Dear Mr M,
So today we celebrated 16 years of marriage and 24 years of being together. It's been a roller coaster adventure of a ride Mr M. With highs and lows, moments of absolute despair, and yet many more times of laughter, joy and happiness.
As I sit here writing this now I can’t help but create a picture in my mind of the two spotty teenagers that met all those years ago, so young and carefree. Back then all we thought about was fun steamy nights, and sneaking around after curfew. Love letters and living in the moment.
You asked me out whilst we were sitting on a bin sharing a bag of soggy chips, and I was smitten! What more could a girl want.
You were older than me and I was so proud to strut around with you on my arm.
We had our whole lives mapped out ahead of us didn't we?
But we quickly learnt that what we had imagined for ourselves and our kids wouldn't come anywhere near to the reality we would face.
Because now, well now so many things have changed.
Our lives, like so many others parents out there is not one if I'm being completely honest I would have chosen. Autism, Dyslexia, health care plans, doctors’ appointments, social services, suspicions and even judgement of our ability to parent.
Not to mention the countless assessments, tests, and years and years of fighting a system that doesn't understand our son, just to get him the support that he's entitled to.
So let’s face it Mr M, I am anything but young and carefree nowadays. The hair dye and twitching eye are certainly testimony to that. I am no longer that ‘live in the moment’ kind of girl you fell in love with.
And I would rather sneak into bed for some 'shut eye' if I ever got a child free evening... never mind staying out after curfew!
But who am I kidding anyway. Nights out are a thing of the past. Because if we do manage to escape, it’s usually separately as getting a sitter that can manage our tribe is a rare treat.
And sadly, we no longer stare into each other’s eyes over soggy chips (well I don't miss the soggy chips part it has to be said). Because I am usually cooking three different meals to accommodate the diverse food fads of our kids in this house!
It was heart-breaking in the early days of our marriage watching you reach out to our son to do the usual father son stuff; you know the football, cycling, and sports like all your friends were doing with their sons. To then see the hidden rejection you felt when he had a meltdown pitch side.
I know how hard that was for you to understand him before he had his diagnosis. I could see the pain in your eyes as you felt so helpless to see your little boy so anxious. But as it turns out, our children have taught us so much more than we could have ever imagined.
Then add into equation trying to find time for each other, work and responsibilities, high blood pressure, teenage daughters, lack of sleep, financial pressures, dogs, cleaning, laundry, home schooling….. I mean c’mon the list goes on. There’s no wonder we are not the same people we once were is there?
I don’t know about you Mr.M, but I no longer desire the world at my feet. I would simply be happy with a hot bath, a good book and 5 minutes peace on the loo every now and again. Now that would be lovely.
But seriously, I want to grow old with you whilst we watch our kids growing up being happy and proud of who they are, not who society tells them to be. Together we are helping our kids to stand up for themselves, love themselves, and hopefully they will leave us one day to fulfil their own potential (or like our son says he will be living in a caravan in our back garden!) Whatever makes them happy.
Despite the stress ours is chaotic fun mad house. Our kids are happy and loved and I wouldn't have it any other way (most of the time.)
Whether they are Dyslexic, Autistic, or a little ditsy sometimes. They are all unique and amazing because we made them, I mean that's a miracle isn’t it.
We made 3 perfect lives- that’s enough legacy for anyone I'd say.
You see some things just won’t change Mr M. Despite all the crap that has come our way these last 24 years, I still love you with all my heart, and I am more proud than ever to strut around with you on my arm. Because you’re a wonderful father to our kids. I am so proud of the man my teenage first love has become.
So for now, I hope you can settle for an exhausted wife that would rather have an early night and a hot steamy bath, and not that youthful carefree bit of stuff you hooked up with all those years ago?
And like our wedding song says “Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m 64?”
Well we're already halfway there Mr M, where have the years gone?
So as long as you’re not feeding me soggy chips, I’m up for the next 24 years adventures… are you?
Mrs M x