A four year old girl stood on the street outside of my son’s preschool, her plump cheeks splashed with tears. Spense casually held my hand as the girl bellowed, “You are breaking my heart Spense! My heart is broken!” She continued sobbing as her mom whisked her into the car and buckled her into her car seat. “I love you, Spense…” she screamed as the car door slammed. The mom gave me a feeble shrug before she drove away.
I looked at my boy. He seemed only slightly concerned with his forlorn suitor. “She just wants to marry me, but I’m ALREADY MARRIED! I am married to Georgina!”
“But you are three years old,” I reminded him. “It’s okay to have more than one wife when you are in pre school.”
“NO!” he screamed back at me, his fists clenched and his face scrunched up hard. “I am only married to Georgina! I only have one wife!”
The majority of my adult life has involved writing about my bad dates or writing about choosing to be a single mom.
As soon as my son turned 3 he got married. Not the preschool pretending to be married thing – no. This was a passionately all encompassing obsession. Georgina was a year older. When people asked her if she and my son had a wedding she’d answer “yes, and it was magical.”
Yeah, it’s cute and sweet. But also infuriating. I know I’m in the minority but I don’t love when girls dress as brides or kids play wedding. I feel like it’s inappropriate. It just creeps me out to see little girls dressed in white with veils. Will we ever escape from the old fashioned gender roles? I just keep thinking about how white is supposed to represent virginity and the veil represents the father giving the bride to the groom or the new groom lifting the veil in order to kiss her, which symbolizes the groom’s right to enter into conjugal relations with his bride.
It’s all sexual! It’s male possessive! You all think I’m crazy??!! :)
Why didn’t he learn (from me) that sometimes women aren’t married and no one has to bring them flowers. And this loyalty thing… why is he insisting that his one wife is his only wife? He was three. He doesn’t argue that he can only have one best friend.
Of course, I worry that this marriage obsession is a compensation for something he feels is lacking in his world. (me) And I ask him about it.
“Do you feel like you want to be married because I’m not married?” I ask.
“No!” He laughs. “I just love Georgina. And we are married! And we will be married forever.” Then he thinks and asks, “Do you want to get married, Mom?”
“I’m happy not being married,” I tell him. “I’m very happy with our family just the way it is.”
“You should get, married,” he tells me.
“Why?” I ask.
“You just should,” he says.
I want him to know I’m okay. I want him to see that I’m strong and independent. I want him to know we all make choices in life and we don’t HAVE to follow the conventional road.
But, I feel conflicted about his marriage.
On one hand, I admire his fierce loyalty. Aren’t faithfulness and devotion wonderful qualities? Shouldn’t I be praising him for only wanting one wife, preschool or not? Am I going to mess him up if I keep encouraging him to be more inclusive with his commitments to spare the feelings of the others who love him? I mean, I don’t want him to grown up and be a player, right? (Ugh, I dated too many of those. Not fun.) The other parents of boys in preschool shake their heads and say their boys have no clue or interest in anything like being married.
On the other hand… he’s in preschool. Shouldn’t I down play romantic love as a necessity in his life? Shouldn’t I be focusing on friendship?
Georgina is the answer to every question.
What do you want for dinner?
Quesadilla. That’s Georgina’s favorite.
Can I help you brush your teeth now?
Georgina and I have the same toothpaste.
For over a year, S has held strong on his role as husband.
He asks about my old boyfriends and why I broke up with them. He makes me think about my life…. I don’t want to date again. I really don’t. I’m not angry or bitter about it. I just can’t imagine being with anyone who would make me happier than I am right now. Is being married really the goal of life – to find someone to grow old with? Do I have to share my life with someone other than my friends, family and son?
I know it will all play out with S as he learns and experiences and grows. I try to emphasize friendship, without taking away his ideas and his persona. I embrace Georgina as my 4 year old daughter in law and hug her and make plans with her and try not to wonder why I have to deal with my son having a wife a few decades early. Though I do think he has selected a quite adorable bride…. (it’s even hard for me to write that, as a joke. Feels wrong.)
Also, it feels like he’s trying to leave the nest too soon. He talks about growing up and being a man…. But I’ve spent the last 7 years planning on having a baby – and he’s already planning his departure. It’s hard. He picks flowers and hands them to me saying “save this for Georgina.” I smile but inside, I cry. I thought I was going to be his world for a while longer.