Nothing's Ever Easy, But Maybe, Just Maybe, It's Worth It
"Nothing's ever easy."
Paduch Family Motto
Once upon a time, two crazy kids met in college and fell in love.
Today is our 15th wedding anniversary. I am married to the love of my life. You might not know this by looking at us, because not only are we polar opposites, but we are rarely seen together, even at the same events - even at our own house. But, he is the yin to my yang, the cream to my coffee, the down to my up. There is no one on Earth who I was more intended to spend all of my days with, and I am so grateful to have found him.
Yes, it's a fairy tale kind of love. You remember fairy tales don't you? Beautiful stories of destined lovers and happy endings. But, don't forget the middle parts, with the vicious dragons, the evil old broads with poison apples, the nasty sea urchins and the wicked stepmothers. Just when you thought the road would curve gently to the right, it ended abruptly and you fell right over a cliff. Fairy tales.
The truth about marriage is a dirty little secret that most married people keep to themselves. We smile at young lovers and newly engaged couples, reminiscing about the 'happiest day of our lives'. We tell stories of gowns and flowers, toasts and dances. We talk about first apartments, spontaneous trips, lazy weekends.
We never, ever talk about what's behind the curtain. The joy of owning a home becomes the burden of leaky roofs, bad wiring and bats. Those spontaneous trips are replaced with prepackaged school vacations and mandatory excursions to the "Happiest Place on Earth." Lazy weekends are ones where everyone has the flu and can't possibly get out of the house.
Face it: Marriage is fucking hard. [Don't misread that, it's not innuendo.] And, Marriage + parenthood = Gitmo. (Parenthood makes water-boarding seem like a cool drink on a hot day.)
When I met my beloved, we were in college. Our parents, and some very nice people at Sallie Mae, were paying the bills. We had ZERO responsibilities. No mortgage, no kids, no jobs, no commitments. If we skipped a meal, no one called child services. If we slept through class, no one lost their jobs. If we disappeared for a weekend, it didn't involve pet sitters, grandparents and a redefining of the word spontaneous. We could stare deeply into each others eyes and dream big. No consequences, no baggage, no explanations.
Post college, I was back in NJ and I was getting ready to move to Boston to be closer to my love. I was telling my feisty Cuban hairdresser that I just wished that he and I could live together, without having to get married first. She said, with a curling iron in one hand, and the other hand placed squarely on her hip, "If I wasn't married to my husband, I would have left him a long time ago."
Her argument, made NO sense at the time, but was and is remarkably valid in its own twisted logic. Her case was that it's easy to come together. And when there are no intertwined lives, paperwork, and formalities, it's easier to come apart. So, with all the reasons I mentioned above, you could certainly justify running screaming for the hills rather than facing 40 days in the desert of marriage.
But, the reason we never share the dirty little secret about how fucking hard it is, is that behind the curtain, way on the other side of the wall that hides Gitmo, is the most beautiful vision. It's an endless sea of blue water. It's our happily ever after. After the good times, the bad times and every time in between.
That promise is the reason we don't die the second the roller coaster drops. You may not know where the bottom is, and you may be screaming for most of the ride, but when you come to the end, and you open your eyes, it was ALL worth it.
And they lived happily ever after. The End.