The time has come to talk about the “M” word. When you're a pregnant woman, this could refer to any number of incredibly fun and awkward topics: menstruation, mammary glands, mucous plugs. But I'm talking about the really big, hairy, complicated “M” word. I'm talking about marriage.
Truthfully, I'd rather discuss mucous plugs. Talking publicly about emotions is my Achilles heel it makes me itchy and sweaty and hideously uncomfortable. My default is to a) make contextually inappropriate jokes, or b) just shut down completely. Example: During my wedding where I idiotically chose to improvise my own vows on the spot I quipped that I “couldn't make any promises” before laughing insensitively through my husband's entire tearful, heartfelt pledge to me.
I mentioned in an earlier blog that children were never part of my life plan until I met my husband. It's also the case that marriage was not part of the plan until I met my husband. It seemed so old-fashioned and unnecessary; not at all conducive to the high-powered, career-oriented lifestyle I'd mapped out. I had relationships, don't get me wrong, but I never had the desire to slap an official label on any them. And that's all I really viewed marriage as a bureaucratic stamp of sorts.
But then I met Cam. And there was an instant feeling that could best be described as admiration. And maybe a touch of jealousy. The guy is just warm. He smiles easily. He laughs easily. He's sweet and trusting. When he listens, he really listens. I was (and still am) just kind of dazzled by that. My brain isn't exactly a warm place. It's riddled with conflict and anxiety and doubts and second guesses. I'm always working the angles, trying to read between the lines. And all that adds up to a caustic, private, prickly girl who doesn't like hugs and suffers mortal wounds at the slightest provocation.
But Cam's warmth has this addictive, radiating quality that spills over into the people around him. It's changed me for the better, which is odd, considering that he's never asked me to be anyone other than exactly who I am. But that's what he does just by being exactly who he is, he makes me smile more. Laugh more. Trust more, listen more. When I'm with him, I feel safe and heard and understood without really knowing why. It's a gift, truly.
As our relationship deepened, I began to realize that marriage was more than a government formality. It truly is a partnership. It's an agreement between two people to share everything with one another the triumphs, of course, but also the tragedies, the mistakes, the missteps. It's no small thing to make yourself that vulnerable with another person. But I knew inherently that I could trust Cam with the responsibility. I was less confident that I could be the same unconditional partner for him (see “caustic and prickly” above), but I knew for the first time in my life that I wanted to try.
In the same vein, I am still less than confident in my ability to be a patient, nurturing mother to my child. I'm no Joan Crawford, but let's face it, I'm no Donna Reed either. I am thankful every day, however, that my child will have Cam as a father. They will grow up with his kindness and generosity as a permanent fixture in their life, the way it's been a fixture in mine these past nine years. They will learn, as I have, that his love for them is a true and unwavering harbor in any storm. When the time comes, I'm sure I will be a passable mother, but I know in my heart that my husband my partner will make us a family.