Posts tagged ‘getting hitched’

The other side

Here we are, in the new year! Things got too crazy to post for a few months, but we had quite a civilized little wedding (thank you, family). Then, last week, I started my new job!  The job, unlike the husband, is still too new and unfamiliar for me to have a clear sense of, but I do intend to make the very best of it, and keep it for a good long time if I can.

Some resolutions for 2011, from my Evernote file:

  • Be on time for stuff
  • No complaining about being busy
  • Make time for friends
  • Stop feeling guilty

So far, I’ve been doing pretty well on all except maybe #4. I need to work harder at #3.

In 2011, in addition to the above we look forward to:

  • going on a honeymoon!
  • settling down in my job and developing expertise (i.e. getting good at it)
  • having a wedding reception, about 9 months after the wedding
  • eating better
  • visiting my family on the prairies
  • trying to conceive our first child
  • dwelling-hunting

Here’s to new beginnings, and to long slow patient happinesses.

Announced!

We made the announcement to my parents over dinner, and everyone was very civilized.  Thank goddess. Sometimes I underestimate my parents.

After dinner, I called my closest cousin A to give her the news and invite her and her partner. The last person to tell will be my godmother/aunt, to whom I also have to break the news that she’s not invited. Hopefully she understands the cost and time reasons we are planning such a tiny wedding.

Having told the families is a huge load off my mind! Now we can move on to the intricate details of weddin’ planning!

 

On being the grown-up

Doing a lot of thinking about telling my parents we’re getting married. That sounds like the sort of conversation that should be joyful, but as with so many things in families, it’s more complicated than it should be. My mom (who is the Minister of Foreign Affairs in their household) really doesn’t like Z, although over the last three or so years of our six-year relationship, she has been civil to him most of the time.

So Goddess knows how that’s going to go. I really hate drama. I will ride to the end of the Earth on an ill-fitting bicycle to avoid conflict. But my mom is a fucking drama queen. I don’t use that choice of words to be cruel. She was dealt a tough hand in her life, didn’t have healthy role models growing up, and has exhibited a lot of strength and wit in getting by as an adult. BUT. She doesn’t have a mature approach to dealing with people who are different than her set of ideals. (Z has flaws. I get it. But she can’t get past her perception of those flaws.)

Although she does try, she also doesn’t really have a handle on when it’s appropriate to just let me live my life. (Case in point – she called me yesterday all worried about whether or not I pluck my eyebrows. She is seriously worried that, should I pluck my eyebrows, they’ll never grow back and I will regret it terribly when I’m older. Of course, I reassured her that I would never do such a thing. Because really, do I want to have a fight about my eyebrows? I do not.)

So all this is to say that, while I want to do the right thing, and have my parents over for a nice dinner and tell them, like a group of mature adults that Z and I have decided to solemnize our relationship, there is a very real potential that it could all go sideways. Best case scenario: a sort of horrified silence, and an undertone of sadness to the rest of the evening, because they have GOT to have seen this coming. Worst case scenario: sobbing, insane accusations, damaged relationships.

We’re going to do it anyways, because the time is here for me to be the grownup in my relationship with my parents. I need to set the tone of mature, compassionate interactions. If I think telling them we’re getting married is going to be a gong show, wait until we tell them we’re having a baby. Wait until we tell them that baby is going to the supreme evil DAYCARE. (Remember the eyebrow conversation? Well my mom doesn’t believe in daycare. Jesus.)

Grown-up me. Strong me. While I certainly have the capacity to over-think anything at all, I am reasonably sure that this is what I want. Z and I have a low-drama, supportive relationship, and we make each other happy. I know there is nothing worse than parental disapproval – I remember my friend M all in knots when he first moved in with his then-girlfriend, because his Catholic parents disapproved. It’s a terrible feeling. But the solution is just to be sensitive and considerate of them, and try to have a mature relationship with them WHILE LIVING YOUR LIFE. And that’s what we are planning to do. Next weekend.

