By Charlotte Colehan
Nine years, constant adventures, three degrees, ever-changing countries, countless train journeys, innumerable hangovers, one wedding and (nearly) two babies. I am sure I will be saying the same thing in the same patronising tones about this next phase of my life in another decade, but I feel as though we were mere children when we met, unrecognisable from the people we are today. We have grown, traveled, studied, suffered, sulked, shouted, lived and loved together for the best part of a decade, and oh how we’ve changed:
Before: Embarrassing to admit, but there was a time when he would pop off to the bathroom upon waking, while I still ‘peacefully slumbered’. As soon as that lock clicked, I would leap out of bed, grab my tiny compact mirror and make up bag, slap on a big squeeze of foundation that definitely did not match my skin tone, drag my fingers through my hair, frantically destroy a stick of chewing gum, and sink back into the pillows in a carefully choreographed snoozing pose designed to show off my best side. Close eyes. Don’t forget to pout.
Now: The trick of pretending to be asleep is still going strong, but is now employed simultaneously by us both, as we try to ignore the escalating shouts of “mummmmmy, dadddddddy” from across the corridor (or, more often, from precisely six inches away). Whichever one of us caves first (and its pretty even, I have to admit), wearily drags themselves out of bed, fumbles around for their glasses, slaps a bit of toothpaste somewhere near their mouth, manhandles the little hurricane downstairs for breakfast, and starts to consume inhuman quantities of coffee, affording the other a precious extra hour of unconsciousness. It’s safe to say that my best side got lost years ago. Don’t forget to yawn.
Before: Now, we’ve never really been the dinner and cinema type of daters, but dammit, we used to know how to have fun. There was always a justification for a quick pint, which inevitably turned into 36 each, followed by shots, dancing, late night kebabs, endless nonsensical conversations, ambitious adventure planning, the purchase of extortionately priced bacon and eggs from the only shop that was open at 4am, a happy destruction of the kitchen, collapsing into bed, and eventually the vaguely bleary comfort of shared hangover. 9am lectures never stood a chance.
Now: Recently, we had a triumphant moment of parenthood: our darling offspring was fast asleep, in her own bed, at 7.30pm. At 7.50pm, we had this conversation:
“You know, we could have one of those new herbal teas from the selection box.”
“Oooh, that’s a great idea. Shall we have a different one each so we can both try two flavours?”
“Yes! I can never decide which one I want, this is a win-win situation!”
“Why don’t we get into our pyjamas, then we can have our herbal teas in bed?”
“We could even watch Part Two of that aeroplane documentary on the tablet while we wait for the tea to cool down…”
“You’re a genius, this is the best evening ever!”
The party lives on.
Before: The official party line has always been that Valentine’s Day is a money-making commercial atrocity, not something that we feel the need to participate in to validate our relationship. Yet, each year as that rainy February day rolled around, there would always be flowers, a lovely meal, thoughtful card messages, and smug protests of “Oh, but I thought we agreed not to do Valentines this year – here’s your present too”.
Now: Valentines Day #9 went something like this: we both forgot to get cards, let alone presents (but I do have to admit that my morning cup of tea in bed is worth eight dozen roses). One of us (I forget which) texted the other at midday to say “Er, Happy Valentines Day. Please can you put my pants in the washing machine for me?” We ate a dinner so uninspiring that I have forgotten what it was, except that it featured raw cauliflower. Things were livened up a tad when I donned heavy duty rubber…to scoop human excrement out of the bath, while my darling husband bundled its grinning producer into the shower to be hosed down. When she was finally sanitary and unconscious, we collapsed into bed for a long night of deep, satisfying s…….leep.
Originally published on Life of the Bear’s Wife. Charlotte Colehan is a gardener, crafter, maker. baker. Project starter (and mostly finisher!), ambitious daydreamer, excessive tea drinker. Wife to Joe, mum to Molly and Finley. Keen camper, sun worshipper, beer gulper, terrible driver. A little bit of everything, including parenting, family adventures, and some haphazard thoughts on parenting and the good things in life. You can also find her on Instagram: @lifeofthebearswife