Dear Angel, Ariel and Asher,
Today is Daddy and Mummy's 8th wedding anniversary.
Yes, that means we got married on this day, 26 April, eight years ago and have been husband and wife since then. It isn't easy to find true love which you can hold onto forever, you know? Today, I'm going to write down our story so that we can reminisce in our twilight years and when you read this one day, you will realise how it all began.
It's going to be a long story but I know you are going to love reading it. After all, it's Mama and Papa's story, the two people whom you love dearly and who love you to the moon and back. You do know that if we had not met, the three of you would not be in this world, right? So, with every beat of my heart and every breath I take, I am thankful for having all of you in my life. A loving family is one of the best gifts you can ever have and like I always tell you, we are so, so blessed and we must always remind ourselves to learn to cherish.
Now, sit back, relax, pop some popcorn (or your favourite Nachos with cheese), grab a cup of Milo (without ice, please) and enjoy reading as I take you back in time.
It all started in the year 2002.
I was a first-year student, or so called freshie, in Nanyang Technological University (NTU). It was the start of my four-year mass communication course and I didn't know what to expect but I was very much looking forward to this new phase of life.
Now, you do know Diana yi-yi and Hazel yi-yi right? They are two of Mummy's best friends in life and I've known them since Secondary 1 in Anglican High School when we were in the badminton team together. So, what happened was that we were told that we could get into the same hall of residence (at that time, there were a total of 15 halls in NTU) if we could represent our hall for the inter-hall games. So, obviously we wanted to stick together instead of being randomly allocated to different halls and we agreed to do so.
That was how I got into NTU Hall 6.
|Remember we took you all here in 2015 when I was heavily pregnant with didi but we managed to play softball together?|
Yes, this was the fateful place that holds many of our fond memories. Till now, I can still vividly remember shifting into my room, showering in the common toilets, doing my own laundry, going out for late night suppers, having dance parties, going through orientation camps, organising hall events, taking part in sports tournaments, being the darts and softball captain, cramming for tests and exams, eating steamboats, playing mahjong, having chit chats with my girl friends, and so much more. It wouldn't be too much to say that hall life was one of the best times of my life and it was one of the best decisions I ever made. That said, although I will let you all stay in hall if you want to next time, I am so gonna miss each and every one of you.
|Setting foot, again, in the fateful place that brought us together as a couple felt so nostalgic and a tad surreal|
So, was it love at first sight?
No, I can't say so. When we first met, both of us were still attached. Okay, being attached means we both had another girlfriend and boyfriend at that point in time. Or what we call going 'steady' in that era. Oh well, yes, life can get complicated sometimes and I'm not exactly looking forward to the day when I need to talk to you, and perhaps teach you a thing or two, about boy-girl relationships.
|I fell in love with softball and even became the pitcher and the captain in hall for two years, you know?|
As time passed, I became more and more involved with hall matters and was one of the most active freshies then. Can you believe it? I joined a total of nine inter-hall sports and recreational games during my first year! Badminton, squash, track and field, female soccer, darts, volleyball, softball, hockey and swimming! Oh yeah, I was crazily passionate and energetic back then, spending a lot of time on stuff outside of academics but I must say I never regretted it one bit. Life is not just about studying behind closed doors and getting good results; it's more about seeing the world, forming relationships and discovering your passions. Mummy must first admit I've been very lucky to have aced my exams from young up till my A' levels, even though I was never the most hardworking one in class. But you have to, have to know that there's so much more to life than tests, grades and certificates.
I made many good friends in hall and my memories of those good times we had are still so vivid. We had parties in hall, we danced all night long, we bonded like no other, we went for clubbing sessions, we organised bashes, we formed groups, we fought hard as a team, we had each other's back, we experienced victories and losses, we supported and cheered for each other, we went through thick and thin, we shared laughter and tears, we walked into each other's life story. Even though we have drifted through the years as we all settle down and move on with our lives, those memories are so precious to me and can never be forgotten.
|Having a fun party in hall with some of my best girl friends back then|
1) We both love to party and could hold our liquors pretty well. You all know that Daddy likes to drink, but what you don't know is that Mummy also loved to back then and was in fact one of the best female drinkers in hall who could beat many of the guys hands down. I was always up for a challenge when anyone wanted to try to win me at drinking games and since Daddy was pretty good at it too, we ended up bonding over parties, booze and drinking games. Wait, I'm not saying alcohol is healthy but I'm also not going to ban you from it. In fact, Daddy and I have this dream that one day when all of you are over 18, we could go clubbing together as a family and chill out over some martinis. That is, provided my bones are still holding me up and I have the energy to boogie despite the wrinkled face. We'll see!
