Eight Years of Marriage Later

I met and married My Chemical Romance in the span of 10 weeks, while we lived across the country from each other. We met on hotornot.com and communicted via instant messenger (yes, I’m showing my age now) and eventually the phone. We met a total of five times in person before we got married; every other weekend he flew out to Michigan. Animal and Mineral were three months old when we met and six months old when we got married.

My parents vetted My Chemical Romance by hiring a private investigator to check up on him. They paid the PI $500 and weren’t impressed with what they found out: My Chemical Romance is pretty straight-and-narrow. The most interesting thing they found out, I already knew: He’d once given a  man five $20s for a $100 which turned out to be counterfeit. When he tried to use the $100 — at In-N-Out Burger — the manager had called the police, who called in the Secret Service. They interviewed My Chemical Romance and realized he was just, let’s call it naive, and that was it.

So here we are, nearly eight years later. We had The Informant; he adopted Animal and Mineral; we had My Masterpiece and Porcelain. We’ve lived in San Diego; Yuma, Arizona; and Charlotte, NC, where I hope we stay for a long time. We’ve owned three houses: one with an adjustable-rate mortgage that I’m glad we sold quickly because now it would probably cost $4000/month; one that was awesome and amazing and the perfect house except it was in Yuma, Arizona; and our current house which is large but cheaply-built and therefore kind of sucks, and also sits way too close to the busybody neighborhood queen.

When we got married I was morbidly obese and he did all the cooking and we had a cleaning person. Now I’m thin and do all the cooking and neither of us cleans much. We’ve changed a lot about the way we run our household — specifically what we eat — and we’ve grown more and more liberal, socially. When we met I had not breastfed and would not have wanted a homebirth and now I’ve had two (although I’ll never go further and say I want an unassisted homebirth). And I plan to nurse Porcelain til she’s nine.

The most difficult part of our marriage is that we didn’t know each other well, and also I didn’t know myself well. I look back on the first few years of our marriage and I was lonely and needy and uncomfortable. My Chemical Romance couldn’t fill all the emptiness I felt. I was still growing accustomed to being a mother — of twins — and then I became a wife. I’d lived in Michigan my entire life, but suddenly I was in beautiful sunny San Diego — and it felt strange after the cold flat dull midwest. Suddenly I had tons of family: two mothers-in-law and a father-in-law and two sisters-in-law, and many many aunts- and uncles-in-law and lots of cousins. I am an only child with a small extended family. They were all kind but I was overwhelmed and a little bewildered.

Now, eight years later, I’d love to live there and have all my in-laws nearby; I’d love the opportunity for my children to know their family and also for the opportunity for free babysitting. I’d love to take my kids to do all the cool things you can do in San Diego: beach! Sea World! San Diego Zoo! bonfires! sand castles!

Overall I could say that I wouldn’t recommend marrying a complete stranger, but that’s over-simplifying the situation. We have had several issues, including starting our marriage with two children and adding from there, being virtual strangers, and my own brand of anxiety crazy that does affect the whole family.

I’ve learned a lot about time. Time, which heals all wounds, can also make a marriage that includes a lot of changes. Sometimes things are uncomfortable and only the passing of time can make them more normal. Every time I drive down one stretch of highway, I have a visceral memory of just moving here and being on the verge of tears because I didn’t know where the hell I was but taking a deep breath and telling myself that someday I’d feel okay about driving that stretch of highway. (485 between Pineville-Matthews and South Blvd, near 77. Now I drive it a lot. Even my parents are familiar with that area.)

I think I’m a better wife and mother than eight years ago; I know a little more about what My Chemical Romance needs and what the kids need, and what I need. I have friends who fill in the gaps of my emotional neediness that requires I dissect every aspect of life. My Chemical Romance doesn’t have that particular need. He fixes everything around the house; I’ve learned that’s his way of saying I LOVE YOU AND WANT YOU IN A HOUSE THAT DOESN’T DRIP OR BREAK OR FLOOD OR FALL ON YOUR HEAD. I ask him exactly what he wants for his birthday or father’s day or our anniversary and get him exactly what he wants because that’s my way of saying I LOVE YOU AND WANT YOU TO HAVE THIS THING WHICH IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT EVEN THOUGH I’D REALLY PREFER TO SURPRISE YOU WITH SOMETHING YOU DON’T WANT BUT THAT I THINK IS REALLY COOL BUT YOU’LL INEVITABLY HATE.

I’ve learned. I’m still learning.

Happy almost-anniversary to us (in the next few weeks) and may the next eight years not bring any babies or moves.

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