Graham and I started our journey in love on Valentine’s Day 40 years ago. It all began on a hockey tour with our club Lorraine H.C. which was based in Dublin’s Phoenix Park. Both of us were single since the previous December and we had already been flirting a bit in the clubhouse after matches.
Anyway, a trip to Galway to play in a hockey tournament gave us the opportunity to flirt some more. And a disco in Galwegians Rugby Club allowed us to take it a step further. We danced together all night. I remember ‘Come On Eileen’ in particular.
We went out on our first date the following Saturday night. And that was it. We got engaged on Valentine’s Day a year later and married in that July. The photo below was taken around that time.
SOCIAL NORMS IN 1980s
Unlike today, it was not the norm to move in together before being married. In any case, my parents would have had a fit. I was the eldest of six girls and my mother constantly reminded me that I should be setting the others a good example.
So, we got married and came back to our new home after our honeymoon in France.
Both of us continued working and playing hockey. We loved having our own home.
Then two years later we were the parents of a beautiful little girl who did not sleep. And that was when the difficulties began. I was back at work (teaching) within a few months and it was tough.
Graham was a very modern dad for the ’80s, taking it in turns to get up at 3 (or 4 if we were lucky) when our darling daughter decided it was morning. But it was not easy. At the time, I thought we would never get through it. We moved house, put the first born in a bed and we got some sleep finally. And then number two daughter arrived, but she was a better sleeper.
But we had plenty of challenges to overcome. Graham was made redundant soon after. I had to have a back operation and money was tight. Remember, we had just moved house and had a bigger mortgage. But we got through it.
In the early days of the blog, I wrote about How to SURVIVE 35 YEARS OF MARRIAGE AND NOT KILL HIM four years ago!
Do any of you remember the ‘LOVE IS’ cartoons in one of the daily newspapers back in the 1980s?
Graham used to cut out those he felt were appropriate or relevant to us and send them to me. I found the one above when I was searching through some photos. It was so cute. He was and still is a romantic at heart. If they were still in vogue, I think the following would be relevant to our older selves:
LOVE is the glass of LEMON AND GINGER WATER that he brings me every morning.
LOVE is the way he still grabs me around the waist and tells me I’m gorgeous.
LOVE is when he puts petrol in my car.
LOVE is how he plays with our grandsons
LOVE is how he rushes to help our girls
LOVE is when he helps with my blog posts
LOVE is when he is my Insta husband
LOVE is the way he still looks at me across a crowded room. Remember crowded rooms.
LOVE is arguments, slammed doors, making up.
So love is not just for one day. Love is shown in the little things you do for each other. Do not be afraid to show your love. I wrote a post a few years ago about Valentine and LOVE which you might like to read.
This Valentine’s Day will be different, that’s for sure. We rarely headed out to restaurants in recent years, preferring to eat at home. But what wouldn’t we all give to have a lovely meal handed to us this year. Well, the next best thing is a romantic takeaway. Here is a link to some of those on offer from Loving Dublin
We have just bought each other walking boots, so that’s our presents covered! A bottle of bubbly will be consumed and we will reminisce and probably watch a film.
The first photo below was taken in the 1990s and the second one a few years ago. Our love may have been tested at various times but it has survived those tests and is stronger than ever.
40 years since our first dance, our first kiss on the 14th February. And I do feel privileged to have had these forty years. I think the past year has taught us to appreciate even more what we have and to live every day as if it is our last.
I know that some of you have lost loved ones recently and will be feeling particularly lonely this Valentine’s Day. But remember, love is all around you in family, friends and grandchildren. And never give up on love. Always be open to opportunities to love again.
And if any of you would like to share your love stories or what makes your relationship special, I would love to hear them.
I feel a little bit like an evangelical preacher spouting from the pulpit about LOVE…Apologies.
Remember, it is not MONEY that makes the world go around.
It is LOVE.