2) We both have a love for sports. Even though Mummy is not even half as good as Daddy in playing badminton or any other sport, the fact remains that we are both outgoing and sporty people. Back in hall, we would play sports under the scorching sun and become so tanned that we could hardly be recognized, we liked taking up new challenges and learning new things, we loved to work out and perspire profusely, we were the type who never liked to stay in our rooms but would be out and running about. So, we met quite often at training sessions and got to know each other better bit by bit too.
|Those were the young days when we would sing, party, dance, drink and hang out together often|
3) We both like to sing. So we do bring all of you to sing karaoke often and that is because we used to do that with our friends and even on our own. That was the time when youths like us loved to visit KTV places like Party World, K Box or Teo Heng and sing our hearts out. Sshhhh, tell you a secret. I was actually rather mesmerized by Daddy's singing because not only did he have a good voice, he was also very spontaneous, funny and would be the guy who could entertain everyone.
4) We don't sleep. Right, by that I mean we actually slept very little during hall days. No, we were not cramming for tests and exams. Usually, we would be playing mahjong, having chit chats or going out for late night suppers with our friends. We started hanging out with the same bunch of friends and would drive out to have supper together in Daddy's old Honda. Slowly, we began to share more of our life stories, we understood more in depth about each other, we knew what each other liked or hated, and you could say we probably felt a connection but did nothing about it.
5) We love animals. Okay, so you are not supposed to raise pets in hall but we did. Before we got together, Daddy had a pet rabbit named JJ and he would sometimes ask me to go over to his room to play with it or help him to feed it. The rabbit was so adorable and even knew how to jump up to get a baby carrot when Daddy opened his bar fridge. Cute! Sadly, it passed away after a while. After that, a friend gave us a beautiful female bunny and we bought another male one for companionship. Yeah, we didn't really think of the consequences back then. We named them Honey and Ice and they made up a big bulk of our memories from those years. The two of them had over half a dozen babies together but to our dismay, only one managed to survive eventually. So you can imagine the joy, the excitement, the anxiety and the heartbreak we went through together with our pet rabbits.
|Our lovely pet rabbits back then. The white one was called Ice and the brown and white one, our all time favourite bunny, was called Honey and she was just a darling.|
6) We like to travel. Sure, we might not be rich but we do like to explore and discover the rest of the world. Our first trip was to Batam where we went with a group of friends and it was a rather last minute decision on my part after a friend backed out. That fateful holiday brought Daddy and Mummy closer than ever. We stayed in the same room, we opened up our hearts, we went shopping and feasting on seafood, we had fun playing beach sports, we basically spent all our time together. It wasn't soon after that that things progressed and we moved a step forward. Come to think of it, we have visited places like Genting, Bintan, Batam, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau as a couple and also set foot in Los Angeles, New York and Las Vegas. Of course, we also left our footprints in dozens of cities in Europe when we were staying in that continent.
So, back to the story, when did we actually get together and become a couple?
A year had passed by then and it was July 2003. By a twist of fate, both of us were single back then because our previous relationships didn't work out somehow. By this time, we already knew each other quite well, we often went out together, we chatted over the phone and ICQ, we watched movies, we confided in each other, we were definitely more than just friends.
On 29th July, we were just casually chatting in hall and he finally said something along the line "Let's give it a try. Do you want to be my girlfriend?" I can't really remember what he said or how I replied but I knew from then on, we held each other's hand tight.
|Celebrating my birthday in hall and feeling thankful to have him and a bunch of good friends|
Life from then on was never quite the same for both of us. Just so you know, I wasn't initially sure if he was the one. You know, the one person whom I was going to stick to for the rest of my life. To me, it seemed like a dream and I didn't know if I was going to wake up the next day and find that he had decided to leave me for another. At that time, we were both young, we had yet to pursue our careers and aspirations, we had no idea where life was going to take us. All we could do and all we wanted to do was to take one step at a time.
|We loved to wear matchy matchy clothes and would go out to the streets in matching T-shirts|
|We love to be out in the sun and the beach was one of our favourite hangouts|
|We also loved to take wefies and would make all kinds of funny faces and expressions together|
Well, the course of true love never runs smooth. Over the years, we had our fair share of quarrels, fights, squabbles and cold wars. We argued over lies, secrets, excessive drinking, smoking, over possessiveness, insecurities, distrust, differences and it didn't help that both of us could get quite hot-headed at times. We are also both very headstrong and obstinate people which could get us into trouble with each other. That also explains where you got your stubborn streaks.
