Second Chances

After our brief encounter, Pete and I didn’t speak again for another couple of years. I moved on with my life, enjoying my independence and freedom.

One of my work colleagues gifted me my very own kitten who had been named Tiger-Lily by her nephews. She was a beautiful little tortoise shell kitten and I referred to her just as Lily. She was very mischievious and if there was any trouble to cause, Lily would be at the centre of it. When she was old enough, I started introducing Lily to the outside world. As I lived in a first floor flat, I did it in stages to make sure Lily could find her way back. Then one day, about 6 weeks after I started letting her look around outside, I decided that it was time to trust her and let her venture further afield on her own. I can’t tell you how nervous and worried I was. I let her out of the door and left her to it. To my relief, about 2 hours later, she was back and ready for her dinner. The second time she went out on her own, I was a lot more relaxed about it…….unfortunately, I never saw Lily again. I was heartbroken and looked high and low for her. I knocked on doors, put up posters and notified the vets etc. but nothing resulted in her coming back. I swore I would never have another pet again.

About 6 months later, I was sat in my flat alone and realised how quiet and lonely it was without my little furry friend. I made a decision to get another cat. This time however; I was going to get one from the RSPCA as I wanted to give an animal a better life and I was determined to find a cat that was an indoor cat so I didn’t have to go through the pain of losing another pet in the way I lost Lily. When I arrived at the RSPCA there were at least 30 cats looking for homes. They ranged from tiny kittens, to older cats. It was quite overwhelming and I couldn’t decide what to do. One thing I did know though was that I didn’t want to make a healthy cat an indoor cat, as it would be unfair to limit it’s life to just our home for no reason.

Then right at the very end of the viewing area, I happened to spot a little white bundle of fur all snuggled up in a tight little ball. I asked a staff member about her and they told me her name was Ivory and she would have to be an indoor cat as she is albino and completely deaf. This meant that the outside world was very dangerous for her and they couldn’t believe she had survived as a stray for so long. They said she was about 2 years old and when she had been brought in, she was heavily pregnant. She had since had a litter of beautiful kittens that had all been rehomed. Sadly, no one wanted the responsibility of looking after Ivory. They also said that she didn’t tend to like it when people gawked at her and so she would just ignore them and go to sleep. At that exact moment, I kid you not, she opened her beautiful crystal blue eyes and looked right at me. She stretched and wandered over to the window and started meowing at me and rubbing up against the window. The staff member gasped and said she had never done that before. I knew right then and there that Ivory was mine and when they opened the window she came straight over and let me lift her up and I cuddled her to my chest and she snuggled in. I adopted her that day and arranged for to have her vaccinations and to be spayed and then I would collect her.

The day I picked her up, I was so excited. She bounded straight over to the window when she saw me and ran into the cat carrier, snuggled up and went to sleep. When they say you don’t choose your pets, they choose you, it couldn’t be a truer statement. Ivory had chosen me to be her human and I couldn’t have been happier. I took her home and she became my beautiful little princess. We did everything together. She even slept in my bed with me. I would curl up on my side with my knees bent up towards my chest and she would climb under the duvet and snuggle up against my tummy where she felt safe, as she could feel me breathing. She was my little furbaby.

During this time, Pete’s mum and stepdad decided that they were going to move to the South of France and buy some land and animals out there. I loved going over for visits and spent lots of time with the animals too.

A couple of years later, I was at home on my computer. Ivory was snuggled up on my knee asleep and I was chatting to my friend Richie on MSN (Messenger). All of a sudden, a message popped up from an unknown source. I normally ignore them if I don’t know the person but for some reason I chose to open the message. It was Pete! He explained that he had gotten my MSN address from his mum and he hoped I didn’t mind him contacting me. I had a fleeting thought at that moment that he was a cheeky sod for thinking he could drop off the face of the Earth and then just contact me out of the blue like nothing had happened……but then I grew up and got over it. I don’t hold grudges and so replied and said it was fine and asked how he was. Pete explained that since we had last spoken he had been in a relationship and bought a house with his partner but they weren’t getting on anymore. Then he made the life changing decision to join the Royal Air Force and his partner couldn’t accept it and so they had gone their separate ways and were selling the house. Pete apologised for the way we had left things previously and asked if he could visit one weekend to catch up. I thought that this was a nice idea and invited him to stay for the weekend in a couple of weeks when I had had the chance to prepare the spare room. I didn’t have visitors to stay very often and so I used the spare room as my office and storage room.

