Nuala McCann: Time flies, so try to appreciate the little things - and each other
As you read this, I shall be celebrating 25 years of wedded whatchamacallit. 'We' shall be celebrating, I ought to say – there's no 'i' in team...
MY MOTHER still remembers her parish priest taking her aside in the week before her wedding and asking her what she thought about marriage. "It's all a bit of a gamble," she said with a smile. He soon changed her mind on that.
But she was probably right. It's just she backed a winner – it was a happy gamble.
A close friend came over to me on our wedding day and quoted the prophet Kahlil Gibran. He is a wise one, that one – well, he was all the rage back then.
"The prophet said 'Let there be space in your togetherness, but what about a little togetherness in your space'," she whispered, waving her camera to snap a photo of the bride and groom in the days before iPhones.
There were so many people to see and chat to and laugh with that we were caught up in the fun that we weren't about for too many togetherness shots. Sure hadn't we years to go for all that?
We ditched the official photographer idea too – so our memories are friends' snapshots at odd and drunken angles. We just pitched in to be the last wedding in a certain church which meant the stained glass windows had been removed and a mortar bomb attack had been launched from the car park the weekend before.
"Enjoy this day, it shall fly by so fast," said my cousin, our lovely priest at the altar. And it did fly past, it really did. But he didn't say that the next quarter of a century would rocket by too.
Our closest friends all got married that year – and the joy is, that they're still our closest friends, all through the highs and lows, the babies born and the students waved off to university.
We were never huge one for anniversaries. This one snuck up on us. One year we were sitting in Paris outside a bar in a little square with a stone fountain, drinking in the peace and the wine when the date suddenly occurred to me.
"Do you know what yesterday was?" I said. "It was our anniversary."
"Sure didn't we have a lovely day?", came the reply. He has a PhD in repartee.
All we can ask is where did the time go? A quarter of a century whooshed past and now we are standing at the gates of 60, shell-shocked.
We are making fresh plans for the future. A friend says that when her friends – all in their 60s – meet up, they promise never to begin with an organ recital.
They shall not rehearse their bodily woes, the organs that are giving them bother – the kidneys and heart and lungs and various aches and groans.
I know what she means. My hip complains to me quite loudly.
"Get your name on the list," sighs another friend who has just had the joy of a hip replacement after playing hop-a-long for far too long.
"But it's just a twinge," I tell him.
"It could be five years wait," he sighs, shaking his head knowingly.
I'm reminded of ante-natal classes where the teacher produced the little knitted uterus and a plastic baby doll and tried to explain the joys of labour.
She was all for natural birth. More fool her. No drugs? Are you kidding?
"How soon can you get the epidural?" I asked.
"Well, you might need to be in labour first," she said. I did get an epidural without ever going into labour, but that's another story.
"It's our silver anniversary – buy me silver?" I say.
"How could you be so materialistic, mum?" says our boy.
"Cross me palm and I'll tell you how," I tell him.
But I'm only joking. There's a bottle of champagne in the fridge and a few close friends who'll drink to our health and the health of the National Health Service.
I'm channelling my inner Tom Cruise from that film where he rose every morning and said: "Another day in paradise".
On a good day, the sun shines, the pear on the porridge is just ripe and, when I open the front door, our adopted cat flips over on his back and shows me his belly.
It's a sweet hello. Isn't la vita bella?