Vacation Thoughts

Unbelievable! I am on a weekend out of town with my true love and some friends and NO homework. I didn’t even bring my laptop, although my ability to brag about this might be somewhat diminished by the fact that we have Z’s laptop.

But anyways!

Something I’ve been looking forward to since being buried in the solitary caverns of grad school is DOING NEW STUFF. Like setting goals other than “forsake all other activities and social interaction until completing thesis.” Here are some of those goals:

– Socialize more with my awesome friends and their kids
– Start going to music jams again
– Organize our wedding for the spring of 2011
– Cook more
– Make a household budget of earnings, savings, expenses and donations
– Do some activism out in the real planet or community

The socializing and music tasks are underway. (Behold: on vacation with a tribe of about a dozen – it’s Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend and I am so thankful for these people!)

When we get home, the next step is to announce our engagement to my parents. In person. With both of us present. Yikes.

Coutdown to Baybeez, Part 45

The giant paper is going to the school office this Tuesday, and I will be presenting the esoteric business to an apathetic audience of professors and fellow students the week after next. THE END IS NEAR!

The job situation is another fucked-up ball of wax entirely – I have zero job security or prospects for a stable permanent job, or even a longish contract. I wouldn’t care so much if I were 23 and just out of school, but it sucks donkey balls at 30. That’s what I get for undertaking a career change at 27 I guess, but I don’t regret a thing, except maybe not going back to school a few years earlier.

The consensus at home is that we are not going to wait to TTC until I have a job I can take mat leave from. Not waiting for that kind of job might mean giving up a lot more than mat leave – the chance to go part-time while kids are young, for example. All the good stuff you get if you are actually a permanent employee and in the union. On the one hand it seems stupid not to hold out for that situation, which I bet I could get if I waited long enough. Babies benefit from parental leave. I don’t want to put a 12-week-old in daycare. On the other hand, it could be years and years from now when I finally get made permanent, and maybe we wouldn’t even be able to have kids then, and those kids would never know their grandparents.

So fuck it. I think we’re just going to go for it. We are pretty lucky in the sense that Z pulls in pretty good money at his job, and if I need to be unemployed for awhile, or even if he needs to work part time for awhile, we could manage it. And if I really can’t stand to go back to contract work a few weeks or months post-partum, we’ll just figure something else out, like moving to a town where there would be a job for me.

The one thing I do still think we should wait for is a wedding, or at least having a wedding date set and soon approaching. (Why didn’t we have a wedding last spring? Oh yeah, grad school + starting a new job took up all my brain cells.) A few folks have mentioned to me that this smacks of caring too much what others think – who am I trying to impress? – but I still kind of think it’s important for me. I don’t want anyone, least of all my kids suspecting that they weren’t wanted, and that we only got married as a shotgun wedding. Is that an insane thing to worry about? Maybe.

So we’ll get hitched in the spring, and start TTC – god I don’t know, sometime around then. Z is not feeling so patient, and is just waiting for the word from me, which makes me feel like a bit of a meanie. Sometime after the wedding date is announced, anyways, and such that there’s no chance of being visibly pregnant in wedding pictures. Because I am shallow and care what people think.

But first, finding some damn lawyers for a prenup. Which makes me feel dirty, but that’s another story.

Second, telling my parents we have a date. Before they go on vacation in November. Don’t wanna stir up shit with them.

This being-a-grown-up business is fucking complicated.

Weddin’ Planning

With the returning of the sun after midwinter, I have been kicking my own ass about getting this wedding set up. The next year is going to bring a lot of changes, including maybe moving out of town together, and hopefully getting closer to starting a family. I get the sense that if we do believe in getting formally hitched, then the right time is to do it before all this turmoil and settling down happens, a commitment that we step into that future together.

