Posts Tagged ‘parents’

Birthday blessings

Yesterday was my 35th birthday. It’s a bit of a milestone, but nothing that would warrant a big to-do or much fanfare. My partner asked me what I wanted to do to mark the occasion, and I said I’d like to have some friends over for a pot-luck games night. Nothing fancy: just good times with good friends. Which is exactly what happened, but to me it was so much more than that.

It ended up being a very interesting mix of people, from friends I’d known a few years, to some I’d known about a year, to a couple of people I’d never met before. It’s always a risk, bringing people together from different sectors of your life, but in the end it was a good mix. Not to mention we were pretty well-matched in our game playing. We each won a game of Outburst, with less than a five-point spread between teams each time.

MC and I have been busy the last several weeks, and hadn’t had guests over in ages – probably since long before the xmas holidays. The bus strike has also put a damper on the social lives of many Ottawans. So it was a real pleasure to host so many close friends (and a couple of strangers). I guess it’s silly, but I just felt incredibly grateful to have all these great people around me on my birthday.

This feeling of gratitude was amplified by the fact that my parents didn’t contact me at all on my birthday. No phone call, no card. This is very unusual, especially since we haven’t spoken since the xmas holidays. My brother at least sent me a card. It’s strange. In high school, I remember my mother being jealous of my friends and telling me that the only people you can really count on in life is your family. In reality, it’s my friends who have always been there for me, who celebrate my life choices and accomplishments, and my parents (my mother in particular) who are the first to judge and criticize and generally let me down.

Maybe they were busy yesterday. Maybe they thought I would be out on my birthday since it fell on a Friday night so they didn’t bother to call. Maybe they’ll call today. Maybe it’s time to stop worrying about it.


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For as long as I can remember, I have never wanted to get married. Not as a young child playing with dolls (and my preferred dolls were Barbies, not babies); not as a hormonal teenager with obsessive crushes on badass boys with long, greasy hair; not at 22 when I truly fell head over heels in love within a mature relationship for the first time.

This may be because of the nature of my parents’ marriage, which appeared to be tolerable at best. As far as I could observe, there was, and still is, a complete lack of respect between them. And neither of them appeared very happy with the situation. Like most kids, I made a conscious decision to avoid a life like my parents’ at all costs. I always hoped to find a loving partner that I could share my life with. I just never intended to enter that prison called marriage.

After several long-term relationships, including one of four years, my thoughts on marriage never changed. In fact, I had received proposals from three different people and I turned them all down flat. It just wasn’t an option. For the record, these refusals had nothing to do with the gender of the person asking: my long-term relationships were with people of both genders, as were the proposals.

But this time was different. On November 18, my beloved partner MC proposed to me. We’ve been together for nearly a year, but have talked about marriage often. After our first few months together, when we were in that crazy, passionate, excited stage of the relationship, she would sometimes turn to me and say “Will you marry me?” The first dozen times she asked me, my answer was a flat out “No.” The next hundred times I answered “Not today.” 

The months went by and our relationship only got better and stronger. I was amazed at how easy it was — she was easy to love, easy to respect, easy to talk to and to have fun with. One day (I suspect she was tired of me skirting the issue) she explained to me why she wanted to get married. It’s not about the lavish ceremony, or the dress and tux, the flowers, the cake, putting on a show for the neighbours or any of that bullshit. It’s about making a commitment to someone, and caring enough about that person and that commitment to take a day out of your life to honour it. To say together, “Yes, you are what I want. I promise this relationship will be my first priority for the rest of my life.”

She makes a lot of sense. And when you take all the religion and bullshit out of it, it’s a really nice idea. So when she got down on one knee last week, quite out of the blue, and asked me for real, I had to say yes.

We’ve agreed to keep the ceremony small, intimate and simple, and to reflect who we are and what’s important to us. The plan is to have a handful of people at the ceremony, then a big party afterwards. Maybe spring or summer 2010. But for now, I’m just enjoying being engaged.

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