Marriage—Who Needs It? I Do.

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In the early years of our relationship, when Lars and I were just out of college, we attended two weddings of our peers. The couples were pretty different from us—dating since their teens, religious—and we experienced the occasions like anthropologists observing exotic customs.

Then our mid-twenties arrived and, with them, a torrent of weddings. One after the other, our close friends all started getting married. These occasions allowed us to leave our ordinary lives behind for a weekend, drive to some inn or farm, don fancy clothes, and watch our peers act older and wiser than we felt.

Once Lars and I returned the rental car Sunday night, we’d be back to our cruddy apartment in Queens. Come Monday, I’d be sorting more newsclips for a boss who found me talentless and disappointing. The future did not seem fecund with promise; it felt unknowable and scary. On more than one occasion Lars had found me in our bathtub, sobbing into the water, telling him I’d peaked and was now a waste of space. While I believed in our relationship, I could not imagine declaring to the world my confidence in life ahead. Love was real, and we had plenty of laughs and joys together, but despair conquered all. (read more…)

Meet the Crazies

I’d like to think that I come off as a pretty normal, with-it, together type of person. This is something that’s important to me; it’s how I think of myself.

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In short, I hope that I seem like a warm, likable and very normal person from the outside. Those who know me well, of course, know the truth. (read more…)

The Eventual Family

cm057ph-marc-chagall_lovers-above-townA few weeks ago my husband and I took our first family vacation with our daughter Audrey, who had just turned 8 months old, in the Florida Keys. As I crawled into bed the first night, exhausted from an outing earlier that day, I thought, “We are finally beginning to feel like a family.” At 8 months into my daughter’s life this struck me as a very peculiar and uneasy thought.  

The birth of a child is accompanied by so much hope and anticipation that I think we sometimes lose sight of the fact that parenthood is born in the same moment. When my daughter entered the world, my husband and I were immediately thrust into new roles of mommy and daddy. In my head, these roles would effortlessly fit and feel natural because we had planned and wanted this to happen for so long. We wouldn’t be perfect at it, and it would be hard at times, but I was so sure our instincts would kick in and in an instant feel like a bonded unity. But that’s not what happened. (read more…)

A Hairy Situation

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My partner met my parents for the first time this November. The weekend of good-natured getting-to-know you conversations culminated with a night of take-out Chinese food dinner and scouring stacks of my baby photos. As we wrapped up, my dad asked: “You ready?” I nodded.

“Hey,” I said to my partner. “I’ll be back in 15 minutes. I have to go help my dad shave his back.” My partner’s eyes widened. My dad and I headed for the bathroom. (read more…)

Sorry, Baby, I Missed the Memo!

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One by one, my friends are becoming parents. There is a certain logic to this: we are in our early/mid 30’s, and it follows a few years of annually attending more weddings than I can count on one hand. But there is also something quite shocking to me about how universal it seems, like they are all reacting to cues given from off-stage that I cannot hear.

How are they all so coordinated, did I miss the memo? Maybe there was a letter that I should have received on my 30th birthday telling me that I should be preparing for parenthood with a sequence of events: wedding, home, stopping birth control, followed by labor and then 2am feedings. I imagine this memo must have hit a practical tone, with enough inspiration that everyone reading it saw a realistic, but exciting possibility and was eager to start down this prescribed path.

(read more…)