This time ten years ago, Facebook was just a baby, Twitter didn’t exist, and a new show called X-Factor was appearing on our TV screens for the first time. In Ireland, we were sucking up the smoking ban, we were queuing overnight to buy houses from plans, and Niall Horan was just eleven years old. Undoubtedly, a lot has changed over the last decade, while in some ways, nothing has changed at all.
Ten years ago today I was in my dad’s kitchen, being handed Rescue Remedy by one sister, while another fixed my veil, and a third laid out a breakfast of hard-won Danish pastries (a long story). We phoned the groom to find out if there were people in the church, because we didn’t want to arrive too early. He didn’t answer his phone, so we tried the best-man. No answer there either. We tried everyone we could possibly think of, but like the good guests that they were, they had all switched off their phones. Eventually we decided to chance it, and arrived twenty minutes late to a full church and a nervous groom.
I still bring it up with my husband every now and then, because I’m annoying like that. “Remember the time we were getting married, and I told you we were going to ring to see if we should come to the church? And you switched off your phone?” He loves when I bring it up. A bit like last week when I reminded him to get his passport out the night before a trip to Germany, and at 5am the following morning, he was frantically rummaging through drawers to find it. A decade in, I’ve accepted that he doesn’t always listen, and that I sometimes talk too much. Marriages are like that.
Our lives have changed over the last ten years, with new jobs, a (not) new house and three new babies. Gorgeous babies (I’m biased) who have grown into hilarious kids. Hilarious kids who sometimes make us want to cry with frustration, but mostly make us laugh. They are, however, responsible for a significant lifestyle shift. The city-centre dinners and drinks of ten years ago have been replaced by mealtime battles and pleas for small people stop pouring drinks into dinners. Except for when we are blessed with a babysitter, and then we go back in time (and sometimes spend ten minutes not talking about the kids)
But like all parents, those back-in-time-dinners are a rare treat – most nights are spent crashed on the couch, recovering from the groundhog day of commute and work and childminder and dinner and homework and laundry. I don’t know what we did all day ten years ago, but somehow we never had enough time and we never had enough money. Everything and nothing has changed.
Our relationship has changed. The groom at the top of the aisle ten years ago became a provider of tea and nervous sympathy to an irrational and exhausted wife during the first weeks or our first baby. I remember being aware of a tall person who could take the baby when he came home from work, but he was in my peripheral vision only – I was consumed, for better or for worse, by all things baby.
And some things haven’t changed at all. The guy who accompanied me to a primary school reunion in Cork (and still brings up the fact that he was the only man in the room) is the same guy who years later came to Germany for an Erasmus year reunion. The guy who rescued me when I got lost on my first trip to Dundrum (I waited there for six hours until he was finished work, because I didn’t trust myself to find my way home) is the same guy who rescued me one rainy morning when I had a puncture twenty minutes before my driving test.
He’s the tea-maker, the coffee-purchaser and the cake-bringer. He’s the person he was ten years ago, but with a whole new dimension in his new role as dad. He’s the magician, the tickler, the prankster – the one who makes the kids laugh when they’re about to melt down. The one who makes me laugh when I’m about to melt down.
So when we crash on the couch tonight, we might tune out of the budget analysis and put away the laundry for just a few minutes, and raise a glass of red wine to all the good stuff that changes and doesn’t change at all.
PS: We went on to raise some babies, a couple of whom are girls – here’s my take on how they differ to boys (or not), for eumom: Raising Girls