Last week it was our wedding anniversary. Ten years, four children, 53 stitches and one migration later, we found ourselves back at the Canberra Hyatt, the hotel where husband and I spent our wedding night.
A decade ago, we arrived there after a seven hour wedding ceremony. Neither of us had eaten all day, our facial muscles had frozen into some kind of smiling rictus and after kissing four hundred of my parents’ closest friends we were both coming out in a rash.
And then of course there was the whole mortifying experience of the trip to the Hyatt itself. My father insisted on driving us because the family astrologer had told him that our marriage had to be consummated by 8pm. No one knew whether this was Colombo time or Canberra time and I really wished they would just stop talking about it. Either way, my father, a man who takes all his duties seriously, sped the entire way to the Hyatt and marched us through an expedited check-in. At 7:50pm, he solemnly shook hands with my husband and then said (a little sheepishly), “OK, I’ve done my job. Now you two go and enjoy yourself.” I desperately wanted the Hyatt to collapse on my head but husband took it like a man, shook my dad’s hand back and said, “Thanks Uncle, we will.”
Ten years later, husband surprised me by booking a room for us at the Hyatt. We arrived, I changed into my favorite John Lewis flannel pyjamas and went to bed. Husband turned on the television and watched the cricket for hours whilst I caught up on 8 months (or is it seven years?) of sleep deprivation. We were briefly interrupted by a waiter bearing a complimentary bottle of sparking wine. Apparently husband had ticked the “Honeymoon” box on the check-in form, as there was no a box for “10 year wedding anniversary” or “14 hour respite from children”. The waiter would have found the eager groom riveted to the Ashes and the blushing bride, dressed and snoring like a grandma.
On our tenth wedding anniversary, husband organised a beautiful hotel room (for him and Alastair Cook); a lovely dinner for him and me; he gave us a 14 hour break from our children which was enough time for him to watch the Ashes, me to get some sleep and both of us to miss them; he let me choose the TV channels (after the cricket was over for the day) because when I go to a hotel all I want to do is watch TV and sleep; he stole everything I requested from the toiletries cart parked outside our door and when he wasn’t watching the Ashes, he spooned me. Me, me, me. This is very important because usually I wake up with one to four little ducklings all demanding to be spooned. I am always the spooner, never the spoonee.
Lately Prima has been fretting about marriage – apparently my mother has told her that she has to get married and have at least one child. Husband has a policy when it comes to Prima and discussions about marriage. He goes against his Sri Lankan instinct to tell her what to do and who to marry. It must be hard for him to fight this genetic imperative, but he does it clearly and consistently because he feels it is in her best interests. Personally I think he is wasting an excellent opportunity to brainwash her. I blame his Western liberal education. When this beautiful little girl says in her serious voice with her serious eyes (that look exactly like his own), “What shall I do Daddy? I don’t want to get married.” he tells her that she can do whatever she wants, if she doesn’t want to get married she doesn’t have to, and she can stay with us forever.
After our anniversary celebration of sleep, the Ashes and more TV, husband drove us home. On the way he surprised me again, when he made a detour and took me to the Old Parliament House. It is a stately, beautiful building and I love it because we got married there. Ten years, four children, 53 stitches and one migration ago.
Don’t tell husband, but when Prima asks me about marriage, I break his policy although I do temper my genetic imperative. I tell her she can do whatever she wants, she doesn’t have to get married, but if she does, then it is important to choose carefully, and if she is very lucky she might marry some one wonderful like her father.