Our Wedding Day – Part 1

It was finally our wedding day – 23rd May 2009. My alarm went off at 5:30am. Sounds early I know. As we were getting married at the Registry Office, the latest ceremony they would perform was 11:30am and so that was the time we chose. As there were so many people staying at my parents the night before the wedding, I had to be the first up and in the one and only bathroom before anyone else, to make sure that I wasn’t delayed waiting for someone else to finish in the bathroom. I immediately got in the shower and then went to get some breakfast. I didn’t feel much like eating as I was feeling nervous and excited all at the same time.

I was doing my own makeup and I had a friend who was a hairdresser coming to do my hair. I also had to go and pick up the flowers when the florist opened at 9am. It was all go.

My makeup was first on my list as this needed to be done before the hairdresser turned up and she was due at 8:30am. I was sat in the kitchen with a flurry of activity going on around me with people trying to get ready. Suddenly out of nowhere, we heard this loud bang, clatter and shouting. It took a few minutes to figure out what was going on. It turned out that Pete’s step dad had slipped in the shower, tried to break his fall by grabbing the shower curtain and had fallen head first out of the bath taking the whole shower rail with him. I was laughing so hard I was crying……I ended up having to redo my makeup as I had smudged it all. Luckily he wasn’t hurt.

Next came my hair which for the first time in my life was actually behaving itself and was finished in no time at all. We fitted my tiara and veil and I was ready to go and collect my flowers. My oldest sister had come round during all of the madness, with my youngest niece who was going to be a flower girl, and she came with me to pick the flowers up. I certainly got a few stares as I was driving and running up and down the high street in jeans, a vest top, a full face of makeup, a tiara and a veil. I remember feeling like a right idiot ha ha ha.

We got the flowers home and then my sister and my dad took off to the reception venue to drop off the wedding cake and check on the decorations. During this time I dressed my nephew and niece in their page boy and flower girl clothes. They looked absolutely adorable.

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The photographer, who was also a work colleague and friend arrived amidst the madness and started taking some pictures.

When my sister and dad got back it was time to put on my dress. My sister came upstairs to help me whilst my mum and dad looked after my niece and nephew and Pete’s mum and step dad made their way to the Registry Office.

Whilst starting to get in my dress I heard the front door open and close. I went downstairs to find out who it was and found the photographer looking after my niece and nephew and my mum and dad were nowhere to be seen. When I asked where they were, the photographer informed me that my other sister had called with an emergency and so my mum and dad had rushed off to find out what was wrong. Luckily the photographer was kind enough to help look after the little ones whilst I finished getting into my dress and my mum and dad were back pretty quickly to take over again. It turned out my other sister was having a hair disaster and needed help. To say I wasn’t impressed was an understatement but I was determined not to let anything upset me that day. I then added the finishing touch….my wedding present from Pete – a Blue Tanzanite and Diamond necklace…..my something new and my something blue.

We had a little time to spare and so my mum asked if we wanted some pink champagne that she had been given as a gift. I’m not a wine or champagne drinker normally but I was a little nervous and so we agreed. Needless to say, we all had a couple of mouthfuls and then tipped it down the sink. It was disgusting ha ha ha. My dad soon replaced my glass with a neat brandy…..I could have kissed him. I drank 2 of those and then it was time to take a few more pictures before heading off to get married. It was strange standing on the street and having people come out of their houses just to have a look at my wedding dress.

Then it was time……..my dad and I got into the car and off we went…….

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1 Week To Go…

I finished work on the 15th of May 2009 for 2 weeks. That gave me a week before the wedding and a week after. We had a lot going on in those 2 weeks. Getting the keys to our military married quarters, meeting and greeting family coming from all over the UK and France, tying up the last little bits for the wedding, the actual wedding and moving house. Unfortunately, we couldn’t fit a honeymoon in at that point and so we agreed to save for a while and have a really special honeymoon at a later date.

We drove to RAF Cranwell on Monday the 18th of May 2009 to get the keys to our new house. It was a 2 bedroomed house on a street near the camp and it was mixed military and civilian. This was our first experience with military housing and so we didn’t know what to expect. I have to say that we were pleasantly surprised at the room proportions and the size of the garden. It wasn’t massive but it was bigger than we were expecting. I remember thinking ‘thank god we asked for gift vouchers for wedding gifts so that we could buy more furniture as there was no way our sparse furniture from the flat would fill the house’.

