There was a point in my life where I truly believed I would never be happy again. Like I had missed my chance at a happy ending, like nothing would ever go my way again. I resigned myself to the fact that I would never have the life I had always dreamt of, because sometimes that’s just the way it’s got to be. I was a single mother to a beautiful little boy, and honestly asking someone to take that on felt like something I’d never be able to do.
And then there was you.
It crept up on me in a slow, subtle way. Messages from you made me laugh like I never had before, thinking of you gave me butterflies like no one else ever had. More and more time spent getting to know each other, learning about each other, but I never dared to let myself dream.
You lived a life that seemed so exciting to me, but so different from my own. It seemed ridiculous to me that you would want any part in my world. Your life of parties and friends, travelling and exciting plans, made my own life full of babies, nappies and snotty noses seem depressing. How could I ever expect you to compromise on so much, when I could offer so little in return.
The first time we kissed I felt electricity. It was intense and incredible, I wanted to run off with you into the sunset there and then.
But I couldn’t give you all of me.
I couldn’t become wrapped up in you and only you the way you deserved. And I so wanted to be able to give you that. To spend hours tangled up in each other, getting to know every inch of your soul. To stay up late with you; talking about our darkest secrets, learning about your deepest fears. But from the very beginning you have had to share me. To share my love, my time and my attention.
Neither of us knew what we were doing, neither of us knew how things ‘should’ be. We never expected this to happen, never imagined it would work out this way. Asking you to step into my world, introducing you to my son, opening up every one of my vulnerabilities. The thought terrified me.
I had nothing to be scared of though.
You were thrown in at the deep end, and you never once complained. You swapped luxury and excitement for play parks and family days out. You swapped intelligent adult conversation for Duplo, puzzles and games. Watching you immerse yourself in a world that was so normal to me, knowing how alien it was to you, made me love you so much more. Peeking through the gap in the door as you played and laughed, joining in with my son’s games, filled me with so much love and joy.
My son didn’t need another father, and I know replacing him was something you’ve never wanted to do. But you have become someone so special in his life. Someone to share good times with, play silly games with, someone to love and look up to with admiration and respect.
Your family accepted us as their own.
People I have grown to love and to care about, who love and care about my son more than I ever could’ve wished for. I adore the time we all spend together.
Sometimes the struggle to be both a good mother and a good partner is a tough one, and sometimes I don’t succeed. I have responsibilities, values and priorities that often seem to be at direct odds with our life together. Sometimes it feels like nothing is simple, everything is more difficult than its supposed to be.
I know it’s hard for you.
I know that this isn’t the way you imagined it would be. You’re supposed to meet someone and enjoy being frivolous and carefree. Travel the world, experiencing so many amazing things before becoming tied down by responsibility. I feel like I have taken something from you, the opportunity to enjoy those things with someone you love.
Sometimes I wish we had met years ago, or in another lifetime, so things could’ve gone differently. All my firsts, they could’ve been with you, and all I’ve learnt we could’ve learnt together. But that isn’t the way it was meant to be, and our pasts and our experiences have led us to each other here and now. I think that we have pushed on through the hard times because of who we are, because of what we have gone through, because we know this is something we both want to save.
As time has gone by, I can see how much you’ve changed.
I see how accepting you are, how hard you try, how much effort you make. Every day as I watch you my heart grows with love and with pride. You took on my life, you entered our world and you have made it such a better place.
It’s not always so easy, I’m not always so easy. I know our life has pushed you to limits you didn’t know you had, and there have been difficult days. Days I’ve spent wondering if we’ll ever get it all figured out. Days I’ve spent thinking we may never be able to create a life that makes us all happy, and meets all of our needs. It often feels like an impossible task, a never ending balancing act of priorities and emotions, but I am absolutely sure we will find our way through somehow.
You push me to be better, you help me to try harder, you allow me to achieve more. You pick up the slack when I am struggling, and you congratulate me when I succeed. You do so much for us, you give so much to both of us, you care and you love more than I ever knew someone could.
You have eased the burden on my shoulders, and you have shared in both my joy and my pain. Imagining our future together gives me butterflies; excitement and anticipation of taking the next step.
And every day I wonder, what did I do to get so lucky.
Photos by Christy-Leigh Photography