Archive for February, 2011

h1

Happy Anniversary to Us.

February 3, 2011

Last night, WD and I went out to celebrate our anniversary.  It was our 4th wedding anniversary.  We went to a fabulous restaurant and had a thoroughly enjoyable meal.  I swear, I would go back there today, if I could afford to (I can’t).

When we went to New Orleans, we ate in restaurants as good as this one, maybe better.  They were all definitely more famous.  One of Emeril’s restaurants, another that is – I don’t know – 500 years old or something?  In the Garden District.   And because we were in the south, all of those meals were almost a full $100 less than last night’s.

But, it was our anniversary, and we budgeted for it, and we deserved it.

[We had steak.  It was delicious.]

[I had oysters.  Again, delicious.]

[I also had a fantastic cocktail with my oysters.]

[and two fantastic glasses of wine with my steak & salad.]

[and while we chose not to have dessert, WD hadn’t yet finished nursing his drink, so I ordered myself some Grand Marnier.  I love that stuff.  It is so amazing.]

________________________

For the past few years, I’ve been irritated when people ask how long WD and I have been married.  Not irritated with people for asking, but irritated with what I have to answer.

This was our 4th wedding anniversary.  We got married in 2007, on Groundhog Day, in Provincetown, MA, in front of a Justice of the Peace, and no one other than Mouse and Lemon in attendance.

We weren’t going to get married.  When we first started dating, we both talked about our disapproval of the institution.   We both had failures in our past (his more distant than mine), and weren’t really all that convinced that “marriage” was so important.   Our relationship progressed, and our minds didn’t change.

We aren’t members of a church – or even of a faith.  So that wasn’t pushing us toward marriage.  We lived in Berkeley, CA, and several of our peers were in long-standing relationships, children & all, that did not have a marriage certificate to go along with. Looked good to us.

But when we moved to New England, it felt different.

Now, if we believed in marriage at the time – if we thought “marriage is the final expression of our love for one another, proof of the commitment we are making to each other” – I believe we would have done it before moving to New England together.  Because of the girls, that step was not taken lightly.  It was the first time WD lived with the girls, that he became a part of the family.  We wouldn’t have done that on a whim, and without having taken many smaller, building steps before hand.

But we didn’t.

So as we acclimated to our new town, our new community, I found myself struggling.  “How do I introduce him?”  I started with “this is my partner,” which was fine, but seemed overly formal (and led more than a few people to assume that my “partner” was a woman … not sure why, come to think of it.  I live in one of those awesome states where gay and straight people are allowed to marry …)

And “Boyfriend” sounded so … unclassy.   I *hated* to hear the girls say, “well, my mom’s boyfriend lives with us.”  It just didn’t adequately represent how we felt.

The girls both expressed their desire that we get married.

And so, after many conversations and discussions, we did it.

We made it low-key, and we didn’t really feel like it was the start of anything.  It was just the formalization of something that had been in place for years.

But still, this was my fourth wedding anniversary.  Even though we’ve been a family for 6 1/2 years.

And that was bothering me.  I was almost resentful of it.

For some reason, starting this year, it doesn’t bother me anymore.  I’m okay with it.  We’ve been married for 4 years.  We’ve been a family for 7.  He and I have been together for 9.

And that’s fine.

 

Advertisements
h1

3:53 on a Wednesday Afternoon

February 2, 2011

I’m sitting on my couch right now, in my loungewear.  I haven’t yet made it to the shower, but I have had several conference calls, shoveled the mini-deck, to ensure it doesn’t collapse under the weight of 6 storms’ worth of snow, marshaled several 13 year olds in and out of the house, made [warmed up] lunch for Lemon and myself, and cleaned out my Keurig.

Thank you, snow.

Even if you did turn to rain at a ridiculously early hour, dashing my hopes for snow higher than my head (when added to the previous storms …)

It’s nice to have a mid-week break.

[Cue weird kaleidoscope screen and warbly music indicating a flashback]

Before I moved back east and went to law school, and before WD and I were living together/married, I worked as a paralegal/legal assistant for a solo family law practitioner in Oakland, California.  I made enough money to cover rent and childcare and decent meals.  The girls and I were not totally destitute.  We lived in one of the most expensive housing markets in the country and had a decent amount of space.  Things were pretty good.

But I was sad about how little time I had with them.  We would get up early in the mornings, and I would put them on a school bus.  Then I’d hop on my bike and get to work by 9:10.  I would leave at 5, and pedal like mad (up a huge-ass hill) to get to their extended day program before it closed at 5:30.  Then we’d take a city bus from their school to our home – with my bike mounted on the front of the bus – and trudge in the door after 6.  If the bus was running late (as it often was), it was WELL after 6.  Mouse was a high sleep need child, so she’d often crash into the bed shortly before 8.

It wasn’t the life I’d envisioned.  I’d pictured myself in their classrooms occasionally, having their friends over after school, greeting them with cookies or some other home made treat.  [I bet if I did stay an at-home mom, that baking would have never happened …]  But life didn’t work out that way.  My marriage didn’t work out that way.

Fortunately, I had a relatively flexible employer who valued me as her employee, and who agreed to a reduced time schedule WITHOUT a reduction in pay.  (Whaaa?  Sounds nothing short of miraculous to me right now.)  Yeah.  She let me take Wednesdays off.

The girls and I LOVED our Wednesdays.

I still put them on the bus, but then I went home and had a cup of coffee and did other things around the house.  I was at their school by 10 a.m. (which wasn’t far away – maybe 1/2 mile –  we only used the bus in the morning because it allowed me to head toward work earlier).  At 10, I checked in with Mouse’s kindergarten teacher and got my marching orders.  I spent two hours helping to wash paint off little hands, reading stories, helping with handwriting, and generally enjoying those freaking adorable kids.  Mouse loved having me there.  It really made her day.

Then at noon, I went to the 2nd grade classroom.  Less stories for me to read, and no paint for me to wash – but there was still plenty to do.  We played math games, I helped with some of the earliest of book reports, I graded papers.  I loved getting to be a fly on the wall, watching the kids’ dynamics in the classroom.

After school, I had my weekly opportunity to chat with other parents while the kids played on the playground.  Then we’d walk down a short hill to one of my favorite parts of Berkeley, and head to the library.  Usually with many of the girls’ classmates and their parents.  The girls and I would then take our books, and maybe a friend or two, and head to the coffee shop.  They would have a lemonade and a cookie and I would have a cup of coffee, and we’d sit and look at our books, or chat with their friends.

We all three talk about those Wednesdays with much fondness.

Although – I think I was infinitely more exhausted at the end of a Wednesday than I was on any other day of the week!

I wonder what it would be like now, if I had Wednesdays off again.  I think it would be more me-time than kid-time.  I know it wouldn’t be spent volunteering in classrooms!  Can you imagine?  Me showing up at Lemon’s high school, following her from class to class, asking the teachers, “What can I do to help you today?”  “Uhh, get your kid in therapy now, because she’s gonna need it!”