I had only seen the RAF Cranwell once before and it was a short visit at night and so couldn’t really appreciate what I was seeing. I didn’t really know what to expect but the one thing that stood out to me was the massive College Hall Officers’ Mess (CHOM). It was one of the most impressive buildings I had ever seen.

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We hired a van and started moving our furniture etc. to the new house over the course of the week. The flat got steadily emptier until we literally only had the bare minimum left. We were due to officially move in on Monday the 25th of May, 2 days after the wedding.

On Wednesday the 20th of May 2009, Pete’s mum and stepdad flew over from France and came to stay at my parents house for the wedding. We collected them from East Midlands Airport and from there, we drove to our new house to show them around.

The rest of our families arrived over the course of the next couple of days and we spent our time driving round and spending time with them all in between last minute wedding preparations. Manic is a polite way of describing it. The night before the wedding we spent time with Pete’s brothers at their hotel. This was the same hotel we had booked to spend our wedding night and the night after in and so it was very convenient. Pete was spending the night there and would be getting ready with his brothers in the morning and I was due to spend the night at my parents. There were a lot of people staying at my parents that night and so I ended up sleeping on an air bed in the living room with my 5 year old nephew Tyla. I have never known a child so small that could take up so much space….starfish is not the word for what he was doing to take up so much space!! He seemed to sleep well though ha ha.

Together Again

I would like to say we slipped back into life as a couple easily again…..like Pete had never been away, but things are never that simple. We had been living apart for months and this created some awkwardness when it came to sharing the same space again. It was the simple things that seemed so strange – sharing the bed with someone, fighting for the bathroom, arguing over what to watch on television etc. I had been so used to doing it all my own way again and suddenly Pete was back and I had to consider him in my routine.

I have to be honest and say it’s a completely different experience than when you first start dating someone and they integrate slowly in to your life and so it’s a natural transition. Imagine getting into a relationship with someone and having them move in straight away and then trying to figure out the logistics around it whilst getting to know them. That’s more like the experience that we had. Obviously we knew each other well but it was an immediate full intrusion and involved a lot of compromising from both of us to make things run smoothly again. We got there eventually though even if it wasn’t plain sailing.

The other thing that I found strange was including Pete in the wedding planning. I know how odd that must sound but whilst he was away, he was happy for me to make all of the decisions. There were a couple of occasions after Pete got home that I went to make decisions and then remembered he was home again and I needed to check with him. Luckily for me, Pete and I seemed to want the same things. Very little fuss – quite a small ceremony at the Registry Office followed by an afternoon meal for family and an evening reception for our family and close friends. The last few weeks before the wedding were hectic and we had a number of last minute issues to contend with such as the DJ for the evening reception was uncontactable in the 3 weeks beforehand and left me in a panic. We decided on a few last minute additions such as cars and a professional photographer which we hadn’t wanted originally. I also decided that I wanted to be hands on with some of the decorations and I hand made all of the place cards and wedding favours. My sister was making my wedding cake and I decided to help her make all of the flowers to decorate it with. They were all hand made too and edible. Don’t ask me what madness made me take that on just before the wedding. Luckily it turned out well for the first time I had done anything like that and I was pleased. The wedding was all set and we had the dates set for collecting the keys to our new married quarters at RAF Cranwell and a date to move in. Now we just had to get ready for the wedding and the move……….place-cardswedding-cake

Coming Home

Firstly, let me apologise for the big gap between this post and my last. I have been dealing with some personal issues and so this has prevented me from posting. I am back now though and will continue with my posts.

The months that Pete had been gone seemed to drag and fly by all at the same time. I know that is a complete contradiction but let me explain. There were times when I was so busy trying to manage everything that the time just seemed to pass by in a blur. Aside from work and juggling all of our personal business, I felt like there weren’t enough hours in the day. Then at other times, it felt like Pete had been gone for years, not months. Although I had my routine and was extremely busy, I felt so alone. Pete wasn’t there to turn to if I needed anything and so I felt like I was single again. Obviously not in the relationship aspect, but in the emotional one, it was a very strange and unsettling feeling.

