Shall I tell you a story?
It’s a bit cute and romantic, I think.
I’ll tell you the story of how me and Paul (Paul and I for you posh readers) got together.
When I first met Paul I was pregnant with Elizabeth. My relationship of four years had failed miserably and a week before our wedding when I was 15 weeks pregnant my beau did one. Disappeared. That’s kind of how I realised it had failed miserably. So I had to decide that I was gonna be OK and that everything would be fine and me and my baby and Maggie the Cat would survive on our own. Well actually after I’d done all of that thinking I actually just arrived on my long-time friend and adopted (by force) sister’s doorstep in floods of tears and snot. I basically moved in with her and her family in that I would go to work in the day then arrive on her doorstep where she would feed me amazing food and I would have a bath in her posh jacuzzi bath and then I would sometimes drive home but more often stay over in her spare room.
Meanwhile I worked at Connexions and Paul was working for Early Break which is a young people’s drug and alcohol service as a counsellor. We had a client in common and I was a consummate professional and upon learning that little Johnny (or whatever his name was) had another worker as well as me, I gave him a call and we arranged to meet up with the kid.
We met at Macdonalds in Bury and Paul has since told me that he thought I was a ‘balloon’. Great. It had to do with the fact that I drove the wrong way through the one way system of the car park but to be honest I had thought that despite me being up the duff he might have had romantic memories of our first meeting…but no, when asked if it was love at first sight he told me no, he had thought I was a balloon.
Anyway, after this fateful first meeting where he drank coffee and I might have had a HUGE chocolate milk shake and a couple of cheeseburgers with fries, we didn’t meet again for a few weeks. But we did chat on the ‘phone a couple of times. Paul has a Salford accent and it’s really soft considering he’s like 6’4″ and beardy. You would maybe expect him to be loud, but he isn’t he has a soft and gentle voice. I fancied him. He still didn’t fancy me though, I was kinda getting fatter and he had wrongly assumed I was in a relationship. I didn’t want a relationship whilst I was pregnant, but I did really like him so I was lining up my ducks as they say, for after I’d had Elizabeth so I went to one of the loveliest (but least likely to keep a secret) people at Early Break and told her I fancied him. Of course she told him I fancied him and she told him I was single but Paul wasn’t interested at that point although we did meet a few times for lunch and with clients on occasion too.
After I had had Elizabeth (March 2005) I arranged a group lunch with colleagues from Connexions to introduce Elizabeth and I invited him along but he couldn’t make it so we arranged a meet separately in Bury. I was only meeting him as a friend but I was definitely still interested, referring to him to friends and family as ‘The Twinkly Man’ because he has these sparkly eyes and a lovely smile and he used to make me feel so special when he spoke to me. My sisters and my friends would ask “Have you heard from the Twinkly man?” and I would say, “Oooh yes he texted yesterday…” but he STILL wasn’t interested…so I saw this meeting as my chance.
I arrived in Bury, with a month-old Elizabeth and called in at Dorothy Perkins where I bought new jeans I couldn’t afford, stuck the old ones underneath the pram and went to meet him for lunch. With Elizabeth I was only 29 and the weight just fell off me, so the jeans were a size 10 and I had these amazing huge breast-feeding boobs so I looked kinda hot. I knew it. And he noticed! We had lunch and he asked me out a few more times. Apparently he had said to his mate that he fancied me and the mate (later best man) encouraged him to ask me out. We went out on our first date on May 13th 2005. We went to the cinema and I left Elizabeth with my sister. He stroked my thigh with his thumb throughout the film so I can’t remember the plot and when we came out it was cold and he gave me his jacket. He drove us back to my house but when we got in I was in a right old pickle because of course this was the moment we should’ve put a bit of Barry White on and cuddled on the sofa but I was dripping milk, secretly under his jacket and as soon as I got home I had to run upstairs to get Elizabeth.
Quandry: you have your first date downstairs and a two month old baby who needs feeding. Do you spend half an hour to an hour doing first-time-mum breastfeeding in the bedroom and leave him downstairs with the remote or do you bring her down and try and breast-feed her in front of him and pray it doesn’t put him off? You see if you are in a relationship with a man and THEN you get pregnant and have his baby, he remembers the time when your boobs were fun-bags and your body was sexy…but well, a new man who’s never seen your boobs before gets to see them being used for what nature intended? Sheesh. It might send him running for the hills! I decided (quite rightly) that if it sent him running for the hills then frankly that’s where he should stay…and brought her downstairs. He didn’t bat an eye-lid and carried on chatting away until eventually it was late and he went home without a kiss because there was a baby between us. We went on about 8 more dates before we finally kissed: Elizabeth was in the sling between us then too, but by then Paul was used to it. We were on Southport beach being blown to pieces but it was a very perfect kiss.
Paul moved in by June 2005 and meanwhile my ex had seen Elizabeth a few times until finally letting her go (I won’t go in to all that stuff) and Paul became the man in Elizabeth’s life too. I had to put her in nursery two days a week whilst I went back to work but he used to go and get her for me and take her home because she was much happier with him than in nursery. Sometimes on his days off he used to bring her to meet me at work and we used to go for lunch together and then he would take her home and wait for me to get back. From her being ten weeks old he took on the role of Daddy. He changed her nappies, walked her around the bedroom at night when she wouldn’t settle, from four months he warmed her bottles and fed her, played with her and made her laugh. They were lovely times! We spent that Summer just visiting parks and the beach and sitting in various beauty spots where we would let Elizabeth lay on the picnic blanket and later roll about whilst we cuddled and talked about the future.
Elizabeth’s first word was ‘Dada’ when she was four months old and she was talking to Paul. We decided that we would always be honest with her about what had happened. Her biological father did come back when she was two and he has since seen her a couple of times a week. She loves him and knows that he is her biological father and what that means but she calls Paul Daddy whilst she addresses her biological father by his first name. We have made sure that she understands the true meaning of the word ‘Daddy’ so that she understands that Paul chose to be her Dad and that she is as much his daughter as any of the other children.
We got married on 16th September 2005 at York Registry Office. We hadn’t got much money so I searched for a Registry Office that was beautiful and York, it was! We had a Friday wedding (cheaper) and we got married in the morning so that we could get away with feeding the guests lunch rather than an Evening meal (cheaper). Elizabeth went to stay with my sister for one night whilst Paul and I stayed at the hotel for just one night. We’ve never had a ‘proper’ honeymoon because we keep having kids and I won’t leave them. That day we changed Elizabeth’s name by Deed Poll from my Maiden name to Paul’s surname so that we could be a family in name as well as in spirit. We made sure she was a part of the wedding by adding our own words into the vows including her because Paul didn’t really just marry me that day, he married both Elizabeth and I.
And that was our whirl-wind romance!
It was a September wedding and the child had cold feet! Don’t worry, she wasn’t outside for long, we had her changed into a cosy sleepsuit as soon as we got back to the hotel for lunch but experienced Mama that I am now wouldn’t have decided that bare feet with a little bell on her ankle was a good idea in SEPTEMBER! Ah well she survived!
I hope you enjoyed our story!
I am a very very lucky lady and I know it. I thank the stars every day for my lovely ‘Twinkly Man’ and my kids.
Thanks for reading!