Monday, August 20, 2012

The Evolution of Marriage

Look at those babies!!
 The individuals in the picture above are 23 years old and at that moment listening to a street band on Pearl Street in Boulder, Colorado. Grant is wearing one of his many Phish shirts and you can thank my skirt for hiding 3 years of leg hair. I was finishing up my BA in Cultural Anthropology with an Minor in Ethnobotany from the University of Colorado, going on 10 years of vegetarianism and liked to spend my time reading Kierkegaard and watching documentaries about the horrors of our nation's food industry. My favorite foods were soy hot dogs, the #6 (Buddhas Delight) at the Chinese restaurant down the street and popcorn. I lived with a girl named Kristy who ended up marrying her pastor and left me with her half of the rent payment when she moved out and broke her lease. I spent my time in used bookstores, coffee shops, art galleries and the Rocky Mountain foothills where I once ran face to face into a mountain lion. Grant had just graduated from UPenn and moved to Colorado to take a year off. He decided a good low-stress job would be a Pediatric Nurse on the Critical Care floor of Denver Children's Hospital. He lived on Domino's Pizza and Southern Comfort and occasionally a Coca-Cola Classic. He worked his three days a week and then packed up his Ford Explorer and went camping the other four days. He spent the rest of his time going to shows, drinking at the Park Tavern and walked past the Whole Foods across from his apartment to grocery shop at the 7-11 on the corner. He does not remember that year in Denver as one of his mountaintop experiences. Until he met me, of course. And somehow, those crazy stars aligned and we put aside our differences and fell mad crazy in love. We had known each other for 6 weeks when Grant proposed.

What was your name again?

Still together... technically. The copious amounts of beer helps.
After Colorado we moved to New Orleans where we fell completely in love with the music, the food, the people and everything that holds that wonderful city together. We discovered that we were very musically and gastronomically compatible and fell happily into Louisiana culture. We didn't know each other very well when we got married and so every time we discovered that we might actually like the person we were married to was a huge bonus. A little over a year later, Hurricane Katrina hit. We evacuated to Grant's parents spare guest room and entered the dark night of the soul. We discovered that without jobs, a home, money, hope and a plan, all our differences didn't look so exciting or mysterious. Grant looked depressed and mopey and I looked bitchy and passive aggressive. We could not find jobs or schools to return to in New Orleans and decided to move to Washington DC where we debated on a daily basis whether or not we should call it quits. The above picture is from a trip to Alaska where we admitted to his best friend that we weren't sure we were workin' out.

Our Sunday evenings in DC were spent at Grace DC, an urban Presbyterian church where we met some people who to this day are our closest friends. One of those couples are listed in our will as the second guardians for our children if Grant and I both die. These were good people who pulled us in to their community and loved us enough to make us face our issues together.The above happiness is legit and not booze-induced. It is also illegal- we are standing in front of the Presidential seal right after entering the West Wing. Don't let that practical Little Black Dress and JosABank suit fool you...we are crazy.
Our first child- Elliott. Greatest dog in the world. Never thought I would become THAT woman who hated her dog once she had kids. I totally did. He is in a better place now with people who actually remember to feed him.
 We had just moved to Bellefonte, Pennsylvania where Grant started working on his PhD. We had just bought our first house, I was working as an ICU nurse at the local hospital and we were footloose and fancy free. We had time and money and we spent both on eating out, traveling, working on our house, homebrew equipment, whatever my hobby of the month was, etc. We became best friends.
We weren't pregnant yet but "trying". Hence the exhausted look on Grant's face.
After celebrating our 5 year anniversary on a blow out trip to New Orleans, we decided it was time to think about making little people. We did the wise and prudent thing and told everyone we knew that we were trying... and spent the next 12 months peeing on all kinds of tests (am I pregnant, am I ovulating), taking fertility tests (the highlight for Grant was learning that his sperm count was 10 times the normal- if you knew us in any capacity during this time you are already aware of this fact. I think he made a t-shirt and a local PSA) and hiding in doorways from the well meaning but painful question "So are you pregnant yet?". We made schedules and charts and had more conversations about my cervix then any married couple should. We eventually took Clomid and on our third cycle, Purslane Claire was invented.

And that is our backstory. We are now an exhausted but happy couple with two delicious babes and if we even think about divorce the logistics of splitting up bank accounts- not to mention our books- is enough to make us want to work it out. We work hard to keep the best version of ourselves alive rather then falling into the comfortable armchair marriage. I have kept my promise not to leave the house in yoga pants (with one desperate exception) and he eats good, natural food that I stock our pantry with. Our differences have merged and formed a really beautiful and unique marriage. Last night after we put the babes to bed, we sat on the back porch and made dinner out of steaks, corn and tomatoes I got at a farmers market and listened to a new artist he discovered. And even though I enjoyed my second cocktail, I didn't need it to remember why I married Grant in the first place...he is still the best man I have ever known.

1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed reading the evolution of your marriage - in parts it reminds me of my marriage and in parts, not. Regardless I think this is should be read by all the about-to-get married folks out there, and perhaps newlyweds as well. Marriage is not linear, it is not static, it is not always great and it isn't always terrible, either -