real life

When Significant Life Moments don't go to plan.

When those special defining moments in life don’t go exactly to plan.

By NICKY CHAMP

Growing up in the 80s and 90s on a stable diet of cheesy family sitcoms like The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Valerie and Full House I had a firm idea of how those Significant Life Moments would go.

For example: girl finishes school, goes to uni, finds fabulous job, gets married, has kids, subsequently lives happily ever after. If things get rough a family conference would be held, a discussion would be had, some milk would be drunk and all would be right in the world again.

Except that’s almost never how it goes in real life.

Just as an FYI, you should know that this post is sponsored by THOMAS SABO. But all opinions expressed by the author are 100% authentic and written in their own words.

When I was asked to write a post about those Significant Life Moments like getting engaged, graduating and marrying the ‘one,’ I thought about how I expected them to go down and crazily enough, they never mirrored rom-coms. Let me take you through them and feel free to add yours in the comments below.

1. How saying ‘I Love You’ isn’t always a Hallmark moment.

How saying ‘I Love You’ isn’t always a Hallmark moment.

The first time my now husband told me he loved me I thought he was going to break up with me.

We were sitting in my first car (a 1988 Nissan Pulsar) in the driveway at his parent’s house when he had a major case of Cat’s Tongue.

His silence and nervousness only further convinced me that he was trying to work out the words to tell me he wanted to end our relationship.

I angrily demanded, ‘Just say it, for God’s sake’ to which he replied, ‘I’m falling in love with you.’

‘Oh…’

Awkward.

2. Graduation.

My university career wasn’t all smooth sailing. I switched part-way through after a disastrous art teaching prac – known as the ‘charcoal incident of 2006’ among friends. Let’s just say: 30 x Year 5 students, charcoal moustaches, half-scrubbed faces, and a whole lot of unhappy parents at the 3pm pickup.

When I finally did graduate from the right degree (Bachelor of Design) I had visions of how my graduation ceremony would go. I would graciously accept the degree, happily throw that hat in the air, and I’d be showered with gifts/compliments/general awe of my amazing achievement. Can you tell I’d been watching a lot of Laguna Beach at the time?

Unfortunately, that wasn’t meant to be my graduation fate. While collecting my degree, I tripped up the stairs in front of my parents, then boyfriend and 3,000 of my closest friends. Lucky for the voluminous robe otherwise it would’ve been a very different kind of stage show.

As as for throwing our graduation caps in their air, symbolising freedom and the rich air of possibility, well, it turns out those caps and gowns are really expensive to rent (hey, we were students at the time). No one was willing to risk losing their cap (and therefore $500 deposit) in the 3,000 strong crowd. Cue some lame cap throwing and catching on the lawn for the sake of a photo.

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3. Getting engaged. 

You know how in Hollywood when a man proposes marriage, the girl is always surprised? Always. Well, I wasn’t surprised.

My boyfriend was planning to whisk me away for a weekend under the premise of it being part of my birthday surprise. We were together for eight years, this was not regular occurrence – hint number one. Hint number two: Did I mention we’d been together for eight years? Hint number three: At my birthday drinks the night before my female friends cornered me and said, ‘He’s totally going to propose.’ They weren’t spoiling a surprise for me, it just felt like the world’s least kept secret.

And this is exactly how Nicky chooses to remember her engagement.

My husband still maintains he surprised me, which he kind of did because this story gets better. Since we went away immediately after my birthday drinks I was actually too hungover for him to go through with his plan to propose at sunset.

Romantic, huh?

Ultimately, he ended up proposing at sunrise the next morning (hint number four- we never got up before the sun) but instead of handing me a ring he bought out a giant box wrapped in Happy Birthday paper. I started thinking maybe I had misread the whole situation and if he got me out of bed at 5am to give me a bread-maker, I was not going to be happy.

I unwrapped one box, which contained another box inside, which contained another box inside, this went on until I got to the smallest box which had a sparkly loose diamond inside.

And then he asked me. So, it sort of was a surprise but more of a relief I wasn’t getting a bread-maker for my 28th birthday.

4. Giving birth (on my own).

Think about how you plan to birth life into this world. The person you made it with is probably there right? Maybe even a doula? Or your mum?

My now two-year-old daughter decided she was ready nearly five weeks early. My husband was away, I drove myself into the hospital and after a speedy delivery I gave birth to her on my own, save for a few midwives, an obstetrician, and four medical students I’d apparently consented to being in the room.

I’m aware that this is going to sound cheesy but for the first time I really discovered what my body could do. It left me with a newfound respect and confidence like no other experience ever has.

In the end, I wouldn’t have had it any other way. For me, the speedy delivery trumped having a room full of people I knew – as made evident by the rogue medical students. (And for the record, my mum made it to the labour ward with about one minute to spare.)

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What are the defining moments in your life? Did they go to plan?

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