February 29, 2016

Confessions from a Leap Year proposee

Posted in February tagged , at 2:41 pm by viewfromthisdesk

Two leap years, eight calendar years ago I became one of those desperate women that was fed up of waiting for tradition and popped the question to my then boyfriend.

And I had been more than patient.  Honestly I had.  We’d been together nearly eleven years by this point.  Eleven long years.  Of which half had been wondering if and when he might ask me.  Birthdays, Christmas, Valentines, our Anniversary and holidays were all spent hoping, wishing, waiting.  I was the absolute definition of pathetic.

It’s not as if marriage hadn’t been discussed.  It wasn’t a subject that we were pretending didn’t exist.  On my 18th birthday, when we’d been together just four months, he gave me a ring.  A gorgeous gold band of eternity type promise.  He said that it wasn’t an engagement ring but a commitment ring.  One that would be ‘upgraded’ when I finished my degree.

Except I didn’t finish my degree in the conventional fashion.  I left university early, returned back and set up home with him.  Friends and relations got engaged and then married around the time that he had said would be for us.  Radio Silence.  I finished my degree with the Open University, on my graduation day I was proud of what I achieved and secretly waited for that magical moment.  It didn’t come before the graduation ceremony, nor over lunch with our immediate family or during the meal that weekend with the rest of our family.

I wondered what was wrong with me, why he didn’t see forever with me.  He was happy for me to be cook, cleaner and candle-stick maker on a daily basis, he said he had no intention of seeking a life elsewhere and yet he didn’t want to make it official.  The more people asked or pushed, the more silent and annoyed he became with the subject.  So we all shut up.  And waited.

More radio silence.

Eleven years is a long time to wait and question what is wrong with oneself.  It was utterly soul destroying and there was nothing I could do about it.  Until February 2008.  I’m a traditional girl at heart, I wanted it to be proper, I wanted the fairytale with shooting stars, rose petals, a nice speech.  I wasn’t wanting a flash mob dance or fireworks spelling it out in the sky or anything more than a nice dinner.  Whichever way it was still a foolish notion.

And then we were on holiday for leap years day and just prior to going away a friend said ‘so are you going to ask him then?’  Bizarrely, it had never occurred to me.  Some time in the previous past had been a television programme on ITV where women proposed to men on live tv and then show number two was whether he sais yes or not and then the marriage, there and then.  He had said (whilst he endured this programme) that if I ever did that to him, he would say no and walk away.  He didn’t want to be embarrassed.   Five minutes before ‘doing the deed’ I suddenly remembered this tv programme.  Panic.

People will say I have my fairytale now, I have my happy ever after.  I asked, he said yes, fairy dust was sprinkled, everyone has perfect skin and Disney-style smiles.  But I do wonder if I did the right thing.  Should I have asked?  Where would my life be now if I hadn’t?  Hubby freely admits when asked (by others) that he would never have asked me, it wasn’t something he’d considered getting around to.  It wasn’t on his radar of things to do.

Today should be a day of celebration, of positive memories and giggles.  Instead, this day comes around and I dwell on the regret, the questioning – should I have done it?

It isn’t helping that we’re both ill today.  He’s getting over a chest infection and I think I’m at the beginning of it.  I’ve been ill with some flu-cold-lurgy thing for three weeks now and it just isn’t abating.  Maybe I’m feeling down about looking back because I can’t breathe, sleep, eat, move.  We were going to go out for a meal tonight at some new place we’ve both been wanting to try since it opened and we’ve had to cancel our booking.  If he remembers, I guess we’ll be toasting our anniversary with lemsips tonight.

At the last leap year, I said something on facebook along the lines of ‘don’t do it if you can’t live with the disappointment of not getting the fairytale.’  I think I still stand by that.  I may be a strong, independent, modern woman but just once it would have been nice to have been floored by tradition.