Today is mine and Dan’s five year anniversary. Five years seems like such a long time and while on the one hand I feel like we’ve been together much longer than that, it also feels like I’ve blinked and suddenly we’re here. So much has happened in the duration of these five years, we’ve had four house moves, three holidays, one baby and have made countless amazing memories along the way. To commemorate this day I wanted to write down our story, as briefly as I can, to have to look back on in the years to come and for Darcie to also read one day and to know the story that led to her.
(You’re going to have to excuse the terrible quality of some of these photos, they’re necessary for the story)
It all began in September 2012, I was working as a door to door fundraiser over the Summer holidays before going to University, it wasn’t an ideal job but the people and the social life that came with it were amazing. I had recently come out of a relationship and was going through a bit of a difficult time, I was just very much looking forward to moving away to London, and starting a new chapter in my life. In my last week there, Dan started at the company. There were new employees every week and most of them didn’t last long so I tended not to pay too much attention to the newbies. But Dan caught my eye. I can’t even pretend that I didn’t fancy him straight away, he was tall, dark, handsome and had more than enough muscles. I could tell straight away that we would get along too. I was secretly thrilled when he was put in the same team as me for the week and we immediately hit it off. I used to offer him my sweets (I’m a child, I know) everyday, and he would always refuse, the day that I finally forced him into taking a Jelly bean I knew I had him on side.
We quickly became good friends over the space of a couple of days, but the next week I was leaving for London and so I didn’t really see any sort of future happening for us. To be honest I didn’t really want a boyfriend anyway having decided that men were mostly useless and that I was probably better off alone. Luckily Dan had other ideas and used to drive up to see me every weekend in London for the whole year I was at University. His persistence payed off and on the 21st October 2012 I finally gave in and became his girlfriend. Dan was different to any other guy that I had met before, he didn’t want me to be anything that I wasn’t already and he really brought out the best in me. It sounds pathetic to say that he saved me from how low I was feeling at the time, but he really did. Those first few months of our relationship will always be one of the happiest times in my life, on the one hand I had this new found freedom of living in a city that I loved and I also had the man of my dreams coming up to see me every weekend and literally treating me like a princess.
Fast forward to Easter 2013 and I had realised that University was not for me. I hated my course and even when I considered changing courses I just felt increasingly like there actually wasn’t anything I wanted to study anymore. I wanted to work, to earn money and feel like a part of the real world. I completed my first year and then moved back home for the summer to decide what to do next. I went back to my job as a fundraiser where Dan was still working and had progressed up to being Deputy Manager. That’s right, I was dating the boss. And no, that didn’t mean I got special treatment, if anything I actually had it harder than everyone else as we went out of our way to show that I wasn’t being treated differently. I stayed there for a short amount of time before finally finding what I saw as a ‘proper job’ working in a small jewellery shop in West Quay.
Now we both had full time income, we decided to look for a place to move into together. I was living at home and Dan was still ‘temporarily’ living with his Dad, so it made perfect sense for us to rent a place together. We found a lovely flat which I immediately fell in love with and put a deposit down before Dan had even seen it. Luckily he liked it too, otherwise that could have been the end of that! We moved in together on the 11th October 2013, just before our one year anniversary. That might seem quite soon but it worked perfectly for us. We were like children living in that flat, we used to have Nerf gun wars and binge watch box sets together in our pyjamas, whilst also trying to figure out adult stuff like the difference between Bio and Non Bio washing powder and what the hell goes in each bin?! That year was also the first Christmas that we spent together, and it was so lovely going up and staying with Dan’s Mum and getting to wake up together on Christmas morning. In February I got promoted to working at head office and left the shop and Dan continued to progress in his job too. We decided to book a holiday together to go to Egypt in March 2014. It was one of the most amazing holidays either of us had ever had at that point. I’d never been anywhere like it before and we made the most of doing as many excursions as we possibly could. Snorkelling in the reefs, a near miss with a Barracuda, taking a crazy ride in a jeep over the sand dunes, nearly getting arrested for crossing the dessert border without our passports and going stargazing at night with the Bedouin people.