In the run up to Pete coming home I found I had a mix of emotions going on. The weirdest one was feeling angry at Pete. Every time I spoke to him and he told me that he was bored or he was just following the same old routine, I found that I got more and more angry at him. I know how that sounds but in my head, all I could think was ‘here I am struggling to get everything done and keep everything going smoothly for the wedding and you’re telling me you’re bored!!’ I was aware of how stupid that was and that it wasn’t Pete’s fault but I couldn’t help feeling that way. It’s ok for the person going away….they just focus on what they are going to do. It’s the person left behind that has to pick up all the loose ends and keep everything going and I think people tend to forget that. Every time I spoke to our families or friends, people asked how Pete was but no one asked how I was or how I was coping. That just made me more angry. The other overriding feeling and emotion was nerves and anxiety. I love Pete with all my heart but we had been apart from each other for months and he hadn’t featured in my routine for that whole time. It was strange thinking about him coming home and fitting back in to my life again. I didnt know what to expect. You hear so many stories about people going away on deployment and coming back different because of their experiences and I couldn’t stop the nervous feeling that things would have changed. It was very uncomfortable.

In the week before Pete came home I was so anxious, but also so excited, that I actually made myself ill. I couldn’t eat or sleep properly. I kept trying to picture what it would be like. Even through my nerves I had this excited image in my head that when he got home, he would run to me, pull me into his arms and swing me around…..like something from a movie. The reality was very different. I met him at the curb as his car pulled up and we kind of looked at each other for a moment and then followed it up with a very stiff hug……awkward!!! It turns out that he had been worried about the same thing as I had which led to a very weird reunion ha ha ha. Needless to say, through all of it, I was so glad to have him home again.

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Relying on Family

About 10 weeks into Pete’s deployment, I received an unexpected phone call. It was from one of Pete’s colleagues at RAF Cranwell. He said he just wanted to check how I was doing and wondered if I was free for him to pop over for a coffee one morning the following week. As surprised as I was, I thought it was really nice of him to check on me whilst Pete was away. I had met him a few times before and so had no issues with this. He came over the following week and we just sat and had a chat about how I was coping whilst Pete was away and if I had any questions or anything. He also told me a little about his experiences with his wife when he had been deployed and I was slightly relieved to realise that it wasn’t just me going through these emotions and it was actually quite normal. Not a nice experience but normal.

Pete and I continued to argue on the phone until one day we decided that maybe talking so often wasn’t working anymore as it led to the arguments when we couldn’t think of anything to say. Instead, we discussed it and decided that we would talk on the phone once a week as we would be more likely to have something to discuss and that we would email in between if and when the internet connection was working in the Falklands. This seemed to work really well for us from then on.

Christmas was fast approaching by this point and I started to feel more alone than ever. I celebrated with my team at work (see pic below) and I was spending the day with my family, but it was hard knowing that Pete was on his own and not celebrating. I spent most of Christmas day worrying whether he was ok and then feeling guilty if I was having a good time. I got to speak to him though which was great.

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By now I had my routine down to a fine art and was managing everything without constantly flapping that I had forgotten something. I calculated the bills and did the budgets for the wedding at the beginning of the month and knew what we were paying out and when it left the accounts etc. So you can imagine my shock when £250 disappeared from Pete’s account between Christmas and New Year. I could see that it was to a company that Pete had making loan repayments to from before we had gotten together, but for some reason the payment was more than double the normal instalment amount. It was at this point that I realised that we hadn’t contacted this company to give me access and so I couldn’t call them. It’s typical that the one thing you forget is the one thing you need. I also didn’t have any way of contacting Pete and would have to wait for a week until he called again. Unfortunately I hadn’t budgeted for the extra money and so this left me in a very awkward position. I had enough money to cover the monthly bills and wedding outgoings etc (just), but not enough for the weeks shopping. I ended up strategically turning up at my parents house at dinner time so that I didn’t need to do any shopping ha ha ha. I just thank my lucky stars that I still lived near them as if we had moved by that point, I would have been stuck without family or friends to turn to. Pete and I both got paid just before New Year and so I only had to keep this up for a week. Pete called a few days later and we discussed it and realised that it was the final instalment and was actually a balloon payment where you pay more than the monthly instalment. Pete hadn’t realised it was the end of the loan agreement term and so we hadn’t accounted for it. He felt so guilty that he had put me in that position and it didn’t matter how many times I told him it wasn’t his fault, he still blamed himself. It was really hard to deal with that when you can’t physically make someone feel that it’s not their fault and you only have a limited amount of time on the phone. The worst part was realising that I didn’t know how to get hold of him if there was an emergency at home. I felt helpless. It’s not a nice feeling…….

