made me go home that very first day and tell my Mum that I had met the man that I was going to marry. Gawds sake I was easily pleased hahaha!
Anyway, to cut a very long story short, after a month of me serving him his jacket potatoe and beans, I got fed up of waiting for him to ask me out, so I asked him out (I was much more ballsy then) and we became inseperable. The only downside was that he was only working at the plant as he was getting some quick money together to go travelling with his 3 friends. They were all off on a world tour in March, (we met in December). In February, he asked me to go with them so once again, I packed up my back pack and off we all went. My Mum was horrified. Id met this man just 10 weeks previously, and here I was, my teenage self, off to travel the world with him and his mates! As a mum myself now, I have so much gratitude to my parents for supporting me and giving their blessing, (even though my Mum said she knew there was no point trying to stop me) as I know how hard that must have been for them. Bloody terrifying!
So, our relationship was fast, furious, fun and very hard partying and drunken for those first few years. We survived it though as here we are, about to celebrate our 20 year anniversary.
Nik is my absolute best friend. He makes me roar with laughter on a daily basis, keeps my feet on the ground when I come up with my latest idea or scheme, but supports me fully no matter how crackers he thinks I am. He is the most amazing Dad to our boys, and we are all incredibly lucky to have him. We have watched our two beautiful sons grow into fine young men, and we couldnt be prouder of them. Our boys, so full of fun, kindness and character. I am grateful everyday for them.
Nik is one of those people that everyone loves, and is without doubt, my better half. We have had an incredibly tough two years for many reasons, and at times, I think I could have easily spiralled downwards without his unwavering support, loyalty and level headedness. Im sure at times he wants to strangle me/push me off the QE2 bridge/bury me under the patio, (and at times he would be justified in having those thoughts) but he ends up laughing or shaking his head at me, and we move on.
People say marriage is hard work, but I can honestly say, with my hand on my heart, that mine isnt. Its just blooming lovely! We have always been happiest when together, and when our boys came along, the four of us together. We like having fun and we like new adventures. Obviously, we do have our own interests and hobbies, and have our own trips away with the boys/girls, but we are a very close family unit. Thats how we like it.
We are not planning on celebrating this anniversary in a big way. Nik turns 50 in a few years, so we want to do a big trip for that. It will probably be a meal with our boys somewhere, enjoying the beautiful feeling of love and contentedness I get whenever I am with my little family.
I hope this hasnt been too sentimental for you, I tried to keep the mush to a minimum. I will now leave you with some random things about our years together, and bad quality, scanned photos to snigger over. Enjoy
- We met at 18/21, married at 24/27, had our eldest at 27/30 youngest 29/32
- We did a sky dive together in New Zealand when we were 20/23
- Nik and I went to the same senior school, but never knew each other (he was 4 years above)
- Our first home together was a rented flat in Coogee Beach, Sydney Australia
- It is incredibly rare that we argue, ever.
- When I was pregnant with our first son, Nik had a ring made for Christmas with my birthstone (diamond) and the childs birthstone (aquamarine), (we didn’t know we were having a boy, just that he would be born March). I was so excited when I opened it Christmas morning that I jammed it on my finger, then 2 hours later, ended up at the Fire Station getting it cut off by the Firemen, as my fat swollen pregnancy finger started going blue.
- You know when you have those chats about your future when your first engaged/married? Well we always said we wanted 6 boys. Nik always wanted boys and I come from a hugely girl dominated family, so boys were good with me! When I had our second son, Nik literally ran to the chopp clinic as he didn’t want any more kids. (We had devastatingly lost 4 babies, plus I had real tough times giving birth, it scared him) I cried as I really wanted lots of kids (despite knowing it was against Doctors recommendations). Still even now, I wish Id had at least four.
- Two months before we got married, I had a panic over the venue we were having our reception in. We ended up changing it, not being able to get another venue on a Saturday (it was a big wedding so choices were limited), and having to get permission from the church to get married on a Friday. Years later I met a girl I went to school with and we got talking. Turns out that she had been given our original date as when we had cancelled, she got a call by the venue as she was looking to bring her wedding forward a year. Small world eh!
- I have never known my husband with hair. He had always shaved his head to a crewcut, then as age caught up, lost his hair…..Disclaimer – living with me was not the cause of said hair loss.
- When we lived in Australia, Nik dyed my hair when I was sleeping, (ok, aka drunkenly comatose) as he thought it would be funny. To give you an idea of the colour, it was called Aztec Copper….. Yep, I still married him!
- Nik has this notion that when he retires, we are going to get our back packs back on and resume our travelling. Im not sure my back could cope with hostel beds anymore, but we will see!
- When I was 8 months pregnant with our second son, I got a call from Whitechapel Hospital, London, telling me we dont want you to panic Mrs Hawkins as we know you are heavily pregnant, but we have your husband in Intensive care with a suspected heart attack! He was 32. Nik had collapsed at Fenchurch Street station. It turned out his heart had suffered a malfunction due to stress, (my husband is not a stress head in any way) that he saw as a massive warning sign to change his life. Within 4 months he had collapsed his company down, and taken a job at a local refinery. There was no way on this earth Nik was going to risk his health for something as irrelevant as money. We struggled for a while, but I would rather be the poorest woman on the planet than not have him here.
- My husbands two motto’s in life are “It is what it is” and “They’re alright” he is literally the most laid back person in the universe, and the boys could be on top of the garage roof, dangling head first over the side, me stressing out, and he would say “Oh Kel, they’re alright” Seriously, the man makes my nerves bad!
So thats it, our little story in a nut shell. Like most people, we have had some incredibly tough times throughout our life together, life has a way of doing that to you dosent it, but I know with certainty, there is no other person that I would have wanted by my side. He is my soulmate.