After the conversation was finished, I realised I was actually quite excited to see him. Even after our little fling, we still got on really well so I was looking forward to the company and a catch up. Pete was currently stationed down in Portsmouth doing his trade training and so would travel up after work on the Friday and would stay with me until Sunday when he would head back to Portsmouth. It was about 11:30pm when he eventually arrived at mine. He was exhausted after a long journey and so we had a snack and then went to bed. Let me just point out that he went to his own bed in the spare room, not mine. Ivory got into my bed with me ha ha.

We had a lovely weekend. We didn’t go out anywhere. We just relaxed, ordered take out food and chatted and watched movies and generally just got re-aquainted. I was sad when he left on the Sunday but we agreed that we would like to get together more regularly and arranged for him to visit again in a couple of weeks time. He visited every couple of weekends for a couple of months and we suddenly realised that we actually wanted to be more than just friends. We became a couple, although we didn’t tell anyone and from then on, he spent almost every weekend that he wasn’t working with me………he’s bloody lucky I believe in second chances huh……….

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Getting Together

So I’ve told you about how my husband and I know each other and now I want to tell you how we actually got together and became a couple. It might also help if I introduce him to you. My husbands name is Pete, although I have called him by many other names in the years we have been together, as I’m sure all married couples have done ha ha ha.

After my family and I moved to Doncaster, I didn’t actually see Pete again until we were about 10 years old I think. We happened to be attending the same party hosted by mutual friends of our families. I was dancing on the dance floor with one of my sisters and some other kids and he decided to come and join in. I say dancing…….it was probably more like some demented gymnastic routine involving knee slides and the such, but I thought I looked pretty damn cool at the time!! I still remember thinking to myself – ‘I wish that scrawny, annoying boy would go away’ but he didn’t. He just kept right on irritating me. He seemed to find some ultimate pleasure in really trying to wind me up. In the end, I gave up trying to avoid him and began plotting how to annoy him back. I’d like to say we ended up best friends, but I think we just became competitive and left the party annoyed to hell with each other.

I didn’t see him again until we were teenagers. His mum had decided to move north and settled in Withernsea near Hull. Pete didn’t come with her immediately. He lived down south with his brothers for a while first. When I passed my driving test and got my first car, I used to go to Withernsea regularly to visit his mum and also to see my Nan who also lived there too. Pete moved north a little while later and I’d sometimes see him in passing. We still kept trying our hardest to annoy each other.

In my late teens and early twenties, I had a couple of relationships that, as is normal, turned out to be with the wrong people. There were 2 in particular that stand out. One was with someone I met at my first job when I was 16. I thought I was in love with him and when I was 19, we bought our first home together.The relationship went sour within 6 months and we went our separate ways splitting the proceeds from the house sale equally.

Not long after this, I got together with a new partner. He was my boss at the time and I think I envied his ambition and independence. We got serious pretty quickly and I spent most of my time at his flat. A few months into the relationship, we got engaged.

Not long after this, Pete’s mum married his stepdad. They had been together for a long time but had finally decided to take the plunge. We attended the wedding and this was the first time that I had spent any proper time with Pete in a long time. So what did we talk about???? My car, that’s what!! That’s romance for you. I was driving a K-reg Ford Fiesta that I lovingly called Rusty. I was trying to sell the alloys as having them as a modification on my car made my insurance super expensive. Pete was interested and wanted to take a look. I had them in the boot of my car and so I took him to show them to him. We were only gone for maybe 20 minutes but that was the start of the decline of my relationship. My partner at the time didn’t like us talking to each other and was convinced we had been up to something when I took Pete to have a look at the alloys. I hasten to add, we hadn’t been doing anything except talking about the car and irritating each other as usual! It made the rest of the visit very unpleasant. It wasn’t too much longer after that, that my relationship ended and we went our separate ways.

After that, I decided I was going to assert my independence and prove that I could look after myself. I changed jobs, becoming a Team Leader for a company specialising in Financial Services (the picture is of one of my teams). I bought my own flat and I was enjoying life.

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On a visit to Pete’s mums a couple of years later, I bumped into Pete and we spent some time together. It was at this point that we had a brief fling. When I say brief….I mean like 2 occasions. We didn’t fall out or anything. Pete just stopped talking to me. Great start huh?!

