When I was in my early twenties and off-and-on single, I used to make lists of the qualities I was looking for in a man. These lists were often written by hand in my journals. Back then I did all my writing by hand, in hardcover journals I bought at Cole’s bookstore at the Pen Centre; my favourite ones had prints of famous paintings on the covers and were lined but not dated. I spent a good amount of time sitting in diners, alone, with a novel or self help book and always a journal, sipping tea or something stronger, reading and writing.
It felt right and somehow very writerly.
...Tolerant of all people
...Handsome and Funny
...Enjoys talking about the important things
...Likes the same books, music and movies as me...
The lists went on and on in great detail. When I think back on it I realize what I was really looking for, was my idealized self.
It took another decade to learn that I could be all those things to myself.
In my mid thirties, when I saw that this thing really was on with Shaune, that after nearly 10 years of our own off-and-on, we’d finally given into the fact that we should stay together, build a life, start a family, I stopped thinking in terms of ideals and looked instead to what was right in front of me.
Because I think we all get swayed by the fairy-tale version of marriage; we want the celebrity and Pinterest versions too. We get so caught up in what it’s supposed to be like, these imaginary benchmarks we’ve helped perpetuate, that we forget to mine our own relationships for the gold that lies within.
The more I learn the truth about what it takes, what it really takes to make a marriage work, the more I know we have a good thing, a really good thing.
Last Friday night the kids foiled Shaune’s plans to surprise me with a diamond ring for our fifth anniversary tomorrow. After dinner Deaglan asked “if we could give Mommy her big, big surprise.” I was stunned to learn that I hadn’t really lost my wedding band (two weeks prior, I'd taken it off to let one of the kids look at it, got distracted by the phone ringing and two days later noticed I no longer had it) but that Shaune had actually found it and used it to get the ring he bought sized.
When we got married, neither one of us felt right about spending money on a diamond since we’d only recently bought a house, paid for a wedding ourselves and had a growing eight month old boy to finance. I told him at the time that it might be a nice gift for a fifth anniversary. Since then he went back to school, and quit a well paying job to take supply work.
Which is all to say I was not expecting it.
And that the ring is beautiful and sturdy, the diamond just the right size and sparkle, and that I know for certain I would not have picked one that was different, says something about us I think.
Happy Anniversary Honey. I wouldn't have picked anyone but you!