All Alone

The first couple of days after Pete left were horrendous. I had no contact with him, which I had expected, but it actually felt like he had left me. I couldn’t see him, feel him, speak to him……it was the worst feeling. I knew he was just travelling….it takes a long time to get to the Falklands. I think that made it worse though. Knowing he was flying for that length of time and having to wait for so long to find out if he had arrived safely.

I cant remember exactly how long it was before I heard from him. It was 3 or 4 days I think. He called me to let me know he had arrived and was getting settled in and finding out what he would be doing during his deployment. He had enquired about communication facilities and was told that they did have internet access but that it was very unreliable and that they received a phone card each week that had a certain number of free minutes that they could use to call home. We discussed it and decided that he would call every other day for a few minutes at a time and he would email in between if the internet was working. This seemed like the best set up as then it wouldn’t seem like he was away if we could talk regularly.

The first week or two was the hardest. Trying to adjust to being on your own is harder than you realise. It’s not like being single again where you only have yourself to consider. You still have a partner/spouse and they have to be considered when making decisions etc. You also have to maintain the way of life that you have when they are home, only it was now my responsibility to do it all on my own. I only lived 20 minutes from my parents and sisters and so I could always jump in the car and drive over there when I got a bit lonely. It was the evenings that were the worst though. Locking the front door and everything was just so quiet. It was at this point that I realised what a comfort having the cats was. They were always on hand to snuggle up with and if I was feeling low, they seemed to know somehow and tried to make it better. They were my life line.

It was nice hearing from Pete every other day and we got into a steady routine after the first couple of weeks. He would call and tell me what he had been doing and I would fill him in on wedding plans and my days in general. It seemed we had found a way to make it work for us……..then everything started to change. It happened slowly so we didn’t realise it at first. Pete would call and we would chat but then the silences started creeping in. We found we didn’t have anything to say to each other. I know that sounds awful but let me explain……..the Falklands is a very quiet place with nothing to do and nowhere to go. There are only so many phone calls that you can go over doing the same thing day in, day out before it just becomes an ‘oh I did the usual today’ and you can’t think of anything else to say. Then from my side of the conversation I was following a routine just to get through the day and make sure everything was done and that I kept on top of everything. This meant I had nothing new to add either. Occasionally I had a wedding detail to go over but not during every conversation. To start with, the silences were quite companionable. We were quite comfortable just knowing we were on the phone to each other. The silences then started to become drawn out and awkward. Then the inevitable happened in this situation…….we started to argue. It wasn’t about anything in particular and we were both guilty of starting it. I can’t tell you what Pete must have been thinking after these conversations as I wasn’t in his shoes but I can tell you how I felt. There were times when I sat and cried. Firstly, it was from guilt over spending the few minutes we had arguing when he was so far away. Then it was the doubts creeping in……I don’t think there is a Military partner or spouse who hasn’t felt this when their other half is deployed or away. I asked myself over and over again…..’oh my god, is he realising he prefers being single now that he is living a single life over there?’ and ‘what if he doesn’t want to come back after all this arguing?’ I couldn’t help it. Every time I worked on wedding plans, I always had in the back of my mind…….’am I doing all this for him to say he doesn’t want it anymore?’ We did talk about it on the phone but how much can you really discuss in a few minutes every other day. It wasn’t easy…..

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Preparing to go

So you may think that being deployed just means that they pack up and go for however many months but there is so much more to it than that. Then throw wedding planning into the mix and you have a nightmare in the making.

There are a number of things that need to be done from the Military Personnels point of view. There is paperwork, vaccinations, making sure all training is in date, preparing equipment etc. etc.