As soon as that holiday was coming to an end, we were planning what we wanted to do next; we had definitely caught the travelling bug together. We both like the same things on holiday, neither of us like to just lounge around a pool, we wanted to be out exploring and soaking it all in. Having adventures and then getting just a little bit drunk at the end of the day. We booked to go inter railing in August that same year. Neither of us could get very long off work so we had to go for the ten day pass option, we decided to spend those ten days exploring France with our tent and our rucksacks. That was both of our’s first experience of backpacking and we were immediately hooked. There’s so much freedom in backpacking, having a tent and just going wherever you want. We travelled down into the Pyrenees and visited one of my favourite places in the world, Mont Saint Michael. We had so much fun on that holiday, walking miles and miles, trying all the wonderful food on offer and drinking as much red wine as we could get our hands on.
In October 2014 we moved into a beautiful bungalow with a massive garden and lots more space and peace and quiet than we were used to. This was a more grown up phase in our lives I suppose. We were both working very hard in our jobs and had both reach quite stressful points in them too. Dan ended up leaving his job around Christmas 2014 and started a new one in January 2015. After a rough couple of months for both of us, when Dan’s birthday rolled around in March 2015 I decided to book us a surprise trip to Switzerland. Neither of us had any time booked off work so it was literally just a day trip, although we got a good twelve hours there to explore Basel. We managed to fit in a boat trip, a zoo, a cathedral, a food market and lots of sightseeing. Dan had no idea what we were doing until we arrived at the airport, he was so surprised and I think that was the point that he thought maybe I’d lost my mind!
We were both desperate to have some more time away so we booked to go to Norway in July 2015. That was a truly amazing holiday. It was a country that neither of us had been to before and we were both absolutely blown away by the mountains and the fjords. Again we had so many adventures that will stick with us for life including a night spent on a very dodgy island off the coast of Oslo and becoming stranded on top of a glacier and sleeping in a station hut belonging to a man named Olaf.
We came home from that holiday and had some very adult conversations about what we both wanted from life and decided to get serious about saving for a mortgage. Dan has always been serious about it, but with me being four years younger it just took me a little longer to realise that it was a good idea to buy as soon as possible and stop wasting money on rent.
On the 13th of September 2015 we found out we were having a baby. That was the most surreal day of our lives so far, I’d taken a pregnancy test a few weeks beforehand that had come back negative but when I started feeling really sick one morning I took another one just to be sure. Dan had gone out to get us breakfast and when it came up positive I just sat at the table in shock. When he came back I couldn’t even tell him but he just knew what it was that I couldn’t say and said ‘are you pregnant?’. At that point I started crying, tears of shock, happiness and fear and he just held me until I was okay again. We always knew we wanted children in our future together but neither of us were expecting it to happen so soon. As soon as the shock wore off we were both thrilled and I loved being pregnant with Darcie. Despite the stress of starting a new job around the same time and having bad nausea and food aversions, the whole thing was pretty much a breeze. It brought Dan and I closer than ever and he was so sweet looking after me so that he could also feel he was looking after the baby I was growing too.
The day she was born was the happiest day of our lives and the last 17 months we have spent together as a family have been incredible. Like any new parents, we have had our ups and downs, we both had to adjust to our new roles. Mine as a stay at home mum and main carer for Darcie and Dan as the sole breadwinner for the family. We’ve already made so many amazing memories and have both grown and changed as we have adapted to being Mum and Dad. We moved into a different house when Darcie was four months old in September 2016 where we had more room and an upstairs which was amazing after living in a flat and a bungalow. We made lots of happy memories there like our first Christmas as a family and Darcie’s first birthday. That’s the house where she first rolled over, learn to crawl, took her first steps and ate her first solid food. In May this year we moved again as an opportunity came up for us to save more money for our mortgage, the house is similar in size to the last one and also has a little grassy garden that Darcie has made her own.
I’m so excited for what our future holds because if the past five years are anything to go by, then it’s going to be pretty special. We’d like to go on a family holiday soon and are still working towards that mortgage. We’re both very much on the same page and have become a pretty successful little team, even if I do say so myself. I can’t even begin to list all of the wonderful times we have had together, all the times we have supported each other through tough times and all of the things we have achieved with the other stood right by our side. There’s one thing that I do know, and that is that life is better with Dan by my side.
Here’s to the next five years.