This day two weeks ago I married my Special Gentleman.
I floated through a day so magnificent that I have thought about it every day since and wished we could do it all again. But then, if we did, perhaps it wouldn’t be the same magical, perfect-for-us day that it was? So no, instead I shall treasure the memories that have been gifted to us and relive them often, in my head and my heart, forever.
Although in my haze of love and excitement I forgot about something very important. No it wasn’t the table flags that were left sitting in our Dublin home, Special Gentleman. Or to test to see if we actually had enough helium for the balloons. It wasn’t remembering I should have actually been on the left and not the right as I walked down the aisle with my Papa. It wasn’t to put the all important ‘party feet’ cushioning in my shoes, or to pin my dress up at the back so I could avoid the creases that come from happily wrapping it in my arms as I walked around our stunning Mount Druid setting. What I forgot was to say the few words that I had planned to kick off the speeches with, to welcome our friends and family, to let them know how wonderful it was to have them there on a day that was so important to us, a day a long time coming but not a moment too soon. The ideal day, an ideal Tuesday. I always thought it strange that brides don’t speak, that all around them say nice things to them but they don’t say anything back. I was definitely going to take some time to tell them that they mean so much to us and express just how important they are in our lives, how lucky we were that they travelled from far and wide just for us.
Mostly though it was to let them know about my Special Gentleman and why he is just that. I wanted to tell them all how lucky I am to have someone that makes me laugh out loud on a daily basis, even when I’m trying not to (trying very, very hard). I wanted to share how my every day starts with a green tea and specially timed porridge from you, and how sometimes we’re rushing and I don’t even know if I thank you but that it’s this small act of love that sets me up for all that is to come (unless you’ve used the wrong oats… then we know it’s all downhill). I wanted to let them know how I live with my greatest champion, how your absolute belief in me makes me able to drown out the doubt (even though you make ludicrous claims about the jobs I’d be better at – do you even actually know who Anna Wintour is?) I would have mentioned your kindness that knows no bounds; how you pick up old men on the street and give them lifts to save their tired legs, how they would never hear about that – how I wouldn’t have either only it comes into a random conversation about dogs, house prices or ice-cream (and let’s face it, I would have gotten to ‘picks up old men’ and that would have been the end of my attention window from your mates). I would have referred to your white tile bracelet that you wear every day on your wrist even though it looks slightly… well, asylum patient . I’d have suggested they turn it over to see Anna and Elsa’s faces smiling up from it – a gift from your niece, which means that you never take off. And that perhaps you’re a closet Frozen fan. I’d absolutely have introduced Dolly into conversation, how I didn’t think it was possible for a man to love his dog so much, and how you still like to pick her up for hugs like a tiny human even though she’s actually more similar to a horse in size. How my affection quota has greatly depleted since she came on the scene (don’t make that face – we both know it’s true. I considered letting my leg hair grow just to get more rubs).
I’d probably have remembered aloud how I was driven by you on my first trip to a new job in Cork this year, accompanied the night before so I knew where I was going and didn’t have to worry about trains or cabs. How that ‘luxurious’ hotel was full of misfits that gave us hours of people watching and scenario speculation. I may have reminisced about the many, many adventures I have shared with you, and how we always seem to end up in the company of some of the most colourful, questionable characters imaginable; how we have ended up partying with (and trying to subtly escape from) drug dealers, murderers and feuding families in Mexico that time you had to keep drinking my gifted shots of rare tequila as well as your own so I wouldn’t be sick… even though it led to a tricky run home as I took your entire weight and guarded your camera while we moved as quick as our (my) legs would carry us. Or how we became locked inside a secret library with our drunk and fighting married Inistioge B&B owners as we tried to keep straight faces and sip graciously on their wine while they argued over the cat (who blamed who for killing it again?). Or how we once stayed in a guesthouse in Kilkenny with a lady that refused those ahead of us as she was ‘full’, only to accept us immediately and show us into yet another ‘cell’ like dwelling, where you were sure you saw her sitting on the end of the bed during the night. Or I might have laughed about us picking up our RV in Vegas for the roadtrip to Burning Man, how it actually turned out to be the Meet The Fockers mansion on wheels, how it was only when you took a wobbly turn onto the motorway that you shared the important news that not only had you never driven an RV but nor had you ever driven in the States… or on the opposite side of the road. Or about how we pretended to the people behind us in the festival traffic queue that we had LOADS of friends joining us, as if it would just be us two in this unnecessarily large vehicle (when there were 15 of them in a mini behind us)?! I’m not sure they believed us but the frozen pops from our large fridge helped the cause. Flashpackers.
