Tears stung my eyes as I cuddled up to Fiancé in the dark. It was Christmas Eve 2011 and we were staying at his father’s house in Arnold, Nottingham. It felt like it had been a long day. We had two fairly late nights before, on the Thursday we had been to the pantomime, Brother, Sister, Fiancé and me because Friday was my 30th birthday. Then on Friday we went to my family home for dinner and watched Love Actually two days earlier than my family’s new tradition dictates. It had been so lovely to spend time with my family and Fiancé for my birthday. The two late nights and then the drive from York to Nottingham had made us both quite tired. Then there was an extra ingredient, alcohol. After sending FiancésFather out to get cola from the shop before it shut it would have seemed rude not to have a drink or two of vodka and coke. I went for two.
So the tiredness and the alcohol were not great aids to my emotional stability and the fact that this was the first Christmas properly away from home I had ever had did not really help matters. Fiancé and I had been talking on the drive about him finding a flat to rent in the next few months, somewhere he could take on that would eventually become our first home together. It was all so exciting, we had been engaged two weeks and were talking about getting a flat to live in together. My head was merrily cantering ahead of anywhere we had reached already dreaming of the children we might have and how awesome that would be. It was also trying to plan the wedding all on its own, in the way that your imagination sometimes runs away with you. All of this was spinning round in my head and in the bed in the dark with Fiancé on the camp bed just feet away (or was he?). It suddenly seemed all too much and the tears came bringing a sob or two with them. Before I could speak Fiancé’s arms were around me holding me close and safe. That’s one thing I love about Fiancé, how just having his arms around me can make me feel like there’s nothing that can hurt me. I tried to explain, still crying, that it all seemed so terribly grown up to have just turned 30 and to be talking of weddings and flats, of getting married and spending the rest of my life living with Fiancé. He listened and tried to reassure me. I don’t remember exactly what he said but I do know that he made me feel we could face whatever the future and growing up might mean together, that he would always be by my side.
I had tried to rebel against growing up. Since the darkest days of puberty, which were mixed with the grief of knowing Grandma had cancer and then her death, I had wanted to be anything but grown up. My fight to cling on to some of my childhood was going quite well, thank you very much. I still slept with a big Pooh Bear teddy most nights and several other dolls and soft toys by my pillow. My duvet sets had Tinkerbell and Pooh Bear on them. My Baby Born doll occasionally came out to play as did the six-month-old size baby doll Zoe that is jointly owned by me and Sister. I had tried to become a nursery nurse, to help other people by looking after their children and partly because it would give me an excuse to still be a child myself. For me being a grown up seemed to mean that I would have to leave everything of my childhood behind, that meant David and Grandma too, and I wasn’t sure if I could do that.
Since meeting Fiancé I have chosen to/had to do a lot of grown up things. Things like: going on proper dates and dressing like a real young lady instead of some grunge fan teenager, going to house parties where alcohol is being served, applying to work for my church unpaid and moving out of my family home to do that, having to fend for myself when it comes to doing the household things like washing and cooking and getting engaged. A lot of these things barely seemed like blips on my radar eighteen months ago, even less so six months prior to that.
In some ways it feels like emotionally I have been fired on a rocket from where I was two years ago to where I am now and Fiancé lit the touch paper. Some of the things I have met with our church staff chaplain to talk about kept getting pushed back onto the shelf even a year ago because I wasn’t emotionally mature enough to consider really confronting them, things about how my grief for David and Grandma has held me back and about the insecurities I feel when I get close to people. I’ve gained in confidence a little and because I now have Fiancé to talk to and I know I can trust him I am starting to open up with him.
I still feel like this is a roller-coaster sometimes and inside there’s that scream that I’m never sure whether it’s excitement or fear. At times I am desperate for it all to stop and let me catch my breath before we go round again, but there’s almost a sense that is too much to ask right now. There’s a wedding to be planned and that seems to bring with it more ups and downs to be negotiated. We spend time together at Fiancé’s flat, testing the water there for when the day comes that I actually agree that yes, I live there and that can be a little testing at times. We usually get on quite well though. I’m trying to find a paid job so that I can make a contribution to the wedding fund and with the current economic climate that is often not easy.
The one thing I do know is that I know the guy who is operating this roller-coaster and I trust him to be in control. It’s God that’s in control and he’s the best one to be there. He knows what we want from our wedding, which at the moments seems more than we know ourselves and He knows how we’re going to get it. He has answered prayers before that may not have been spoken and I trust that He can do the same with this wedding. We want to glorify God with our wedding day and He will make that possible in ways that we don’t yet know. I’m not sure if Fiancé, who is a younger Christian than I, is quite on the same page as me with God’s plans and provision but I’m guessing that when everything falls into place he’ll see.
Hopefully when the wedding planning is all done and I’m no longer Miss but Mrs the roller-coaster might stop for a while, or at least hit a plateau, but in the next 11 months I know I have a lot of growing up still to do and an awful lot still to learn.