‘I wrote a letter to my Love and on the way I lost it’ – okay, so I never lost it, but I also never wrote a public declaration of my love, so here it is, as we enter your birthday month. If you cringe at gushy posts, click away, this one isn’t for you!
For those of you who don’t know our story, it spans more than a decade. We met in high school, moved to separate cities, and as fate would have it, reconnected in a different city, and even enrolled in some of the same courses at university a year later. Through all that time, we were just friends. Anyone who knows me can attest to the fact that I am fiercely loyal. To a fault sometimes – I dedicated too much time to guys that didn’t deserve it. In December 2006, that all changed.
I know this will sound wildly cliché, but it couldn’t be more true, some people are just destined to be together. After breaking up with a boyfriend who told one too many lies, my knight in shining armour came to rescue me from a dimly-lit car park of a shopping centre in Johannesburg. He took me home with him that night, and 11 years later, I’m still there. We’ve been together ever since. Right off the bat we were open about our feelings. We fell hard, and we fell fast. It was as if we had always been together – maybe that comes from years of friendship, who knows, or maybe after so many years the stars finally aligned? After always accepting second-best, you walked into my life, for the first time as more than a friend, and I couldn’t believe that anyone could love me and care for me the way you do. You showed me my worth. You wrote me letters, proper handwritten letters, even if you were seeing me the next day. You arrived at my res on numerous occasions with cooler boxes of delicious food and treats, in a full suit to fetch me for a fancy dinner, and with armfuls of flowers. More than all the gifts and gestures, you showed me repeatedly how much you loved me. Thank you.
We lived together for four years before you proposed. I’ll never forget your Christmas Eve proposal. You know me. You knew I’d have hated a flashy public proposal somewhere. Instead, you proposed a day earlier than planned simply because you couldn’t wait another second. You cried as you asked me, on bended knee, as you told me I was your best friend in all the world, and asked me to be your wife. I couldn’t have loved you more in that moment. On the 27th August 2011 we said ‘I do’ on the most perfect day I could have ever imagined. At one point during the night, you pulled me outside with you to take a moment to just ‘be’. To reflect on all our family and friends dancing, laughing, and celebrating us. Thank you.
We packed up and moved across the country two days after we got married, and this would be the first test in our marriage. Two months later we were pregnant with Oliver. Battling Hyperemesis Gravidarum (if you’re new, you can read about it here) in an unfamiliar town with no support was truly frightening. You knew when to leave me alone, when even the smell of you would send me retching, and waited patiently for me to need you. You were always there. When Oli was born you never questioned the midnight feeds, in fact, you wouldn’t have had it any other way. Two years later, we moved pack home and experienced the next test. A second baby, Sophie, and a second battle with this disorder. This time round you had just started a new job. You were the sole income earner, and for almost six months you were a single parent to our toddler. It was hell for me, but a nightmare for you. All you wanted to do was to make me better. Want to know how much someone loves you? Have them shower you, tie your hair back and carry you to the toilet to vomit. Repeatedly. Thank you.
Watching you become a father made me fall even more in love with you. It comes so naturally to you. Growing up as a child you were robbed of your own father at a very young age. Even without growing up with a father figure, it comes naturally to you. You changed explosive nappies, caught projectile vomit and soothed a colicky baby for hours on end without so much as a moan. Parenting is by far both the most amazing and daunting thing to ever happen to me and I’m so grateful I get to parent alongside you. You loved my changing body even when my self esteem was at it’s lowest, always building me up and making me feel beautiful. Watching you become the father you are has opened up a whole new layer to my love for you. Thank you.
Years ago my uncle told me the secret to a happy marriage was to marry your best friend. There’s no one in the world I’d choose to share a happy or sad moment with than you. You’re my first and last call. You make me an equal partner in every decision. You let me put my icy feet under yours in bed during winter, because you know I can’t sleep if my feet are cold, and you make me laugh until I cry. My biggest hope in life is that our beautiful children will experience a love like ours. Thank you, Dyl, for being my most favourite, I love you.
All photography credits to the brilliant Adam Hilton.