I’d certainly have remembered our first meeting, in that beat-up little van where I was last to join as I had been waiting for the ‘guides’ to find a bicycle helmet large enough for my head so we could take on ‘The World’s Most Dangerous Road’. This might have reminded me of your pea head and how embarrassing it is to have a head twice the size of your male other half, but how amusing it is that the Bolivians sent you to the children’s stall to find a suitable sized alpaca hat… who knew it would become your trademark? It was also here that you brought me to ‘Party Street’ where we spent all of our money on the tackiest of birthday decorations (which we afterwards realised were in fact Communion decorations – that’s why the hat was so large… it was a bell!) just so we could make a fuss of my pal that you only knew a couple of days. How you impressed me with your Spanish only for me to soon cop that you actually just added an ‘o’ to the end of everything. I might have remembered our Skype calls that averaged 2 hours, our G-chats that lasted for hundreds of lines, eventually our ‘secret’ dates around Dublin where I wanted to show off my city and pals but instead we were stopped on the street every few minutes by people you knew from La Paz, Cusco, Sydney, Uganda, Buenos Aires…
I might have said how lucky we are to have parents that encourage our travel, excuse our quirks and allow us to be ourselves – without that we may never have had today. How wonderful it has been to be welcomed by your family that are so great to me always. Let’s face it, with all the exotic places you spent time in, it probably wasn’t a freckly redhead from Dublin they thought you’d arrive home with, was it? I’d have said how cute I find it that they put such thought into gifts for me, how your sister and brother in law scour Etsy for just the right perfect Vintage gift, or even commission a bag with my picture and name on it! How your nieces give me as much joy as my own do. I’d have thanked you for how much interest you show in my nieces, and my nephews (and for how well you coped when your campaign to make Liverpool supporters of them failed). I’d have mentioned how fun it was having each of them as part of our wedding party, sunglasses and all! I’d have told you how I can’t wait to see the video so I can watch them all come up the aisle and see how it unfolded from your perspective.
Mostly I’d probably just have said that I love you. I’d have told you that you do a great job of telling me new reasons why you love me every day (when forced)… but that I am totally on to you just ‘saying what you see’ at that time: ‘because you’re so good at talking on the phone with your family’, ‘because your sunglasses are so reflective’ and ‘because you put briquettes on the fire so well’ are just some of the statements that give you away.
But then by the time I would have said anything there would have been so much more to add, wouldn’t there? I would have told everyone what an utter and complete buzz it was to be there, surrounded by them all on such a happy, sunny day. I would have said how incredibly special it was to start the day surrounded by my family and my Duckeens, getting ready that morning, sharing prosecco and laughs, wondering how you were and if you’d go through with it (you know who that came from!). I’d have said how by 2pm I was bursting to see you and just wanted to be by your side. I’d have told them how special I felt to be helped into my wedding dress by my sisters, the very wedding dress that my beautiful Mama married my handsome Papa in 47 years earlier, in Loughlynn, Co. Roscommon, in front of her friends and family, in front of my grandparents. I’d have had to let them know that being driven by my brother-in-law in the old green Morris Minor, along with my Papa Bear perched in the back, roof open so we could see the last minute arrivals to the chapel – and meeting one car coming straight for us as my pals took a Thelma & Louise type wrong turn followed by a desperately executed U turn, hands trying to cover panicked faces – was one of the highlights of my day. I’d have relived the couple of moments I had at the door with just my dad as our nieces and nephews made their way into the church so happily, as my sisters followed side my side. How hearing the first chords of Tender and taking my dad’s arm made me just nearly lose it, until the spontaneous applause brought me right back to earth, in awe of all around, and then I saw my first peek of you up top of the aisle.
