This New Year's Eve perfectly illustrated the meaning behind Robert Burns' line of poetry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/To_a_Mouse) John Steinbeck used as the title for one of his best-known works. For the first time in twelve years The Boy and I spent the evening apart; He suffered from something resembling the Norovirus and remained within safe proximity of a bathroom while I ate an enormous feast from around the globe at a friend's house. Although I had an enjoyable night, The Boy's absence meant the whole evening just didn't feel right and what seemed like a “best-laid” plan was easily scuppered.
There have been many times over the years that a friend has broken big life-changing news to me months after the actual event and I have wondered why I wasn't told sooner. Put in a similar position, I have since also suffered the “when is the right time” dilemma. When asked the question “How you are?”, 90% of the time for most of us the answer is easy; It generally involves a simple response like “Not too bad”, “Could be better” or “A bit tired” but every now and again it's hard to put into words how you are feeling or perhaps things aren't going too well and you'd rather not burden the questioner with your own problems or dampen the mood. In these situations it is easy to see why news travels slowly.
The timing of my breaking New Year's Eve news had been carefully planned and was an exceedingly long time coming. To some, the news was expected and long-overdue but because of The Boy's illness it never came and was delayed until New Year's Day. After one failed attempt, I finally got through to my parents and The Boy dialled his family digits. My mother's initial response included words to the effect: “It seems weird after all these years...” My dad's reaction was more as you might expect with him seeming audibly pleased and asking the usual follow-up questions you might ask in response to such information.
After over 11 years together, The Boy and I have surpassed the average length of many a celebrity marriage. According to research by The National Wedding Show, the average couple gets engaged two years, 11 months and eight days after first setting eyes on each other (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-515470/The-average-man-proposes-years—average-woman-wants-pop-question-months-earlier.html). Had we done so closer to the average time span, finding the right moment to break the news wouldn't have been an issue. We most certainly wouldn't have kept quiet for four months in order for my recently engaged cousin to solely have the limelight over the festive period. And who knows we may well have been just as surprised as our friends and family.
Of course a much earlier engagement was delayed by my own refusal to accept adulthood and conform to the norm. Over the last six years, The Boy has indeed attempted to pop the question on numerous occasions but has either misjudged his timing or been met by my own inability to believe he was actually serious. As a result, he unsurprisingly announced some time ago, he was no longer willing to take on the responsibility and the words “How about it then?” took on a whole new comedic meaning.
Now, I'm struggling to casually break the somewhat predictable news in conversation and find the “right time”. It's weeks since we “came out” but beyond family, very few other people know our well-kept “secret” and it took me a good hour to find the words to tell two of them! In the news, I've read many a tragic tale of people discovering a loved-one has died through social media. As a Facebook and Twitter user, I'm interested in seeing whether tidings of joy can be spread just as easily without me directly posting anything so dear readers (whoever you may be) be comforted in the knowledge you are among the first to know. Let's see if social media does its magic without my help...