You know how when you are growing up, people are always asking what you wanted to be when you grew up? I had crazy answers over the years, but I know that the summer before my senior year of high school I told people I wanted to be a veterinary technician. Then in my senior year, I started telling people I wanted to be a nurse. I never wanted to be a nurse. I just wanted to go to a particular college and it had a good nursing program, so that's what I said to get what I wanted. Insert eye rolls here.
What I did want to do was go to college and meet my husband. I didn't date in high school and had never even kissed a boy. My mantra was "just wait 'til college", though in retrospect I wonder what I expected to happen in college. And in even further retrospect I wonder what in heck I thought was so great, and so immediately necessary, about finding a husband...
So it took my entire college career but I did find a husband. An inappropriate, ill-fitting husband. But I got married a year after I graduated. And you'd think that would have taught me an important lesson about getting married just for marrying's sake. We divorced after three years and my life took some really fabulous turns for the better.
And while I did a lot of things right, I still maintained this overwhelming idea that if I could just find "THE ONE", my life would suddenly be perfect. And all that time, I really was still just finding myself. What occurred to me the other day as I was mulling over a particular post topic, was that I would find a nice guy, who seemed to like me OK, and then I was all about trying to fit myself into whatever character that guy might want - all in hopes that he would love me, because then I could love him. Did I love him? In my memory of a few select guys, my brain doesn't say yes or no, it says "I could have". Big shocker then that the pressure of dating, which is bad enough, combined with the pressure on the guy to define what he wanted me to be, usually led to a quick end to any potential relationship. And once the romantic piece was over, we reverted to friends and generally have stayed in friends ever since. The two guys I'm thinking of as I write this were my romantic interests about 20 and 14 years ago...we're still friends...and this insight is just occurring to me NOW. Insert another eye roll here.
What occurred to me yesterday was that my search for that title of Mrs., which dates back as far as I can remember, had a lot more to do with my deep desire to belong to someone than it did with actually being married and engaging in the partnership of marriage and the responsibilities of parenthood. I think I wanted so badly to be wanted for myself alone and to have that primary relationship, that I would bend myself around in crazy ways and stand on my head to fit. The problem with my first husband was that he didn't want to belong to anyone, nor did he want to share anything with anyone...so there was no niche for me to fit myself into and thus I had to go. I am grateful to him for pushing me out, even though I know he wasn't doing it for my own good or any other altruistic reason, it was just a function of his own dysfunction. But it turned out well for me.
With all that said, I am now a Mrs. and a mom. And while I am very grateful for these roles, I was single and childless for a long long time in life (married at age 37) and there are days that I wonder what in the heck I was thinking by longing for this obligated and messy life. Grass is always greener on the other side of the fence, isn't it? Especially on hard days. But we are now officially on Spring Break and headed to Orlando tomorrow, and I intend to enjoy what I am sure will be an exciting and magical trip for the kids, and for us. Recharging starts NOW!