Thursday, July 13, 2006

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams

This weekend marks our 6th wedding anniversary. And this is the twelfth year that M and I have been together.

On my wedding day I was happy and at peace. I married without fear or reservation. When we had Grow old with me engraved in our wedding bands, a sentiment from our favorite John Lennon song, I didn’t doubt that we'd make it to old age together.

Looking back, even just six years later, I’m astounded by how… unfinished I was. As a person. We were sure, but we didn’t know things that only time and experience can teach. We didn’t see how our personalities had yet to solidify. If you had informed me that I was still very much in my formative years on the day of my wedding, I would have scoffed at you. I know I would have said, "I know who I am! I won’t change!"

But I did.

And luckily, I’m married to a man who doesn't feel cheated by those changes. Step right up, men! Here’s a lovely, church-going girl. Who wants to marry her?

Would the salesman have lost his customer if he added that the religious belief came with only a one-year warranty?

It could have been one of a dozen other things. Buy a social worker, get a librarian! Bet on a neat-freak, win a cluttered dining room table! Order one woman who doesn’t care where she resides, receive one who wants to buy a farm! (I know... of all things...)

No matter how well you know and love someone, it’s a crapshoot, isn’t it? A wedding ring isn’t a magic preservation device. It’s not a guarantee that its keeper (or her dreams) will remain the same.

We’ve been incredibly lucky in marriage. We're in love, but we're also friends. Real friends. Neither of us can fathom getting a divorce, but I suspect that if our marriage did break up someday, we would remain close.

When we first met, I had this feeling that M would be an important person in my life. It went something like this!

My eyes settle on the young man before me. As I step forward and shake his hand, a heavenly light shineth upon me and a loud voice commandeth, "Ye have met yer future husband! Ye shall merry, and i' shall be good!"

(Why does God always sound Scottish in my head?)

Okay, I'm lying about the heavenly encounter. But I did have a feeling. Back then I might have told you that this was God speaking to me, but now I think it was that thin but critical slice of insight that only snap judgment can provide.

That confidence didn't fade.

Before we married it never occurred to us to worry about the things that might change, but we did disucss something that might not change: I couldn’t promise I’d want to be a mother someday. I knew I wasn’t ready to have children then, and I didn’t know if I’d ever be ready. He said he was willing to take that chance.

Well, guess what?

It's eight years later. He's ready, and I'm still not.

We set several tentative “start trying!” dates, and I extended them. All of them. We’ve discussed it ad nauseam.

We should save more money.
We should enjoy being worry-free.
We should travel more.
We should get a bigger house first.


We should.

We should.

We should.

I’ve embraced many changes in myself, but I’m finding lots of reasons to postpone this one. And the certainty that's visited me at critical junctures in the past seems to be MIA.

The truth is, I'm scared to death of being a mother.

The issue isn’t splitting us up. But it’s there. And while I know M would still love me, still want to be my husband even if my lack of baby-readiness is the one thing about me that NEVER changes, I know that my dreams are tied up in his dreams of being a father.

That’s what marriage is. Dreams intertwined.

Pull on one, and all of them move.

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13 Comments:

Blogger Frema said...

What a poignant post. How lucky you are to have such an understanding husband. And how lucky HE is to have such a self-aware wife. I'm sure things will be wonderful for the two of you, no matter what happens.

8:51 PM  
Blogger Rude Cactus said...

Wonderful and very, very true. Happy anniversary, a bit early :)

9:43 PM  
Blogger sparkles anonymous! said...

Wow... beautiful post.

12:11 AM  
Blogger His suzy said...

Happy Anniversary! That was so beautiful. Are you trying to make me cry at work? :)

10:18 AM  
Blogger verniciousknids said...

Congratulations Liz, 12 years together is a real achievement!

11:28 AM  
Blogger Heather B. said...

Loved that. Congratulations!

2:39 PM  
Blogger jef said...

Nicely written. Happy Anniversary to both of you. More years to come.

3:14 PM  
Blogger Bearette24 said...

happy anniversary!

4:51 PM  
Anonymous Jenny said...

Wow. I've so been there. When we started "trying" I was terrified and even when I had Hailey I still didn't feel like I was prepared. I still wonder how I got into this whole motherhood thing (not that I'd change it!) just like I wonder how I got into this whole marriage thing. I guess we're all like that a little bit.

7:25 PM  
Blogger Elsa said...

Happy Anniversary, Liz.

You are so right about how we change...never having suspected that we would change or need to change.

It sounds like you have a wonderful marriage. I understand about not wanting children. I am 39 and have never wanted children - even when I was in high school, I said I didn't ever want children. I have changed in many ways, but that is one thing I have not changed my mind on. Good luck with your journey.

12:23 AM  
Blogger Carolyn said...

Happy Anniversary!

Your husband sounds like a wonderful man.

May you have many more years together.

4:24 PM  
Blogger MsCellania said...

Hello, visiting from Carolyn's site where I've been admiring your dog photo for months.

I married late. A shotgun wedding at - YES! 44 years of age! My wedding ensemble was a maternity cocktail gown and a pile of kleenex - I could not stop crying. I STILL wasn't ready to have children.

We now have 2 sons, 5 and 6. I don't always do a great job every day, but good enough. They eat, they laugh, they sleep. Oddly enough, I do all those things too.

Having children isn't for everybody. But I bet you would make some lucky kid a great mother. Whatever age you decide to do it.

Or Not.

PS I really enjoy your blog so far. I'll read more later!

4:35 PM  
Blogger Liz said...

Thanks for stopping by, Vickee. And for the words of encouragement, all!

I need them.

7:27 PM  

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