Monday, March 8, 2010

My "Happily Ever After"

When I was a little girl, I, like most other girls, used to dream about meeting the perfect guy, having the most beautiful fairytale wedding, and living happily ever after.  Now, ten years after my wedding, that dream of a fairytale life has been replaced by the reality of an imperfect marriage, four rambunctious kids, and the responsibilities of normal adult life.  Is it a disappointment?  No, not really.  It's just not what I expected.

What did I expect, really?  That the man I would fall in love with would be without flaw or irritating habit?  That his job would require minimal time commitment but come with an exorbitant salary?  (This, of course, would leave him hours and hours every day to pamper me and lavish me with all my heart's desires.)  Did I expect him to leave me romantic notes every morning and woo me with love songs at night?  Did I really think my children would be angels and that raising them would be a breeze?  I mean, really?  Was I that out of touch with reality?

I watched a few minutes of a wedding episode of The Bachelor tonight.  (I don't follow the show, so I can't even tell you who the Bachelor was.)  The bride gushed about how her groom would always "give her butterflies."  Hmm.  Maybe she'll be lucky and her fairytale will come true.  Or maybe she'll be just like the rest of us and realize one day that the romanticism has worn off.  He'll roll over for a good morning kiss; she'll get a whiff of his morning breath, he'll see the drool crusted on the corners of her mouth.  And I suspect that the butterflies will be hard to find.

So my fairytale life didn't happen.  That leaves me with what...failure?  Some days, yes.  Some days my fairytale doesn't exist because of my own failure.  Sometimes I think my Prince Charming must feel cheated, like he got the scullery maid instead of the princess.  And, some days my Prince Charming forgets that he's supposed to be so charming.

Most days, though, are somewhere in between the two extremes.  Daily responsibilities like jobs, laundry, homework and dealing with four children make it difficult to remember what the fairytale looked like.  I coast along, neither living my dream nor wallowing in failure.

My new goal is to take life one day at a time and see what I can do each day to make it a little more like my fairytale dream.  Or maybe just to recognize the magical moments that really do seem like they belong in a storybook.  Because someday, when I'm old and completely gray, I want to remember my life as being full of joyous and wonderful moments.  I want to say of my marriage and my family, "...and we lived happily ever after."

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