Thoughts of Thanksgiving
Last week I had lunch with an old friend from college.
He’s a wonderful guy, thoughtful, fun, warm, and very social. But after 15 years on Wall Street, he has a tendency to hide his softer side under a “Master of the Universe” exterior – which makes him prone to try to wrap his head around big life decisions ‘rationally’ just like he would approach a balance sheet analysis.
The topics of the day: marriage and the kids that naturally follow. He’s met a wonderful woman, who he loves very much – and is contemplating the heretofore unthinkable. But his rational mind was having a hard time ‘balancing’ the pros and cons…and he was stuck.
Here’s what I said to him (did I get it right? Any other thoughts/wisdom I should pass along?):
Marriage makes you “bigger” in the metaphysical sense. Having a spouse (and if you go there, kids) is a living reminder that you are connected to something bigger and universal. I am such a visual thinker that the only real way for me to describe it in words is to use geometric language. Marriage and kids basically take your life from a two-dimensional circle to a more interesting, multi-faceted, multi-dimensional shape. I sort of imagine “me” as a two-dimensional circle – lovely, and of course, perfect in its own right – but maybe a bit flat. Adding a spouse punches your circle out into a third dimension – making your life more like a 3-d hexagon (not so neat that you go from a smooth circle to a smooth sphere). Adding kids into the mix just adds to the facets on your hexagon – maybe even another dimension or two. Are there things that you “lose” from your perfect circle? Yes. Does it sometimes hurt to have your two dimensional world “punched out” into other dimensions? Yes. Can you compare the two? Not really. I’d say it’s damn near impossible to put the gains/losses into a balance sheet. Apples to oranges. Both really good. Just different.
Here’s what I mean:
What I have given up for husband/kids along the way:
– living in NYC
– being able to get up at 7am on a Saturday and go for a long run (temporarily given up – will start again once kids are older)
– going out to restaurants frequently
– limited ability to travel on a moment’s notice
– looking good in a bathing suit (hopefully just temporarily)
– blond hair
– Mani/pedis after Sunday brunch with good girlfriends
– window shopping
– the freedom to spend my money on the stuff I want to spend it on (vs. Tuition, arts & craft supplies, diapers, etc.)
Here are some of the things I’ve experienced because I have a husband/kids
– kissed a fat roll on a knee cap – did you even know knee caps could have fat rolls? They can! Lachlan has them. Delicious and hilarious.
– learned how to make the sound of an Amtrak horn like a pro for Will’s entertainment
– jumped in the leaf pile as a grownup
– watched a brain wire itself and start to really “get” humor/jokes
– heard the words “I love you, mommy”
– Get to hear a ‘bad joke of the day’ from Gar (he’s spectacularly punny)
– made amazing new friends (from Gar’s circle, from Will’s school, etc).
– watched countless train/car (mostly crashes) videos on YouTube, and memorized Herbie the Love Bug (original 1968 version) – why don’t they make movies like that anymore?!?!
– have someone who listens to me recap the day and give me additional, helpful perspective
AND SO ON.
It’s funny how looking at his “conundrum” opened my own eyes to what a blessing marriage and children have been to me. The fact of having to try to articulate what it means to be married and to have children opened my own heart and made me truly grateful beyond words that Gar, Will and Lachlan have graced my life. So much to be thankful for today.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!