When I wrote last week’s post about the negative stories we’re being told about marriage, it was not because I believed every word of it, or that I thought we were doomed for a lifetime of misery (Me? Not stubbornly think I (now we) can do it our own way? Ha!) No, it was because I’ve started a careful practice of listening to what I hear said about married life. I’ve been trying to listen to the ways people use the word wife in casual conversation, for example (not recommended for the faint of heart), or the way people talk about partnership, or parenting. While I’ve been flat out freaked by the stories we tell and automatic responses we give about adult life, I’ve also been really humbled by the power of positive examples.
This weekend David and I ran into a friend that we’ve known for… ever… She’s always been a firecracker and a leetle bit of a troublemaker and she has recently added mother-of-two-that-I-would-most-like-to-emulate to her resume. As I snuggled her five month old son (I rank among the top 1% in the world for enjoyment of ‘ickels – see wedding pictures for proof), I chatted with her about the doom-and-gloom parenting talk we’d been hearing lately. And she looked me in the eye and then looked at David and said, “Nonsense. Having kids is wonderful. And the only thing I can’t do now that I could do then is go to Europe on a whim. Now we plan to go to Europe.” (And they did too. For two whole months with a two year old.)
And just like that, the future opened up again. If they could be both unconventional and fantastic parents, so could we. I’m also a firecracker and a lettle bit of a troublemaker with a knack for the ‘ickels.
So. In these last pithy posts of 2009, and I wanted to honor the importance of sharing our stories, wedding stories, marriage stories, strong-lady stories, and so funny I can’t stop telling them stories (see Lauren’s comment about the bladder surgery here). It takes guts to tell your story to and audience this big, and I am in awe of those of you who are willing to go down deep here, and say honest and sometimes painful truths, and to tell stories of the moments when you were really nuts.
Toni Morrison has a quote that says, “The function of freedom is to free someone else,” and that is what you are doing when you say what’s hard to say out loud. You make someone who’s really in the midst of it, free.
And with that, next up, we’ll close out the pithy part of the year with Marie-Eve talking about parenting and marriage, all bound up together, and telling us why it will be wonderful. Next…