Now let me tell you about how it affects the partner/spouse left behind. You are the one still at home and you still have your normal daily routine to go through. I had a full time job and the 2 cats too. Then suddenly your partner/spouse is disappearing for 4 months (in this instance) and you have to take over responsibility for everything they would normally do too. At this point, I had no actual experience with anyone from the military as I didn’t yet live on camp or have any friends in the military or their families either. This meant I was completely blind about what we were and weren’t entitled to or what we needed to do. It was only by accident when dealing with an issue with the land line provider that it occured to me that I would need access to all of Pete’s accounts and service providers whilst he was away so that I could deal with any issues that arose. Under the Data Protection Act, I would be unable to access any of this without Pete giving me express permission with the company to do so. I don’t think you realise how many companies you have dealings with until you come up against something like this. We sat and made a list and there were about 15 to 20 companies that Pete needed to contact individually to give me permission to do anything on his behalf. Let me tell you….some of these companies can be bloody awkward when they don’t understand why they won’t be able to speak to the account holder for 4 months. It took forever to sort out. Then there are other things to consider, such as money. We didn’t have joint accounts at this point and so working out how much money we would need to transfer between accounts and how each of us would access the money was fun…….not! It would have been simpler if we hadn’t been planning the wedding but we were paying for everything ourselves and so I needed access to funds for some of the payments.

Then on top of all of this, you have to think about the length of time that you wont see your partner/spouse for. It’s not just the term of the deployment – they also have pre-deployment training which varies in length depending on trade, what post they are going to be filling, where they are going etc. Pete’s was a few weeks for this deployment plus the 4 months that he would be away. I also discovered that because it was a 4 month deployment, he wouldn’t get a 2 weeks ‘R&R’ period. This is usually where the Military Personnel can come home for a 2 week period during their deployment for some rest. This is only available on deployments of 6 months or more. I can’t even begin to explain how upset I was. Not only was I going to miss him and be very lonely and shoulder all the responsibility for keeping things running whilst he was gone, I was also terrified of having to plan this wedding on my own and the possibility of getting something wrong. We did discuss it beforehand but there is only so much we could cover in a conversation like that. It’s only later on that you see how much of the little details we never actually spoke about.

We also discussed contact whilst he was out in the Falklands and he said that he would contact me at every available opportunity. We had no idea what communication methods he would have over in the Falklands so he said he would check it all out when he got there and then contact me as soon as he could.

The last few weeks before he deployed were the worst. We had done everything we thought we needed to but then there is all the double checking of his equipment and uniform etc. Then there was the anticipation in the run up to him actually leaving. I tried to put on a brave face and pretend that everything was fine but the closer it got, the harder it became. For the last couple of weeks before he left, I barely slept and could hardly eat. I know how ridiculous that sounds but when it’s the first time you have had to go through it firsthand, it’s really hard to cope with all of the new emotions and responsibilities that go along with it.

The morning he left I was up early trying to keep myself busy so I didn’t think about it. Everytime my mind went back to the fact that he was leaving me, I ended up in floods of tears. As the clock ticked on and the time was approaching I actually felt physically sick. I’m not a clingy person as I’ve said before but 4 months is a long time to be without someone. We carried his kit down to the car and got everything loaded up and then it was here….it was time for him to get in his car and drive away from me. That was the hardest goodbye I have ever been through in my entire life. We said our goodbyes and he drove away……….I was completely and utterly heartbroken!

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Wedding Planning

Life couldn’t have been more perfect for a while after that. We had our little family and Ivory and Frisbee were turning out to be the best of friends. Ivory was a proper little mother hen. She took it upon herself to make sure Fris had whatever he wanted. She was always bringing him toys, rolling around with him and giving him a bath. It was beautiful to see.

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I wouldn’t say that life was easy being with someone in the military. Whenever Pete had a shift, he was away from home. If work called him, he had to go. It was never a choice, he had to do it. I think I found that the most difficult. Feeling like we didn’t have any control over our lives. In the military, you are technically paid 24 hours a day, although it only works out at a couple of pounds an hour. This means that they can call on you at any time, day or night. They can also cancel leave when the need arose and so planning anything was always done with it in the back of your mind that it may never happen. The worst thing was trying to book a holiday abroad. Although the experience is always exciting….I mean who doesn’t love a holiday……we had to make sure we took out travel insurance that also covered military personnel that had leave cancelled. That could be expensive when added to my medical condition. Everything was always just that little bit more difficult and it really stressed me out sometimes. I remember that we used to have petty little arguments because I would get mad over Pete having to be away. I was never mad at Pete, just the situation but as we all know, in the heat of the moment, things don’t always come out right and Pete felt like I was blaming him. I can guarantee that this has happened between every couple where one or both of them are military. It’s unavoidable. There was never any question that we would get through it though. You stick together no matter what is thrown at you.

