The terms and conditions of marriage.

You know how when you sign up for an online service or activate a new phone or credit card, or basically any time you buy anything ever, you have to sign an endless, detailed, coma-inducing document known as the terms and conditions? No one ever reads it, but next thing you know, you’ve agreed to plant 100 trees, karate chop the elderly, and let Apple/Verizon/Walmart tattoo its logo on your face.

Marriage is kind of like that.

The basic agreement covers the general stuff:

to have and to hold from this day forward,
for better or for worse,
for richer, for poorer,
in sickness and in health,
to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.

But here’s the fine print.

#1) You are now your spouse’s primary physician.
You are now required to analyze your spouse’s intimate health concerns with them. When your spouse comes home and confesses to you that they haven’t had a normal bowel movement in 3 weeks (usually it’s the husband,  amiright ladies?)  or they’ve discovered a mole/lump/growth in a deep crevice somewhere on their body, your first reaction may be, “Why are you telling me this? I’m not a doctor!”. But there you are 20 minutes later, flashlight in hand, squinting as you google pictures of cancerous moles or asking questions about color and consistency. Word of advice: stay away from WebMD.

webmdgood

#2) Bodily functions happen and you must deal with them.
Your alarm goes off at 6:30 AM. You hit snooze and roll over to snuggle your still sleeping spouse, stealing some peaceful moments while the world is quiet and the sun has just started to peek through the blinds. Your spouse snuggles a little closer to you, lets out a quiet, contented sigh and then…farts on your leg. Now, I’m not saying this scenario happened in my marriage last week, and I’m not saying that the guilty party texted her best friend and sister-in-law to tell them all about it later that day, all while stifling giggles in an effort not to wake the sleeping baby in her arms, but I’m not NOT saying any of that happened, if you know what I mean. Look, bodily functions are a normal part of life and you can’t spend the rest of your marriage sneaking into the bathroom to pass some gas or shifting in your seat to let out a silent one. And your husband is living in a fool’s paradise if he thinks you don’t fart.

 

#3) The silent stand off over the dishes (or some other, equally unpleasant chore).
I hate doing the dishes. So does Christopher. The first house we lived in after we got married did not have a dishwasher. Which meant every few days, the dishes would pile up in the sink and we would begin our own Cold War. We’ve never admitted this officially, but we both knew we were just waiting until the other one cracked. More often than not, I was the one to give in, because I would need a certain dish to cook and there were too many dishes in the sink to wash just one. Christopher had the upper hand however, having lived with roommates for a year and a a half before we got married.

#4) The struggle of the snacks.
One of the simple pleasures of life is having a special snack that only you enjoy. That way, you can keep it in the house and not worry about coming home to an empty bag or box one day. But that dream is shattered when your spouse decides to try it, after months of saying how gross it is, and discovers what they’ve been missing out on. Then, you feel guilty for over-indulging, especially if you eat the last of your tasty treats. Until your spouse shamelessly admits to taking more than their fair share. Then the gloves are off.

These are just a few of things about marriage that you didn’t (knowingly) sign up for. What are the terms and conditions of your marriage?

 

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The baby accidentally chewed the dog toy.

So, the other night, our son Solomon chewed on the dog toy. I know it sounds disgusting, and it was. We have a siberian husky named Luna and she is in the height of shedding (also known as “blowing” her coat), so her hair is EVERYWHERE.

2014-07-06 15.04.11

Luna lounging on a bedspread that she has now chewed two holes in. Husky owners cannot have nice things.

And when I say everywhere, I mean absolutely everywhere. Her hair especially likes to congregate on our stairs, under the couch, and on our clothes. I’m convinced that one day the hairs will become self aware and come together to form a phantom Luna. But I digress.

On the evening that Solomon snacked on Luna’s toy, we were somewhat mortified. It may be one of our biggest parenting blunders in our short, 6 month career.

But you know what? He didn’t get sick. He didn’t choke. He didn’t have a sudden allergic reaction. He is fine.

