\"April

April and her Valentine John Photo by: Handout

The Irish Homecoming - My Forever American Valentine - meeting the love of my life in New York

\"April

April and her Valentine John Photo by: Handout

I also ran into my ex and his new girlfriend that night. That was a little awkward, but it was also nice to introduce John to him. (As I said we remained cordial to one another).

So it turned out to be a rather nice Christmas. An exciting one, probably the most exciting I’ve ever had. 

You know the first few weeks wondering if the boy will call, does he like me and all that goes with that. John and I spent the next few months casually dating, having meals out, getting to know one another slowly and it was really great. 

Our first official date sometime in February consisted of an afternoon of ice-skating in Central Park and sipping hot chocolate. It was just as I’d imagined it. 

Our relationship went from strength to strength over the years, and although like any relationship it went through its ups and downs, we had a very strong foundation that has kept us going through thick and thin. 

On November 16 (or was it the 14th -- we can never remember) 2008 and a few weeks before my 30th birthday John booked us into the Waldorf-Astoria in Manhattan for a weekend to celebrate my birthday. 

Little did I know that he was going to ask me to marry him later that night on a horse and carriage ride through Central Park. It was magical. We didn’t tell anyone. We wanted to savor the moment. 

The following day we were the first outside the jewelry stores in the Diamond District of the city, and it wasn’t long before I was wearing a fabulous ring. It was all happening. It was simply a fairytale -- my fairytale -- and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

We decided to go home to Kerry (John is from Limerick and I’m from Tralee) to get married the following December.  It was a fantastic year of planning. 

My mother and bridesmaids, Deirdre and Michelle, were instrumental in helping me do the stuff I couldn’t from New York. Two of my closest friends, Marion and Bernice, were with me when I purchased my dress in R.K. Bridal the January previous in New York. And my little princess Amy, who herself will be getting married this year in California, came to all my fittings. It was great. 

December 2009 wasn’t long rolling in. I came home a few weeks earlier than John because unfortunately my grandmother had passed away, but right on schedule John arrived home two weeks before our big day. 

Because we didn’t register with the state in Ireland in time we had to appear before a judge in Tralee District Court to prove we were not partaking in a sham marriage. This was scheduled for 10 days before our wedding. 

When we arrived at the court house on a drizzly November morning we were told by the court clerk that one other couple would be joining us to see the judge. No problem we thought. 

That was until I saw who the other couple was. Yes, you guessed right. It was my ex and his then fiancée (the same girl from New York). What are the chances, right?

It was awkward to say the least. But we chatted for the half hour or so while the four of us waited to see the judge. 

It really was like a scene from a movie. I hadn’t seen them in about four years. They moved home about a year after getting together and there they were, ready to take the plunge. 

It was ironic really because my ex told me on a few occasions he never wanted to get married or have kids. He is now married with three kids. 

I guess there is someone out there for all of us, and I’m very grateful every day to him for introducing me to New York and allowing me to meet the man of my dreams, the man I proceeded to marry on the happiest day of my life, Saturday, December 5, 2009. 

We are now happily married, and anyone who is familiar with this column knows we have two beautiful, healthy children (two and 11-months) whom we cherish with all our hearts. 

I love you John Mooney and thank God every day for that night in Behan’s many moons ago. I hope we will have a lifetime of happiness and when the going gets tough, we will come out the other end. 

Happy Valentine’s Day, New York!

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