13 March 2002

Mutually Exclusive

15 March 2002

I'm a hopeless romantic at heart.  I'm also a ruthless pragmatist at heart and have been married for over ten years.  What does being married have to do with anything?  In my case, everything.

When I met my husband-to-be we were both in college, with not a lot of money for extras.  We also didn't `court' each other in anything resembling a traditional manner.  I was in a relationship when we first met and he was coming off of one.  We lived together (with two other friends) for one year, then lived together on our own for another year.  I remember riding in his car from his brother's house and sort of mutually deciding that we were officially `going out' (a fact that everyone around us had know for at least the last 3 months).  I don't remember exactly when we got officially `engaged' though I remember the presentation of the ring.  David brought me breakfast in bed (again at his parents house) and the ring was in my cereal box (I thought it was cute).  The presentation style was the only surprise-as we'd already discussed that we wanted to get married and we used my great-grandmother's engagement ring-so it wasn't exactly a secret.

So we never really `dated' and never had much time or inclination for other forms of traditional courtship.  I think this `meeting of the mind's style' is part of the reason we are still together over ten years later.  

By the time we had extra money to spend on anything, I had realized that I didn't want to spend money on things I would never use.  So even though my romantic side would love to get a spontaneous and expensive gift; my control freak side wants advance notice of any large expenditures.  Also, while I love the idea of jewelry-I almost never wear it.  I wear my wedding band and my glasses and that's about it most days.  I just recently had to stick some earrings in my ears just so the holes I begged for in 4th grade wouldn't grow closed.

This is a long way of saying that I can't have everything.  I know that and I still struggle with it.  I am a married woman with a 3 year-old, a housemate, a job and two pets.  All of which create both opportunity and obligation.  I am fortunate and I know it.

But I also have single friends (including my brothers) who travel a lot.  I have friends who don't have children or pets who can do things on the spur of the moment.  I have friends who live close in to the city and don't have to drive.  I have friends who are courting, and married.  Friends who are single by choice, and single by accident.

What I know is that I can't have the freedom of choice of a single person and still be married.  I can't drop things at a moments notice and still have a child.  I can't fly of to Norway for two weeks with out finding someone to cover my job and water the plants.

What I have is wonderful.  I love my parents, husband, son, and housemate.  I have really great friends who help me with my obligations.  But the fact remains that there is a lot that I would like to do that I simply can't.  I can't have everything because I have to make choices about the opportunities that come to me. 

Once those choices are made I have to live with (and enjoy) the consequences.