As I reflect on that incident, I realize that there are some moms out there who would seriously, hard core judge me for that. And I think there’s something wrong with that. Any mom with even the slightest iota of experience knows that you cannot prevent every possible disaster from happening. Lots of things are preventable using some simple common sense, but you could bust your butt all day trying to keep your kid safe, nourished, napped, clean, and happy, only to discover him playing in the toilet the minute you take your eyes off of him. But so many moms are hesitant to share those experiences because there’s always the mom who makes some snide remark or facial expression that somehow degrades mom points.

Why do we do that to each other?

I have some theories, which I will discuss in a later post, but for now I think we can all agree on one thing.

No matter how you decide to parent your kid- cloth diapers or disposable diapers, breast feeding or formula feeding, sleep training or co-sleeping, spanking or timeouts, homemade baby food or store bought jars, homeschool, private school, public school, or whatever- the most important thing you child needs is total and unconditional love.

I have a friend who is getting ready to welcome her baby girl into the world. At her baby shower, everyone shared some advice or a thought as to why she was going to make a good mom. I shared some advice about not being afraid to put your baby down (one of my rookie mistakes) but what I wish I would have said was this:

“Jaimee, there are a lot of hurdles that you are going to face throughout this child’s life, and a lot of different way you and your husband can handle them. But I know your capacity to love is so great already, and it is going to grow leaps and bounds the moment you set eyes on her, and if you just keep that at the forefront of your mind, she’s going to be just fine.”

So maybe my son got a taste of some doggy drool. But he is incredibly loved by so many people.

 

When your wedding is more popular than you are.

I have been a wordpress blogger since September of 2011. Since then, I have had a total of 722 views. It’s safe to assume that at least 100 of these views have been from my mom.

On April 29th of this year, I told a certain young man that I would marry him. I was telling the truth. Several days later I built a wedding website, courtesy of theknot.com.

As of today, that website has had 825 views.

The conclusion? My upcoming wedding is more popular than I am.

As an aspiring writer, I am enormously offended. Just because a handsome and talented young man puts a gloriously radiant ring on my finger, suddenly I am interesting, witty, and charming.

I have always been interesting, witty, and charming.

Perhaps not. More like snarky, biting, and abrasive. In my defense, people seem to like that. That’s why the reanimated corpse of Joan Rivers has her own show on the E! Channel.

So why this sudden surge of popularity? There are several possibilities.

1) People are assuming it will be outrageously tacky and they are pumped to have a good laugh over it. If that is the case, I’m uninviting everyone ever.

2) People think it is a joke and that any day we’ll pull a great big “SIKE!” If this is the case….I’m indignant.

3) People have heard me talk about my “Beyonce sang at my wedding” dream so much that they think it’s real. Well, as of yet, Beyonce has yet to respond to any of my letters, facebook messages, emails, telegrams, tweets, carrier pigeons, or smoke signals. But if anything changes, I’ll let you guys know.

But really, the only obvious answer is that I am marrying the coolest person on earth.

Seriously, the guy that I get to marry (I’m purposely not using his name to appear more mysterious, though I’m pretty sure most of my readership knows him in real life) is the nicest person ever. People love him. He can talk to anyone, and they feel like he really cares about what they have to say, because he does. There’s no phoniness about him at all.

He loves helping people. Helping them move things, helping them do yard work, helping them find jobs.

He makes people and his relationships with them a priority.

He is easy going, kind, funny, fun loving. He is eternally optimistic, one of the things I love most about him.

He is wildly creative and he loves sharing that with people.

He’s the coolest person ever and I couldn’t be happier with anyone on earth, not even Zac Efron. (I can’t believe I said that but it’s true!!)

So if I’m cooler by association because I’m with the most over-the-moon incredible guy, I am perfectly fine with that.

But I would like for all of you to subscribe to my blog. Just sayin’.

PS: Here’s the link to the wedding website. http://SmolenParker.ourwedding.com

PPS: I realize this is a little more sappy than my usual stuff. Cut me some slack! I’m in love!