With this in mind, we got to talking about the wedding and the future. We talked about what we wanted to do after we were married and after a lot of discussion, we decided that I would move with Pete into military housing. Although this meant that I would potentially have to look for new jobs whenever we were posted, it was worth it so that Pete could come home after every shift. I wont lie though. This was a hard decision for me as I am fiercely independent and had worked hard at my career to get to the level I was at and I enjoyed it. The thought of having to give up my job and career made me feel very sad and at some points very sick. It wasn’t really a choice though. On balance, being with Pete and having a happy, healthy home life was just more important.

Knowing what we now wanted to do, we set a date for the wedding for the 23rd of May 2009. We started to plan the wedding. Our first disagreement was over the fact that I didn’t want to wear a wedding dress. I am the biggest tom boy going and only tend to wear dresses when I am going out for a night out. The thought of wearing a big, white, girly dress just didn’t impress me. Pete was adamant that I couldn’t wear a white suit instead though so I had to suck it up and buy a dress. The normal wedding dress shopping consists of you going to a bridal shop and trying on dresses with friends or family and picking one that you fall in love with. My experience, however; was very different. I sat on my computer at home, looked at online catalogues, saw one that was the least girly and went….’I’ll have that one then’ and ordered it for the bargain price of £150. Not exactly a bonding experience…..although I did have both Ivory and Fris cuddled up with me so I guess I bonded with them ha ha ha.

Pete came home from work a few days later and explained that he had been having a chat with his boss and there had been word that some people were being dipped for deployments soon. This meant that they were being sent abroad for 4-6 months to do a tour of duty and it could be anywhere of the military’s choosing. The panic immediately set in. What if they sent him away over the date of the wedding? I don’t want him to go away for so long! What if they send him to Afghanistan? Pete explained that he had sat down with his boss to discuss it and he had suggested that Pete volunteer for a deployment rather than wait to be dipped. Although it still meant him being away, it was more likely that he would be sent very soon and then he would be back for the wedding. I still wasn’t happy but knew it was our best option. The next day, Pete submitted the paperwork to volunteer and we went back to planning the wedding.

Pete decided he would like to get married in his ‘Number 1 uniform’ and asked both of his brothers if they would be his best men. We had booked the Registry Office in Doncaster for the wedding as neither of us are religious and so didn’t want a church. We gave notice of our intention to marry and started planning the main parts of the wedding.

A couple of weeks later Pete came home from work and sat me down…….it had happened……he was being deployed. My heart dropped through the floor. He was being sent to the Falklands for 4 months and would make it back a few weeks before the wedding. Although this was the best we could have hoped for, it was still a huge shock as this was his first deployment.

The amount of times I have heard the following statement over the years is unbelievable ‘Well you knew what you were getting into when you got together/married him.’ I swear, sometimes I could hit people for that. Yes all military spouses are aware of this but it doesn’t make it any easier or hurt any less!! We all know that one day people are going to die…..it doesn’t change how you feel when it happens!! And no I’m not likening a deployment to death. It’s just a metaphor.

I was absolutely gutted and terrified!!

 

Our New Addition

Not long after we got engaged, Pete and I were driving through Doncaster and just happened to pass the local RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals). I asked him if we could stop and take a look around. Pete was dead set against it but after some coaxing, that absolutely did not involve me sulking, stamping my feet and generally throwing a hissy fit, Pete changed his mind and in we went.

We were only there to have a general look around but after a walk through the cat section, we came across the most beautiful three kittens. Two of them were black and the third was a tortoise shell. It was at this point that I fell madly in love with the absolutely gorgeous little black male kitten that was rubbing up against the window and meowing at me. The sign on the front said his name was Tyrone. Pete knew what was coming next and tried to make a quick exit. Unfortunately for him I was too cunning for that and immediately set about using my feminine wiles to gently persuade him to take this little bundle of fluff home with us. He didn’t take long to change from an outright ‘no’ to an ‘I’ll think about it’ and so I took this to mean yes and went to start the adoption process. We could collect him in two weeks time.

