Happy Valentine’s Day!
In honour of this international celebration of love, we have been cherishing the memories and moments that make each relationship unique by sharing our ‘True Love Stories’. Yesterday, we shared Verity’s story of how, even from the age of 14, she always knew that Lex was the one for her. Today, Deborah recalls her joy in being given a second chance at love, with someone she had already come so close to meeting many times in the past.
Shortly after moving back to the UK, my husband and I parted ways and I began a new chapter in my life as a single working mother. Raising my girls became the centre of my universe and although I had thought about finding someone new, I often put it to the back of my mind, partly because it terrified me and partly because I wanted to focus on my role as a mother.
When my mother passed away, we moved into her house and began making it our own. Verity was always keen to help and I enjoyed the time we were spending together, decorating and creating a happy home. Still, we decided that it would be good to get involved with something away from the house and so together as we often were, Verity and I joined a local Carnival club and volunteered our creative skills to help with painting the carts. Carnival is a big deal in the town we were living in, with many people involved so it was very easy to make new friends.
A short time later, I went along to watch a band at a pub in a village, just outside of town. As the music began a man approached us, said hello and introduced himself as Jon. Jon explained that he was also was involved with the Carnival Club and recognised us from there. I have to admit, at first I wasn’t even sure if I recognised him, but he seemed very friendly and easy to talk to. Before I knew it, he and I had been talking over the music, not really paying attention to the band all evening and before the night was over we had agreed to meet up again.
As Jon and I began dating, I felt concerned about how Verity would respond. She and I have always been so close and I didn’t want her to feel like it would affect our bond. I knew that she would be resistant at first and I wanted to help her understand, without feeling worried. I’ve always thought that introducing a new partner when you are a single parent is hard to do right easy to do wrong. Thankfully, as he also had children from a previous relationship, getting this aspect right was just as important to him. So once we had introduced ourselves to each other’s children, we focused on spending lots of time with all of us together. We went out on day trips and kept everything informal and less date-like. Jon’s willingness to do this right, coupled with the fact that he valued how important it was to me, helped me to see from an early stage just how caring and thoughtful he was. I took this as a very good sign for our relationship and counted myself lucky and hopeful for our future.
After six months together, we celebrated our first Valentine’s Day as a couple. Choosing to spend the evening at my house, Jon cooked me a delicious dinner of Mediterranean Lamb. Verity was very enthusiastic to lay to the table, making sure everything was perfect and at that moment I knew she was happy about Jon and I being together. Over the next couple of years, we continued to spend time with one another and our children, celebrating milestones and even going on holidays. We truly felt like one big extended family.
By this time I knew for sure that Jon was the one for me and I had subtly been dropping hints about marriage, but he really didn’t bite. He has always been so terribly laid back in life, that it really should have come as no surprise that he took his time. One day when I wasn’t around, Verity and Jon found themselves talking about us getting married. Jon revealed that he was planning to propose and being the incredibly thoughtful man he is, asked Verity if she would like to be there when it happened. Delighted, she agreed. On the morning of my birthday, Jon and Verity woke me with breakfast in bed. As I took the tray, Jon got down on one knee and with a grinning Verity, unable to contain her joy beside him, asked me to be his wife. Any trace of fear I’d ever had about marrying again left my heart in that instant and with complete happiness and excitement, I said ‘Yes!’.
Even though we met after being married once before, our paths had crossed on so many occasions, even as children. We grew up just one small town apart in Somerset, both attended the same college at the same time, visited the same nightclub when we were young and even when I first lived alone after my first marriage, he would often come to that village and visit with friends, just around the corner.
At our wedding, the song we chose was ‘I knew I loved you before I met you’ by Savage Garden, simply because we felt like we had always known each other. Jon has continued to be as strong, thoughtful and caring as ever. I think that when you meet your perfect partner later in life, especially when you came so close to meeting before, you do wonder ‘what if we’d gotten together sooner?’. But timing is sometimes perfect, even when you don’t choose it. When I found out I had Cancer a few years later, he and the extended family both of us had brought together, carried me through the darkest moments of that experience and I can never thank him enough. Now that I have been Cancer free for over 10 years, we are taking the chance to enjoy life, to travel and open ourselves up to new experiences, celebrating all that life has to offer us, together.