Something really grown up is happening. In fact, I’ve been heard gasping, “life is happening!” on numerous occasions to several wonderful people who make my world go round. And on the contrary, it’s also been brought to my attention that some things haven’t happened at all. Here’s the mature yet static line-up:
My oldest and longest best friend, the one I used to play motorcycle mamas with, is getting married to an older, successful man. When that day comes, I know she’ll be the most beautiful bride I’ve ever seen and her walk down the aisle will be perfection – I mean we’ve only been practicing “the walk” since we were three.
My most fun friend, my crazy counterpart, the one I’ve danced with in tutus on tops of furniture in after hours nightclubs and other louder-than-life establishments is considering starting a non-profit, and might even leave Sin City in her Jordan hightops’ dust once and for all.
The number of friends with babies is really starting to rival the number of those without. And as far as I’m concerned, you really shouldn’t have a baby in a bar.
Men look at me like I’m supposed to be someone’s wonderful wife, and are completely baffled to learn that no one has locked me down yet. They also vocalize that all my boyfriends should have known better. I accept the compliment and ponder the reality.
And my guy’s little guy, we’ll call him Kyle, wishes I’d turn 30 because he feels like that’s a “nice age” for me to “become a wife and mom.” It is currently 8 days before my 29th birthday.
Yes, I’m pretty wide-eyed and in awe of all of this life happening before me. I also keep myself quite busy reassuring everyone else that I really am OK with my unwed relationship status and unused childbearing hips, which is actually a great relief – this contentment just might be the single thing I’m not bat shit crazy about. I’m calm and going with the flow, I just don’t see what the big rush is. So after the fourth, “when are you going to marry my dad?” inquiry of the summer, I took a stab at real talk. I explained to Kyle that I like being a girlfriend and dating, because once we get married, I’ll never date again, and I really enjoy dating. His mind was blown to bits; and as he skipped off, the way all small 6-year olds do, he looked at me like, “You pick up my confused bits, Smilfy.” And so I did. I know he’ll need them for the next time he tries to will a marriage on me.
People, children especially, crave structure and tradition and stability. I get that. I also feel it – on occasion, about some things. Thinking back, I know that I shared Kyle’s enthusiasm for marriage when I was young and wore an unbroken heart on all my sleeves, but like I said, life happens – things like divorce, infidelity, career ambition, and newly single moms who don’t know who they are at age 42 because they’ve been married since they were 18 tend to tarnish the shine that matrimony used to gleam when my best friend and I took turns playing the dashing groom and white pillow case veiled bride. I’d like to say that all of this romantic experience and observation has made me vigilant, because it sounds more eloquent, but the truth of it is, I’m just scared.
My boyfriend, the one I’m enjoying dating and calling my bf, recently compared me to a marlin. He says it took him well over a year to reel me in; I just wouldn’t come aboard. And that even now, it occasionally looks like I might just jump ship with no notice, for no clear reason at all. I looked into his soft, lash-lined blue eyes and gripping, expressive eyebrows and felt equal parts guilty and glad. Guilty, because, in hindsight, I probably didn’t need to put up such a long fight; especially when I could feel his adoration for me from the moment we met. My gladness though, that was a proud feeling. I could picture it – I was a majestic marlin thrashing in a sea of house music, resisting his affection for fear of losing my sense of self, my independence, my balance, my single status. Aren’t all fish afraid of getting hooked? I was actively fighting for me – the only person who I could ever really rely on. I fought and I fought. And then I let myself get caught.
I watched Kyle walk ahead of me – kicking rocks in his path, still shaking off bits of his mind – and made a Smilfy promise to fortify his big heart in the same way I have learned to protect mine. He will grow to know that love is as grand and real as it feels; more important than even the best storybook could detail; more special than a box of candy; feels more magical than a bear hug; more fun than riding with no handlebars; and worth waiting for, because when you’re beautiful and independent – even if you are a little scared – only the strongest fisherman will do, and in the mean time, it’s best to enjoy the waves, they’re the journey that majesty is made of.