One Order of Happily Ever After, Hold the Marriage

As long as he’s been able to speak, my 8-year-old has been philosophizing, rationalizing and challenging me. He’s not just precocious – he’s insightful, kind and caring. I knew it was just a matter of time before he said something that completely paralyzed my normally loquacious tongue.

We were passively watching David Turtera’s “My Fair Wedding,” and the boy asks me, “If you had a wedding, what would my role be?”

“IF we ever got married, you would have a very special role,” I assured him. “You would walk me down the aisle, maybe. But you don’t have to worry about it, because we’re NOT getting married.”

“Why not?” He countered.

“You know why not,” I answered, reminding him of his comment just a year ago. When we were moving in with my boyfriend of 5 years, he had asked if we were going to ever get married. I had told him the same thing, “I don’t think so.”

“Why do you think I don’t want to get married?” I was curious as to what he thought.

“Well you did it once before and it didn’t work out,” he came back at me, barely a second to think about it. He had just turned 7 years old that week. I was still getting used to not saying “my 6-year-old.” His logic never failed to amaze me.

Here we were about 18 months later and he had quite a different come back to the “never getting married” bit.

“Did you ever think that maybe it wasn’t the MARRIAGE?” He said this in a way that even the most experienced psychotherapist would never have broken it to me.

My mouth hung open. It wasn’t the first time he made me speechless – but it would become one of the memorable ones.

Later that evening I was tucking him into bed. This little man who still slept with dozens of stuffed animals once again turned into my baby. I cozied up to him and held him while John Lennon’s Beautiful Boy played in the background. This was the same goodnight ritual for the last 8 years.

He hugged me and whispered, “Would you want ME to get married?”

“I would want you to do whatever made you happy,” I said so motherly and politically correctly. Secretly I wondered, did I really want him to get married?

“Well, would you want me to take that RISK? Is it worth taking the chance of marrying the wrong person?”

I looked into his soulful brown eyes where wisdom lurked far beyond his years.

“Knowing what I know now, Yes, I would still do it again,” I told him.

“To have me, right?” He understood even more than I did. He has taught me lessons like no other teacher.

“Of course to have you – and to end up right where I am. It’s the road of life; to get to the rainbows, you first have to deal with some rain.” It was cliché and tasted as sour coming out as it sounded. But it was the cold hard truth.

But this boy got me thinking. (Finally!) I was so down on the institution of marriage, yet I wasn’t the type that abandoned dreams. Was I? I wasn’t the type to try something once and give up – or was I? If my excuse of doing it once and screwing it up was my reason for not wanting to get married again, then what kind of lesson was I teaching him?

It’s a frustrating question and an annoying assumption (although one I understand): “So when are you getting married?”

We’re celebrating our six-year anniversary next month; we have a 7-month-old gorgeous baby girl, and we are as happy as we have ever been. (Yes, it sounds nauseating even to me. I knock on wood every single time I even THINK about how lucky I am to be so in love with the man my daughter calls daddy.)

Why do we need to join the marriage club? We made promises to each other that are as valuable as that piece of paper that can [not so easily] be undone. We live as a family and don’t mandate a title that others feel compelled to procure. We are artists that live an nontraditional life; why should we join a traditional institution? Am I just hiding behind a veil of fear in the form of the cliché, “If ain’t broke don’t fix it?” Maybe.

Ironically, (or not so much) I’m a romantic. I want to believe in fairytales – but as I’m knee-deep, living this enchanted life I’ve created for myself, I think, would marriage really make it better?

My imagination just cannot compute that marriage > (is greater than) life today.

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One thought on “One Order of Happily Ever After, Hold the Marriage

  1. I'm kind of with you on this one Galina. Your son is truly amazing and scary with his insight but I think you too have an amazing insight. So many people who are happy do not appreciate being happy, they wonder “what if” or “if I'm this happy now imagine how happy I can be IF…..”
    You are able to appreciate and treasure the happiness you have and you want to protect it just like any other treasure people put in a safe. I am not against marriage (obviously since I am on #2) but I think I did it because I wanted children and felt I “should”. Looking back now, is THAT a reason to get married? We loved each other, we were happy living together and all the stressors started once we were wedding planning/seat assigning/blah blah blah. I wish I would have treasured those happy times more instead of wondering when/how/if we were going to make the next step…
    Enjoy your life, enjoy your love and if and when you decide to get married or not to get married as long as you do it together holding hands and hearts that is all that matters!
    My mother married #2 at 60years old after 20years of living together. They did it alone, without telling any of the 8 children combined and although I was upset at the time, I now think it was a beautiful statement. They didn't get married because all the kids, friends or siblings pressured them, they did it for the two of them. An intimate decision shared by the two of them which culminated into an intimate moment for just the two of them.

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