Monday, October 16, 2006
It's Good to be Right
Saturday was our 6-year wedding anniversary. We didn't do a ton in the way of celebrating, unless going out for pseudo-Mexican food and trying not to indulge in a public tantrum while the 2-year-old at the table uncharacteristically refuses to eat and the 6-year-old at the table characteristically refuses to take a breath in between sentences is your idea of a celebration. Willem and I had a shared moment of understanding midway through the meal, one of those parental telepathy moments in which we both communicated, "Next time we are getting a babysitter."

But, whatever. We're not prone to extravagant holidays most of the time - our Weekend at Lizzie's last year was unusual for us, but it was the fifth anniversary and if you're not going to ascribe some arbitrarily heightened importance to anniversaries evenly divisible by five, when else would you? So in the past, we've occasionally exchanged flowers or gone out to eat, but the bigger point is to just sort of enjoy each other and the family and look forward to the next apparently important multiple of five.

For me, my anniversary isn't about getting a gift, or giving a gift, or two, or three. It's not about cards or recognition. It's not even about a quiet moment of reflection about the sanctity of marriage or whatever political/religious theme applies at the moment.

It's about being right.

Long ago and far away, I was involved with Someone Else. Seriously involved - engaged involved. Possibly even engaged twice, though I'll never be convinced that the second time was real. Anyway, I was in the tail end of my Angst-Filled and Self-Destructive phase, and Someone Else was stable and kind and kinda cute, so I let that be good enough.

Along came Willem. Who had been there all along - he and I actually met when I was 16, back when we were both dating other people, and we spent several years wandering that weird void of "just friends" that occasionally dipped into the inappropriate. Which is a whole other story. But it wasn't until things were getting fairly serious with Someone Else that Willem suddenly seemed like someone worth pursuing outside of Chem 101 (clichéd but true!), and therefore we all fell into a big knotty pile of Sturm und Drang which lasted the next, oh, three years or so.

Let me just tell you how much sympathy I have had for the main characters in Grey's Anatomy just lately, because in the end I actually did get to choose between two really great guys... the safe, dependable, yet somehow not-quite-right Someone Else, and the putz-with-the-heart-of-gold Willem. I agonized, I angsted (and now that I think of it, that's also when I got appendicitis! Art imitates life!), and I finally chose the bad boy.

Which turned out to be the only right choice out there. Who knows where Someone Else ended up - he continued to sort of try until I told him I was pregnant with what turned out to be Emily, at which time he gave up and evaporated, apparently believing that having a child with someone qualified as a "real" commitment. He's probably still a nice guy who deserves a nice life.

But there's no possible way that I could have stayed with Someone Else and ended up with the right life for me. This way, I married my best friend, someone I think is smarter than me (unless we're arguing, at which times he's clearly a step behind), someone whose heart is as big as all outdoors and has made me need him in my life, so he'd better stick around. I also ended up having *my* babies. Sure, Someone Else and I might have procreated, but I wouldn't have ended up with Emily and Jacob, and what a cosmic mistake that would be.

It's good to be right.