After spending a lovely Friday evening at an outdoor Eric Clapton concert with Dave and R (marred only by the drive home thru a frightening storm/tornado combo that left ¼ inch of water on our new kitchen floor and somehow violently murdered all of the fish in our fish tank – sniff, sniff), we set off Saturday morning for a wedding in suburban Chicago, not far from my peeps in Aurora.
The wedding was beautiful. The weather was perfect, the bride ravishing, the groom appropriately sober. It was a great party, and some horrible bartender really misjudged my ability to take in alcohol and dreadfully over-served me. Or maybe I just over-ordered.
As Dave and I get older, the weddings we attend are fewer and further between (is that grammatically correct?), and I grow more and more circumspect. There was a time when I would go to weddings with an eye toward stealing ideas or seeing what didn’t work. After my own wedding was over, I was so happy that another couple would be as happy as we were.
Now, things are a little different. We’ve been married nearly six years, together for nearly a decade, and we’re parents. Not that any of those things make us experts at marriage or even really good at it. Sometimes I feel like we suck at it. But we keep doing it.
I watched Dave’s fraternity brother repeat his vows (couldn’t hear them over the noise of the golf cart carrying the kegs), and I thought they had no idea what they were in for. I certainly didn’t when I stood before those I held dear and said I’d spend the rest of my days and nights with this man. I would even say I still don’t know. But I know marriage is a little different than I thought it would be September 21, 2002.
Back then, I heard everybody say that marriage would be a lot of work. I knew that. I just didn’t know exactly what that meant. And I don’t know what that will mean in the future. But now, I know it means that sometimes I don’t even like him. And sometimes I don’t like who I am because of the way I treat him. Sometimes I am a bitch. Sometimes he is an asshole. We are both stubborn people, and, unfortunately for him, he is the only person in the world with whom I feel comfortable being confrontational.
Sometimes, I feel like parenting has brought out the worst in our relationship. Our patience is worn thin, we’re exhausted, we have little (no) time to just hang out and be ‘Dave and Michelle.’ Our time and attention is focused on R, leaving hardly any time for each other or ourselves. Slightly different parenting philosophies and mommy guilt don’t help.
But we love each other. And we try. And we work. And we live each day together, even the ones in which we want to kill each other, knowing that tomorrow will be a new challenge that we face together. So, newlyweds, my advice would be to live it up now. This is the easy part.
And I’m willing to take my own advice, too – I know that things aren’t likely to get any easier from here on out. We will face different tests and climb different hills. But we face them together, hands firmly locked together and eyes toward the same horizon.