So, as I was typing up my post about homeschooling and how it felt to explain my decision to other parents, I realized that it was a similar experience to when I explain to married people why Jeff and I aren't married.
Which we aren't.
I guess I haven't mentioned that here. In fact, today is the 10 year anniversary of when we first realized that we really were in love. When you don't have a wedding anniversary, you need to think a bit more about when your commitment to each other began.
I love Jeff. He loves me. I feel most like myself when I'm around him. Basically, he makes me more me.
We plan to be together until one of us kicks it. (But then again, doesn't everybody?)
When I got pregnant and Jeff and I weren't married, my dad was concerned that Jeff might leave me. The funny thing is that my dad and my mom split up after they had been married for many years and had 4 children. Well, that's not actually funny, but the fact that he thought a wedding would secure Jeff to me is.
There is nothing at all that you can do to guarantee that your relationship will last. You can try to be nice to each other, grow with each other, give the other person acceptance and unconditional love. But a signed contract won't protect you from a failed relationship. In fact, it seems that a lot of times, people rely way too much on that paper. They don't think they have to work at it because, well... they're married. What else is there to do?
And besides, what's the other person gonna do? Leave?
So, back to my original point. The similarity between our non-marriage and homeschooling is this… When I list all the reasons for my choices (and believe me, there are many more of them than I'll bore you with here), I worry that I'm offending people that choose differently. When I tell happily married women, with rings on their fingers, that I have no desire to be a wife I feel somewhat uncomfortable. Especially when I'm telling it to women whose identity is heavily wrapped up in being a wife. Those, especially, are the ones that just look at me with a complete lack of understanding.
But, honestly, do you want to know the only difficult thing about our non-marriage, besides making sure the legal stuff is taken care of? (for anyone interested, we are actually married in the common-law sense)
It's the problem of what to call each other.
'Boyfriend' sounds like we're in high school.
'Lover' implies that it's all about sex. (If only)
'Partner' sounds like we're gay.
And when I call him my 'Old Man' people think I'm referring to my dad. (This last one bums me out because I like the relaxed, hippie vibe of Old Man.)
Before a work party, Jeff once claimed that he was going to introduce me in the following manner, "And this is Wendy; she's my 'you know'." He would accompany the 'you know' with a suggestive eye roll in my direction, maybe even a little hip action. But, he never actually did it, which is disappointing because it would have been amusing.
So, Happy Anniversary to you, my boyfriend/old man/lesbian (trapped in a man's body) lover. Thank you for the last 10 years. Here's to many more (she says with wine glass raised high, at 9:30 in the morning).
I love you.
Added note- Here are Joey's thoughts on how great her daddy is... He's nice, cool, intelligent, funny, a good father, did I say cool?