I’d have told everyone how much it meant that they joined us in tying ribbons around our apple tree, our memory tree, forever our wedding tree. How fun it was to see them in their coloured finery as they walked past. I’d have referred to the readings… how amazing did our friends and family do? My brother read Seamus Heaney like he wrote the words himself. Karoline managed to bring dinosaurs to life in her entertaining, hilarious recital. Osgur quoted Bob Marley like he knew what was up (don’t you think he needs his own radio show? Osgur, not Bob). Debs says the word ‘weird’ with more heart than anyone ever did before – a perfect matching. And then those words that were written just for us, remember? When my aunty Marion celebrated our love and our families with her beautiful reading, how she managed to include our love of travel? You would have thought she had months to write it! Then how about Lonsita and her exquisite prose on friendship? They blew us away. If she had gone with the Limerick it might have saved her emotion… but thankfully she went for sentiment and we can tease her about the tears forever.
I’d have referred to the music, specifically Trisha’s song; who knew she could make Queen of the May sound so current?! I’d have asked if you heard my mum’s intake of breath when she started to sing the first line? I’d have told you that I was so happy you were up for the surprise, how I loved that you wanted to make that as special for her as I did. And what about how gorgeous your mum looked? So stylish and elegant, wasn’t it such a proud moment to stand with them side by side, lighting our candles? I’d have thanked Henry for the candles, and the ribbons (even the tricolours), for all the running around he did for us… complete with new haircut selfies. I’d definitely have told you how happy it made me to see our different groups of friends click like long lost pals, finding common ground; sharing shots, dance-offs and sing-songs. How fun it was to see our families mingle and laugh like they were attending these events together forever. How cool it would be if they were around all the time… same time next year, maybe?
So I’m sorry that I didn’t say anything on the day, Special Gentleman. You see I was so fully loving every moment and holding your hand all the while (I was warned you never see your husband on your wedding day – that’s why you gained an unexpected shadow) that I don’t think I ever would have remembered to remove myself. And sure, you know me… once I get started I tend to go on a bit. I might have eaten into the time for the other speeches: my Papa’s beautiful speech that made us laugh and cry, that I will never forget, that so eloquently honoured those important people in our lives – and what about that cake? With the tin chapel on top? Best surprise ever!; your dad’s sweet words that he so gently delivered, as only he can – and the clarification that Irene, Rene and Red were in fact the same person!; Best Man ‘number 2’ – the childhood years – whose surprise performance made us all laugh so hard it hurt and reminded us where your slightly horizontal living style started (‘every day’s a Saturday’); and Best Man ‘number 1’ – the travel years – who must have been prepping those crackin’ lines for weeks and whose props were nothing short of genius… the mascara was well and truly off by the time we toasted. And sure, if I was worried that you wouldn’t get a look in, I needn’t have been. All four of those men celebrated you, Special Gentleman, in a way I never could have. I’m so grateful to have them all in our lives and for them making it all so memorable and hilarious (we should really have them ’round more…).
There’s lots more to discuss but sure we have years to do that, don’t we? And now I’m thinking about not posting this, feeling a bit wary of public love letters. But then I remember the world we live in, the time we live in, the public acts of hate that cause so much hurt, that make us crave exactly the opposite. It reminded me that love is a gift that should be celebrated. I will celebrate your love every day (so long as you remember the green tea every morning).
Here’s to every day being a Saturday…
Love Always, Your Wife xxx