In the space of 90 days we have ended up getting invited to two weddings. Two lovely young women who used to babysit our children are getting married in the space of 90 days. Married. Grown ups get married.
How did this happen so quickly? Wasn’t this just me? They were just girls…girls who cooked noodles for my kids and then studied Chemistry after the kids went to bed. (unlike when I babysat and cooked noodles for the kids and then ate 3 bags of chips and watched MTV for 6 hours after the kids went to bed)
It’s so exciting and fun to be around them. It brings you right back to being in that stage and slaps you in the face because you aren’t that age now. When you are in your 40’s it seems there is a bit of a dry spell when it comes to weddings other than an occasional 2nd wedding. And so I find myself in a new era of the whole wedding thing. The basics of engagements, ring flaunting, showers, nationwide hunts for dresses, registries, guest list drama, etc. remain. And there is so much ahead for them. The reward for getting down the aisle and through the hoopla is to get to the fun ahead…twists and turns and piercing joy and breathtaking surprises.
However, it is not all roses.
I was at a bridal shower recently. It was so beautiful. The bride was happy and calm. Her family was lovely and thrilled. The hostesses were gracious and organized and welcoming. The gifts were plentiful and shiny and fresh. The things couples register for now are both amazingly sensible and snort worthy hilarious. Example: Shop vac (YES-you will need that-you should register for 3) and Bath Sheet: $80. That is a towel that costs $80. One towel. Only kings and queens should have bath towels that cost that much and only because they are drying off royal butts.
And while I am so very happy for these beautiful, educated, accomplished women…and I admit to being so charmed by the raw cuteness and puppy like excitement gazing into the eyes of their prospective spouse…I am definitely relieved to not be in their shoes (albeit some darling shoes!).
I imagine they may feel they have finally gotten to the on ramp of their real life. Their first true adventure…I remember feeling that way. But now I know better. I know they haven’t really even gotten out of the über ride to the terminal…not even close.
Even in youth you have a vague idea about how marriage might be “work”. It is a cliché often repeated. We will work on it. Put effort into it. We will compromise. It goes something like this-He likes to go golfing for 8 hours at a crack and I don’t like it. I won’t allow it. I will change him. Or, she cannot spend $35 on Tupperware glasses that we don’t even need. I won’t allow it. I will change her. (these happen to be real world examples from yours truly) Update: Rounds and rounds and rounds of golf happened and I bought the Tupperware. See below. Aren’t they incredible??? At this point I’m keeping them around to spite him.
But the ‘work’ isn’t just the two people and the micro compromises. It’s not the rambler vs. two-story debates. It’s not the “I wanted to go out for Italian food but you always prefer Indian food” arguments. It’s the overwhelming everything each person brings to the equation. And you don’t sign up for a lifetime with one person. Bonus: You get their entire extended family as a package deal and they get yours. And everyone has some crazy in the family…I mean crazy and I mean that bench runs DEEP. And the players on the crazy roster are ever-changing …and that can be very challenging.
Note: If it isn’t challenging now…at some point it probably will be.
And then the life happens. And you can talk about all the big things but you don’t know how the other person will react when all that happens. And you really don’t even know how you will react when all that happens.
The painstaking work is facing (together) all the best laid plans that fall apart, the disappointments, the mistakes, the unexpected river of crap that flows your way, the friends, the heart wrenching marriages of others, the heart wrenching divorces of others, the layoffs, the stress, the changing of both of you, the minute gains and catastrophic losses, the illnesses, the prolonged illnesses, the deaths.
Uh…this may be why I have not been hired to write engagement card content for Hallmark.
So, I was just thinking how nice it is to be further down the road. It’s a relief. I know a little more about how my spouse works and I know a little more about how I work. And I know volumes more about how we work together and we aren’t even done yet. We enjoy the stretches of contentment more than we did before. We appreciate them. I am happy for these young ones and I am saying prayers for them and crossing my fingers and wishing them well…because marriage is not for cowards.
P.S. If you have been married (for longer than…mmm…8 years) and it has been all happiness and rainbows and marriage has been one giant, fabulous Pinterest worthy experience…please get in touch with me. I’d like to hear your story. I assume you will be placing a collect call since you are in some sort of high security mental facility…totally fine. I’ll pay for the call.