The girl recently went to sleep away camp. I liked the camp, the campus and the joy that the incoming kids so obviously gave the young ‘full of life’ counselors. What sealed the deal was the mission of the campers.To be their own best self.
What a lovely notion. To be one’s own best self. That is what children and adults alike should practice as a simple rule of existence.
Daily, I fight the committee in my head about all the things I should be doing to make me a better Mom, Woman, Lover and Friend. The practice of being who I am today comes with great challenges.
My 10 year marriage anniversary was on Thursday, August 18th. It’s been over a year since we “separated”; and it has been so many more, that we have known our relationship was different. Special if I may. We weren’t really sure how to celebrate. We had special gifts picked out for one another. Tokens that are luxurious and seem appropriate for the labor of love that goes into our relationship. What we didn’t do was have a romantic dinner, we didn’t watch a movie. We didn’t kiss, or hold hands. We greeted with a hug. This comes with the same exhaustion that comes with the responsibilities of children, families and business. I held him quickly and with awkward reserve.
Our relationship has not sustained the years because of any sort of passion between he and I. Make no mistake about it. My husband is handsome, charming and undoubtedly the sweetest man I know. He never liked to kiss me. I like to kiss. He always said it was because I smoked or because it was too intimate. Whatever the reason, no matter, I accepted it.
We lived together before we got married. We both liked to travel, had jobs and no real itineraries. We hinted at marriage here and there and he proposed in 2000. I ended up pregnant after I picked my platinum Cinderella dream dress, of course. We married when I was six months pregnant with The Girl.
By then his lesbian sister had moved in with us in our tiny apartment and she was more than comfortable staying forever. Not really ideal for an early relationship. She was very depressed and unhealthy to be around. It got to be too much when I would keep turning on my computer to find gay porn. Finally, she moved when The Girl was born. When had I gotten pregnant I was willing to terminate the pregnancy. He would have none of that. She is our first born and we can’t imagine life without her.
I now know the reason I was willing to terminate was because deep in my heart I knew he lacked that passion for me.
Our son was born three and a half years later. An amazing 11 pound almost immaculate conception.
When The Boy was two and a half we chose to terminate our third pregnancy.
We have had sex three times since we got married. For a long time I craved touch. And, like the good addict that I am I became fascinated with anything outside of myself. Certainly not my best self. Aside from the initial hundred pounds extra I heaved around for a couple of years; I have done well accomplishing emotional, athletic and educational goals. What else does a woman do when she is only mom. And “wife”.
In 2007, the year Carrie went back to Mr. Big in Paris. I started smoking again while my husband was out of the country and the Sex in the City finale was on HBO. When he came home I asked for marriage counciling to help us figure it out. He plainly told me no. He reminded me that he was a good husband and a good provider. Both of which are true.
It wasn’t until I was training for the 2009 Chicago Marathon that I stopped wearing my wedding ring completely. At first it was the running, then it was I wanted to be seen as an individual. After Matthew died, I was too busy training to worry about that sort of nonsense anymore. I am gearing up for a long run again. It seems to comfortably detach me from the chaos in my mind.
I deeply and truly love my husband and I haven’t quite figured out how we are going to live our lives together. I know that in the past year we have grown as a couple and as individuals immensely. We are definitely a modern family and can only be our best selves today. With our children always in the forefront and our deep respect for each other I somehow feel ours is a marriage that is not common. It is special.
We celebrate our 10 years of success in an uncertain world. A world with often unrealistic expectations from society about how a family should look.