|This cute little dog was named Pino and was 太婆's pet back then|
|To support his love for fishing, we went on a 3D2N boat fishing trip together and I was the only girl on board!|
|This was taken in Bintan where we went for a romantic getaway as a couple|
As the years passed, our love got stronger and it wasn't long before I knew that this was going to be the man whom I wanted to grow old with. Even before I had any of you, I had always dreamt of being a mum and it was sweet having someone beside me to hold my hand and give me hope that the future was something worth looking forward to.
|At Daddy's convocation in 2003. I was so relieved that he passed his exams!|
|At my convocation in 2006. We had a photoshoot with our families and these pics are just too precious|
It was barely a year after I started working in the media industry when Daddy, who is a submariner, told me that he was going to be posted to Sweden for a year. I knew that I was going to miss him but in trying to stay rational, I knew that a year would go by very easily and he would be back in no time. So, I decided to stay put in Singapore and continue to climb up the corporate ladder. Little did I expect what life had in store for me.
|I made a DIY calendar for Daddy using our pictures when he left for Sweden in 2007|
|Visiting Daddy in Karlskrona, Sweden in July, 2007. Check out those beautiful pink skies! Dear Angel, you were eventually born here, you know that?|
|One of my all-time favourite couple shots. Took this by placing my shades in front of the camera lens|
No, I wasn't looking forward to it at first because I had two jobs here, one working as a media executive in OMD and the other teaching Chinese to kids in Berries. I was happy, comfortable and contented being with my friends, my family and my work. Besides, I was the kind who had to be kept busy all day long and to idle in a foreign land like Sweden, not being able to work and having to become a housewife was not really what I had been dreaming about.
Still, I made the decision to fly to Sweden and you know, it was the best decision ever. Why? Because it started a new chapter of my life, made me a mum and brought me onto the motherhood journey. And I can never be more thankful for that.
Oh, I must tell you how we got engaged. Which means that we decided to marry each other and become husband and wife. It was in the summer of 2007 and I was on a tour in Europe with Daddy where we visited Amsterdam, Brussels, Venice, Paris, Barcelona and Karlskrona. In Paris, when we were up on the Eiffel Tower, Daddy suggested that we split up to go the souvenir shop to get a gift for each other.
You can call it a hunch or a woman's intuition but I kind of knew that he was going to pop the question. I did wonder why he had no ring but thankfully for him, I am not the type of girl who loves roses or diamonds. It was his heart that mattered to me. So, with a 6 euros Eiffel Tower in hand, he asked me the question "Will you be my fiancée?" Yes, these were the exact words he said. Don't ask me why he didn't just say "Will you marry me?", you do know that your Daddy says the most special and unexpected things sometimes.
I wrote back to him in a postcard that I bought along with a keychain. I told him that yes, I would be his fiancée, his wife and I would love him till the end of time. So, that was how our love story got sealed and we became hubby and wifey on 26 April 2008.
|At our ROM ceremony at Aloha Changi Chalet on 26 April 2008. We had a beach theme and most of the things were DIY-ed! You can read about our big day here and the behind the scenes here.|
|I was the happiest girl on earth that day when we walked down the aisle, when he put the ring on me and when I said "I do"|
|We held a fairytale wedding before we flew to faraway Sweden. You can read about it here|
Being the hopeless romantic that I was at that time, in line with our fairytale theme, we wrote a song titled 我们的童话 (Our Fairytale) and sang it for our march in during our wedding. Yes, it's this song that you have been listening to in the car and can even sing it with us nowadays. From a duet, we now sing it as a group. How super, duper sweet and amazing that feels to me, you know that. So, here's the song again and I hope you can feel the love that was in the air when we filmed this in 2008.
No, that was just the beginning. We didn't know that three of you would enter our lives (and turn it upside down) and we can't imagine life without any of you. Thank you for being our lovely kids, thank you for being part of our story, thank you for making our happily ever after come true.
I hope that one day, you will be able to find true love in your life and hold onto it forever too. For now, I'm only too happy to be your 'true love' and be your 'other half' since all of you say that you wanna marry Mummy. Love ya all so much!
With hugs and kisses,
P.S. Till death do us part. I love you so much, my dear. Thank you for being a great friend, son, hubby and father. Happy 8th anniversary!
This post is part of the "How I Met Your Father" blog train hosted by Michelle of The Chill Mom. Join me and my fellow mum bloggers as we reminisce our love stories and share how we met the daddy of our kids.
Mabel blogs at Amazingly Still, an open journal where she shares her life as a stay-home wife and mother of two. She is finger-trigger-happy whenever she whips out her camera to capture the precious moments spent with her husband and children, most of which are when they are out on an adventure, exploring new places together. Tomorrow, she will share about how she met her husband, and it's a pretty taboo subject!