To my younger, single self of 2007 and 2008
I have quite a lot I want to talk to you about today. As I write this, you may find it hard to believe, but today you are celebrating your sixth wedding anniversary. Yes. You heard right. Six years. But it’s not just six years. This very weekend, you’re also celebrating nine years with your now husband. That’s right. You managed to find ‘The One’. The one that didn’t mess you around.
Right now you’re in the middle of a crazy two years spending time as the single girl you so desperately need. If I’m honest, looking back, you didn’t have enough time on your own. You didn’t spend enough time, going out and enjoying yourself with your friends. Over the past few years, you have given your time and energies to some people that didn’t deserve it. You have had your heart broken more than once. But let me tell you – those guys weren’t right for you. They didn’t deserve you. It may not have felt like it but you have to believe me. Because I know how this ends!
Soon, you are going to meet someone who is going to turn your world upside down. I know you won’t believe me because your thoughts of the opposite sex don’t rate too highly right now, and no one can blame you for that. You have cried many a tear and that is good. You’re healing. You’re getting yourself better so that when you do meet this guy I will talk to you about in a minute, you will be ready.
Thankfully, prior to meeting ‘The One’, you have given up. You have stopped looking and you’ve been enjoying yourself. Carry on doing that. Because that’s where you’ll find him. Yes, I know the same old haunts are a bit tedious and boring on a Saturday night, but stick with it, because one day soon, he’ll be there.
When you do meet him, he will give you the corniest of chat up lines – don’t judge him! He means well. He will be smitten with you. This sounds big headed coming from your older self, but hell, I’ve lived with him for almost ten years by now, I think I’m qualified to say I know how he felt. He’s told me enough.
You will get on instantly and you will have your close friends to thank for introducing you. Don’t ever forget that. And while you may not see them as often as you wish you did in the coming months, don’t forget what they did for you. Try and keep them in your life, even if it’s hard at times.
It will be a whirlwind, he will propose to you within a year of meeting and you will be living together shortly after. Some people will think it’s all too fast but don’t listen to them. This guy is in it for the long haul. I promise.
You will have some amazing holidays, one of which he will propose in the most embarrassing of ways – on stage, in front of everyone. Then when you’ve said yes he will do karaoke and embarrass you even more by serenading you with ‘Can’t Take My Eyes Off You’. But don’t worry – you film the whole thing and keep the evidence as bribery should you ever need it. He will also get extremely drunk that night. You will look after him though, bless him, even now he can’t handle his drink very well.
Your wedding day will be planned over two years. You will get very stressed and you will argue and fall out. You will wonder at times if you are doing the right thing – you both will. But you are. Believe me. All couples go through moments like these.
The day will be perfect in your eyes. Don’t worry about the leaky roof or the pins that will get left in your dress. They are minuscule details. You will look gorgeous as will your entire bridal party. He will cry, I’ll warn you now. He’s a soppy git with a tough exterior but he’s got a heart of gold deep down.
Married life will be just the start. This is the bit that will shock you. By the time you reach your first wedding anniversary, you will be three months pregnant. Now come on. Pick your jaw up off the floor and keep reading. I know this is a shock. You have never been the maternal type. You have never envisaged yourself with a child. From what I remember, you don’t even like kids very much. But listen to me and listen to me carefully.
Even though the very thought of this makes you feel a little bit sick (not half as much as the morning sickness will…) you do not need to worry. And the reason being, Jaki of ten years ago? Because this child will be the making of you.
Your pregnancy will be problem free. You will feel sick but you won’t be sick. You will blossom. You won’t get ‘fat’ – you will just be pregnant. Yes, of course, you will get uncomfortable but you will handle labour and childbirth like a boss. And do you know what? You’ll do it all without any pain relief. You’ll ace it.
Then you’ll fall in real proper, love for the second time. The first time was to the now Daddy of your little boy – yes, that’s right, you will have a little boy. The second time with this miracle that you both created. He will be everything to you and you will experience a love that you never knew existed.
The five years that follow won’t be easy. I’m not going to go into the ins and outs of it all, as you’ve already taken in quite a lot for one day. Children can test any relationship, but do one thing for me. Don’t ever forget how far you will have come and why you did it in the first place. Because you love each other. Because you are everything to each other. Because you are meant to be.
There will be a really tough year or so when Mum gets sick. She will need looking after and believe me when I tell you, although it will be hard, you are strong enough to get through it. You all are. She’s a fighter our Mum and as a family, you will get through it. Look after Dad. He will find it hard too at times. In fact, you and Big Sis will make her so proud when you raise a shed load of money for Cancer Research and you actually run for the first time in your life. I know, I know, that was probably a bit too much, wasn’t it?!
As I write this, your now husband and four year old are out together shopping. You’re going to the park later and might even make some cakes too. I know, I know – another shock! And in a couple of months another chapter is about to start, because your little boy, the one that right now, you can’t even believe you’re going to have? He will be starting school. At the very same one, you went to.
This is a lot to take in. I get that. But I just wanted to prepare you for the amazing few years you have ahead of you. Because they really will be. Start looking forward, all the best is yet to come. I promise.
Your Older (maybe wiser) Self.