Well that figures, eh? A couple of weeks ago, I revealed the happy news about Mark and I setting a date for the wedding. Sure, it was a rush job, and we knew it was going to be stressful planning an entire wedding and reception in only 34 days, but I like a challenge. With some epic help from some amazing people, we had the venue, the dress, the shoes, groom’s and baby’s outfits, a load of guests, food, music and even TWO ceremonies.
People were coming from near and far to celebrate with us, and the enthusiasm was contagious.
And then panic set it.
Let me tell you a little story.
Mark and I met in January 2010, just before my 28th birthday. I was still living with my husband at the time, and so the whole concept of “dating” was incredibly strange and difficult. Add into the mix Mark having split from his fiance earlier in the month, and really you have the making of one of those train-wreck rebound relationships that everyone can see coming from a mile off.
Except it wasn’t.
In our first month together, Mark whisked me off to Amsterdam for a weekend of frolicking in tulips and buying wooden clogs.
Anyone who knows me knows that I do NOT travel well. I get totally stressed and freaked out unless I know that every second of the trip is planned to the tiniest detail. When you throw in an airplane (which scares the bejesus out of me!) and a language I don’t speak, the stress levels go through the roof.
But you know what? Mark never flinched.
Every time I made my grumpy face:
He found a way to calm me down:
My constant bitchiness never set him off, and when I look back and think, “It would have been an awesome weekend if I hadn’t ruined it,” Mark looks back and thinks, “It was an awesome weekend!”
Because that’s who he is. Always positive. And always tolerant.
It wasn’t long before we moved in together. I needed to get out of my ex-husband’s house so we could both move on, and for some inexplicable reason, Mark was so into me that he offered for me to move in with him and follow my dream of becoming a full time artist.
At the time, he worked from home most days, and so in that first month living together, we saw a LOT of each other. It’ll be no surprise then to admit that it was in that first month that I got pregnant.
Of course, I didn’t KNOW I was pregnant until later, but yes, that’s when it happened.
We were all set to travel to the US for Mark’s friends wedding. Which just happened to be taking place in Las Vegas. Wahey!
Given that I didn’t yet know that I was pregnant, I put my insane hormones and utter misery down to the perils of international travel. Have I mentioned that I’m a stress monster when it comes to travelling? Yah… going through 8 time zones will make that worse… doing it all in the early stages of pregnancy – that’s sheer madness!
And while we partied it up like rock stars on the trip, I am ashamed to admit that there were several times I swore we were over and done with. I even left him in the middle of getting into a taxi. Yep, I just walked off while he was loading our bags. Went into a shopping mall and didn’t look back. No phone, no money, no way of contact. Just left. It was ridiculous.
Of course, I was only gone 10 minutes and came back to find him frantically looking up and down the street trying to figure out where I’d gone… I was a moody cow.
I mean, how many men will whisk you off to Vegas after only a few months together? He paid for the whole thing, even giving me gambling money (which I promptly won big with and then promptly lost my winnings by trying to hide them in an empty cigarette pack and walking off without it).
Mark took very seriously a promise he made on our first date. He said he was going to show me the world – take me everywhere. And he was living up to that promise, despite the fact that I had no intention of holding him to it.
After Vegas, we went to see his family in Salt Lake City. The snowy mountains (in JUNE!) were a stark contrast to the Vegas desert we’d been in, but it was beautiful and majestic.
We spent a lot of time kissing. We appreciated each other. We were two people who had been burned by love but who hadn’t lost hope. We’d come together against all odds and found true happiness in each other’s pockets.
I mean – I climbed a MOUNTAIN with him!
Seriously, ya’ll – an actual mountain! Sure it wasn’t the biggest mountain. Sure, his whole family came with us… sure, his sister in law was actually carrying a baby while we climbed – but STILL! How many men would YOU climb a mountain for!?
And then, we were pregnant and all hell broke loose. I was scared and angry and wanted to run far far away. Having been given this amazing security blanket, I was terrified that it’d surely be taken away. I was worried that he would leave me or hate me or find me unattractive.
No matter that he’d been swearing he wanted to marry me since our first date (yes – he literally proposed on our first meeting), and no matter that I was carrying his child – I wanted to leave him before he could change his mind and break my heart…
But he didn’t.
He grabbed me by the shoulders and shook the faith back into me, and when things got dark and scary, he was right there kissing the pain away and promising that he’d always take care of me.
He was my rock. My anchor. My love.
Eventually two became three and our family became stronger. Our bond was sealed even more tightly the day that little boy came into our lives.
And every day that goes by, I find myself more and more determined that we will be “legit.” At seven months pregnant, I looked across at my beautiful man over a slice of pizza in our living room and said, “So you really wanna get married?”
Without missing a beat, he said, “Yes.”
“Okay then,” I said. “Let’s get married.”
And that was that.
We spent over a year planning and brainstorming and changing dates and times and places.
And then suddenly this year, circumstances arose which meant we felt like we needed to push it forward and just do it.
We were gonna do it.
I was scared, but I was determined, too. Having sworn that I’d never marry again, I knew that this was what I wanted.
A few days ago, though, a true panic set in, and I realised that I was properly scared. Did I want to legally bind myself to another person? What if we failed? What if we ruined Dexter’s life by marrying and then divorcing down the road? What if, what if, what if!
But in true Mark style, he talked me down from the ledge. He told me in no uncertain terms that he’d wait forever for me. He vowed that if we get married, it’s forever… there’s no backing out. He wants me to be sure. He told me that if I had doubts, we shouldn’t do it…
And while I put my fears to one side, I still had it in the back of my mind that this could be a disaster…
But then yesterday came.
And we went to the register’s office.
And we smiled as we looked across the desk and said we were there to file our notice of intent to marry (which you must do at least 16 days before you wed).
And they said no.
We could not get married. We could not have permission. We would have to go away and try again later.
And when someone tells you that, I think there’s only two reactions you can have, both very telling.
The first reaction is one of relief. Where you suddenly feel like the weight on your shoulders has lifted or the breath you’ve been holding has finally been let go. And you realise that you are glad something has come up because this isn’t really what you wanted.
Or, you have the second reaction – MY reaction. Where you feel like your world has fallen apart, and you know without a shadow of a doubt that all that worry and fear and panic was for nothing. Because you want this man like no one else. You want him now and forever, forsaking all others, till death do you part.
And you want to kill the bastard who told you no.
So now – we wait. We chase up what needs to be chased up, we get our affairs in order, and we try again. And this time – ain’t no one gonna hold us back. Because we are a family. And that is legit.