Gorgeous photo by James Jordan. All hail the Creative Commons.The first thing I did was hie me to my local public library to borrow a copy of Dan Savage’s The Commitment. The man’s been shaping my understanding of sex and relationships since I was a teenager. He had a weekly radio show in Seattle, and every week, somebody would *drive up to a Washington University with a tape of the show* and the university radio station would broadcast it in the middle of the night on Sundays. I lived on the top of a mountain in deepest suburbia just over the Canadian border, and had a boom box rigged up with a bunch of wires tied to the antenna… I listened to his show every week, including such highlights as live fisting and penis tattooing. And then Monday morning, I would fall asleep on the school bus.

But I digress. Mr. Savage is very wise when it comes to the human heart – and when he writes about marriage from the perspective of American gays, it is without the straight-people social pressures. Nobody expects gay people to get married in the States, where it’s not even legal (shame!). So when two gay Americans who have done A LOT of research go through all the trouble of coming to Canada to get married for their own peace of mind, it means that they see something really valuable in the formal commitment. After devouring the book in two days (and so much crying!) I think I agree with Dan Savage that getting married means taking a responsibility that adults who make a life together really should shoulder. Especially if there are kids on the way, it means that we promise to do our very best to be a team and provide a stable foundation of love and support.

But, for us Canadians, gay, straight and otherwise, who decide to get married, there is also that matter of signing a legal contract. The contract has a lot of fine print which most people don’t read. Step two of this weddin’ planning business is learning what that contract says, and what parts of it we don’t like.

I hied me again to the library, to borrow a book about prenuptual agreements called What to Do before I Do. It was helpfully filed in the dysfunctional section of the little branch library out by the university, right between Surviving a Divorce and Alcoholism and You. Its all about American law (what we Canadians endure) but I think it should be a good start.

Contemplating prenups is about as much fun as taking out my own tonsils, but what’s going to be really awesome is coming up with the cash to hire TWO lawyers, which you need to make a prenup valid. That, in turn, is only going to be half as awesome as dealing with my parents on this whole issue. But I do think it has to be done.

In less fraught news, I learned last night that a good friend is a totally amazing baker and cake decorator. That takes care of sourcing a cake.

Advice on getting hitched from the internet

A friend’s blog post led me to the following very interesting discussions on the internets, on the very topic of yesterday’s ramblings:

What Are the Pros and Cons of Getting Married? from Jezebel.com

The 100-odd pages of comments (!) tell me that a lot of women are staring down this question, and make a lot of good points. In the States, it seems that government incentives heavily favour married folks (and vigourously discriminate against gay couples). These comments also led me to the Offbeat Bride website, which is a little too rabidly fond of weddings for my comfort, but does have a thoughtful essay about what it means to skip the traditional expectations for a wedding and design your own ceremony instead:

Is Having an Offbeat Wedding Any Different Than Having a Traditional Wedding?

 I’m not quite clear how much of my reluctance to just set a date and go for it results from my ambivalence towards the whole Western cultural institutions of weddings and marriage. Wearing white (woman’s virginity being integral to the transaction). Being given away (woman as property). Engagement rings (for women only). Vowing to obey (I know, this isn’t common anymore, but I grew up around seriously conservative religious relatives, and women vow to obey). The groom asking the bride’s father for permission to marry her (see above, with the crazy conservative family.)

My family might be a special case, but the cultural idea that a wedding is the culmination of a young woman’s life is still alive and well in mainstream North American culture, along with accompanying assumption is that marriage the end of a woman’s autonomous identity.

I hate the idea of taking my husband’s name with a fervour that I know perfectly well is unreasonable (what, my own last name isn’t patriarchal?) but that doesn’t stop me from arching my back and spitting. Partnership should affect our identities equally. Z did refuse my suggestion of taking a new, combined last name together. I can’t really blame him – I don’t love the idea of changing my name, so why should he?  I am fine with us having separate names, and kind of like the implication that our personal identities as presented publically wouldn’t change with marriage. We will cross the bridge of what to name our child/ren when the time comes. Poor kid/s. I will probably settle for something like my last name as middle name, which is what my mother did for me.

As we understand the laws of our province, we can each legally use whichever last name we want once we are married.  That is, assuming I arise from this apathy and ambivalence, and commit to a weddin’ date.