Where it all began…

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When I was born, my Dad was still in the Army and he, my Mum and my two older sisters all lived in Army quarters. When you live a Military lifestyle, you meet new people wherever you go. Some you stay in touch with and some you don’t. That’s just the way it goes. My Mum and Dad stayed in touch with a particular family who had three boys. One of them was a few months older than me. My mum used to tell me that I used to fight with that little boy as he was always trying to steal my dolls on my bouncy chair (I always won of course!). I still have the baby card that the family sent when I was born.

baby-card

My Dad left the Army when I was still quite young and we settled in Doncaster near to my Mum’s family and that’s where I grew up for the majority of my childhood. We had our ups and downs as a family and we struggled through some very bad times which I won’t go into as they aren’t relevant to the overall story but the big blow for me came when I was 11 years old.

It was at this time that I was admitted to hospital and it was discovered that I had a condition called Vesicoureteral Reflux. This meant that I had suffered from repeated Urinary and Kidney Infections that had caused some damage and we didn’t even know it. With further testing the Doctors realised that it had already progressed into a more serious kidney disease called Chronic Pyelonephritis. This means that one of my kidney’s has sustained irreparable scarring and damage and doesn’t function as it should. It creates numerous side effects as it progresses and we manage the symptoms as they appear etc. I have been hospitalised more times than I can count and suffer with regular infections that affect everyday life.

In my early twenties, my Doctor sat me down and explained that the disease could be hereditary although they cannot be sure. There are a number of members of my family that suffer with different kidney conditions. He explained that if I ever decided to get pregnant, I would require close observation as a pregnancy could be dangerous for both me and a baby and there is also a possibility that the baby could have a kidney condition too.

I wouldn’t say I was a particularly maternal person. I love other peoples babies but hadn’t really given much thought to having my own. I was still young and it wasn’t at the forefront of my mind. After years of thinking about the information the Doctor had given me, I decided that it would be unfair of me to risk the health of a child by either a dangerous pregnancy or the possibility of it going through what I have. I chose not to have children. It’s one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make but I know it was the right one.

I’m not telling you this to gain sympathy. My point is that people don’t have children for a number of reasons. Some, like me, choose not to due to medical reasons, some are unable to have children through no fault of their own and some just choose not to have them as it’s not part of their life plan and that’s ok. I just wanted to explain that it may not be as black and white as it seems when you meet a couple with no children.

Lets fast forward to when I was 24 years old. The little boy who had tried to steal my dolls walked back into my life. 18 months later, in 2009, I married him! He is the best thing that ever happened to me and fully accepted my medical condition and decision not to have children. That was probably a good thing as he would probably try to steal their dolls too!

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Explanation

Where To Start

I wanted to start by first saying that this blog is not meant to diminish the difficult job of raising a family in the Military. My Dad was in the Army and my Mum and Dad raised me and my two older sisters whilst living this lifestyle. I believe this is one of the hardest things anyone could ever do….being the one left behind when a spouse/partner is deployed is a lot tougher than it sounds and having children means you have the unthinkable task of picking up the pieces of your children’s broken hearts when their Mummy or Daddy has gone away for days, weeks, sometimes months at a time. That’s just one of the difficulties that are faced and there are many more that I will introduce you to over the course of my blog.

I also want to point out that I am in no way saying that this lifestyle is harder than any other. I just want to share my experiences with everyone in the hopes that it will help others find answers….whether that is about marrying into the Military or for general information or to help someone who may be facing a similar situation. Hopefully, this will be a good source of information.

Introduction

What will I be doing?

I am aiming to post at least once or twice a week. I will start by telling you how I got to where I am now. Don’t worry, I will miss out all of the unimportant and boring stuff. Once I have caught you up to the present, I will take you on my journey with me. I will be very honest in my blog and tell you all about the thoughts and emotions that I went through and will go through in the future. Please feel free to comment on or share my blog with anyone that you think will be interested.

 

Why am I doing this?

I have decided to start writing this blog as I am a military wife and I wanted to tell people what living this lifestyle is like. There are lots of stories and information about what it’s like to be a military dependant with children and they show the ups and downs of the family life; however, I have yet to come across anything that explains what it’s like to live this life without children and the pros and cons that come along with this.

I hope that this blog will shed some light on the highs and lows that we go through and also the experiences yet to come. No two stories are ever the same and so I hope you can all share in and on some occasions enjoy my story……..