During those two weeks, I set about getting everything that he would need and getting him registered at the vets and putting insurance in place for him etc. The only thing we couldn’t agree on was his name. We knew that we didn’t want to call him Tyrone but couldn’t think of a name we liked. We went to the drive through at KFC the day before collecting him and then sat in the car park eating our food and debating different names. All of a sudden it came to me……..I knew exactly what I wanted to call him and just hoped that Pete would agree with me too. It was tough luck if he didn’t but luckily he did.

We collected the kitten the following day and brought him home to meet his new big sister Ivory. She was a little nervous of this little black bundle of fur but they were soon getting to know each other and we could see that they were going to be close when Ivory let him snuggle into her and go to sleep. And thus, we went from a family of three to a family of four. World………meet my wonderful little boy……… Frisbee!!

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Telling the World

Pete and I had been together for about 4 months when we decided it would be a good idea to tell our parents. We hadn’t said anything as we wanted to make sure it was going to work out before we ‘went public’ as it were. The last thing we wanted was to affect the friendship between our parents if it didn’t last.

I remember thinking about how I was going to tell my parents. I told my mum first as I thought that if she was ok with it, she would help me tell my dad. My mum and I were sat at her house one afternoon and I had been practicing how I was going to tell her but I couldn’t seem to get the words out……suddenly I just blurted it out!! Absolutely no finesse….just said it as it was. I could have kicked myself. My mum went completely silent and I held my breath thinking she was going to hit the roof. What did she say? “We always knew there was something between you two” and she went back to watching tv. I think I nearly passed out from lack of oxygen and relief ha ha.

Telling my dad was the worst. I don’t know why but I had it in my head that he was going to be furious about it because he wouldn’t want it to ruin his friendship with Pete’s family. I got myself in such a state when I was sat with him and my mum that I ended up just bursting into tears and shouting it at him. He kind of just sat there trying to figure out what I’d said, why I had suddenly shouted at him and why I was blubbing like a complete baby. I wish I could have watched the scene from the outside. It would have been hilarious. When dad had recovered from his initial shock of being yelled at he looked at me and asked me why I was crying about it. I couldn’t answer and he burst out laughing. He wasn’t phased at all. I couldn’t believe it.

Telling Pete’s family was completely different. With Pete being away it was up to me but I couldn’t do it face to face as his mum was in France. She was chatting to my dad on MSN one day when I had a lightbulb moment. I siddled up to my dad and simply said “daddy” in that way a daughter does when she wants something. He eyeballed me and asked what I was after. I passed the book and asked him to tell Pete’s mum whilst he was talking to her. Lucky for me he didn’t have an issue with it and when he told her, she was very happy for us. I can’t tell you how much better I felt after that.

From that point onwards, it was pretty much all systems go for us. Pete spent most of his spare time with me at my flat. He was selling the house that he still owned with his ex-partner and so he was back and forth to their old house quite a bit sorting out paperwork etc. I think he ended up moving in with me without us really discussing it. It just kind of happened.

It was at this point that Pete and Ivory developed a love/hate relationship. They loved to hate each other. Pete stopped Ivory from sleeping in the bed with us and Ivory took to sitting right next to his ear purring noisily or washing herself so that it would irritate him. As she is deaf, Ivory makes noises a lot louder than a normal cat and they can be very distracting and in some instances, downright disgusting. It was hilarious to watch them bond as daddy and daughter over their mutual dislike of each other. Pete likes to pretend that they still don’t like each other but I have arrived home unexpectedly before now and found them snuggled together on the sofa.

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Pete passed out of his trade training and was posted to RAF Cranwell in April 2008. He lived in the block when on shift and came home when he wasn’t working.

I think we had been together just over 7 months when we got engaged. It doesn’t sound like long but we were both absolutely certain about it so there was no point in waiting. Pete bought me a beautiful white gold and diamond engagement ring. We didn’t hesitate to tell anyone our news this time and they were all excited.