I met up the other night with a dear friend from my past (and my present), we go back at least 30 years but our lives have taken two drastically different turns. Neither better nor worse than the other, just different. She has taken the path less traveled, the waiting it out path. The no rush to the alter path. The holding out for true, unmistakable, can't-live-without-you love type of guy that, she admitted, may or may not come along. She's funny, beautiful, smart, compassionate and truly one of the kindest people I've ever known and while she could have just ANY guy, she wants more. She wants the real thing...LOVE!
My life, however, trailed the other way. I was the fairytale's do come true and love at first sight is the kind of love that lasts forever kind of girl. I started buying wedding magazines and filling my wedding scrapbook with dress, flower, shoe and cake ideas at the age of 17! In my High School Senior Book I wrote out my life goal was to be married by the time I was 24 and a Stay at Home Mom (hence blog title SAHM) to at least 3 or more kids before age 30. Only problem was I didn't have a groom in mind-minor detail at the time. In my defense I did receive and reject a few proposals over the years, opportunities to live with "boyfriends" in different parts of the Country and even found what could be love that I gave up on when it failed to materialize in my time plan. And then, when I least expected it, prince charming showed up. I didn't question it and I didn't need to-he was right on time. He immediately proposed and even wanted to hurry the engagement process faster than I could get my dress order to come in. I was married by the time I was 23 and a SAHM to 3 kids a few years later. My mission was complete and life would forever be perfect...right?
I write this post not to bash marriage but because I was asked to write honestly about marriage without the sugar coated glaze. I have more friends recently teetering at the brink of divorce (or going through divorce) than I can even count and while some understandably had to give up the fight, others are trying to fix the broken pieces but all of us have the same goal: To seek happiness and real LOVE! The kind that sparks your soul, the kind that inspires, the kind that doesn't quit, the kind that makes you smile, the kind that lifts you up, and the kind that gives you belly butterflies. Over the years, although I'm still a dreamer and free spirit at heart, I've grown to be more of a realist. The life of wedded bliss I expected to coast by on was and is work. The fairytale I once allowed myself to believe could be real was a phase and this princess is scrubbing toilets, laundry stains and dishes in a Cinderella gone backwards twist with a sometimes grumpy prince. There are times of happy and unhappy endings and moments (o.k. entire days) of feeling that I completely lost myself on this path. With that said, I take back nothing. I wouldn't be the girl I am today without the life I've lived for the past 14 years.
I cannot see beyond the box (only because I'm in the box with all of you) so my words and advice may fall short but when I think of the life I want for my daughter, the ultimate fairytale believer, I wish for you (she and I) this:
May you never fall victim to the fairytale.
May you find the strength to walk away from him when it's necessary or find the courage to fight for him when he's worth it.
May you never stop dreaming nor fear new adventures.
May you find someone who can make you laugh and hold you when you need to cry.
May you find a love that lasts forever.
May you never settle for mediocre, even if that means being alone, and
May you find someone who gives you the attention, encouragement and love you so deserve.
...And If that man fails you, find a good friend to count on instead ;)