Before my husband and I married, I remember caring if my hair was parted the right way, if my teeth were white enough, and if I made witty enough banter to keep him interested in me, but not so much as to make him think that I was a chatter box. I remember his pockets were always stuffed full of Mentos and he would spray himself down with gallons of body scents before picking me up in his old Jeep truck.
I remember being scared to kiss him because what if he thought that I was moving too fast, but then thinking that maybe I was moving too slow because we hadn’t kissed yet.
I remember caring what he thought about me. I remember him caring about what I thought about him.
How cute is that?
I have to say the words “remember” because that’s exactly what that is, a memory.
After two kids and a lot of years, a lot of things have changed.
I don’t really care which way my hair is parted. Most of the time when Andy sees me, it hasn’t been washed in three days.
And the way I smell? The way I smell can fluctuate. On a good day, I mean a really, gangbuster amazing shoot me to the moon day, I smell neutral. It’s due to the fact that I actually took the time to get out my stick of deodorant and swipe it under my arms a few times. On my bad days… I become a smell Rorschach test. Take a whiff and see what I tell you about your subconscious.
I am married. That’s what I really think the word “married” means. Wedding vows are so beautiful and tear jerking, but they aren’t really down and dirty like marriage can be, emphasis on the dirty.
After kids, that entire world of pride can really get Emeril Lagasse’ed. It gets bammed up several notches.
I was at a playgroup once with some really good friends. It takes really good friends with kids to make you feel okay with admitting how raunchy your life has become. After telling me about how her husband helped her manicure her feminine wiles during her last pregnancy due to her belly size, she looked me dead in the eye and said,
“That’s when I told him, with all of the things he’s seen and heard, if we ever got a divorce, I would have to kill him.”
It made me think about all of the things that Andy and I have been through since we started living together and then after we had kids. Yup, now that those papers are signed, I guess his name will find itself on the husband hit list along with my friend’s husband.
Since living with me, my husband has learned that women pass gas, poop (sometimes with the bathroom door open, while answering questions), snore, throw up (sometimes on their spouses), sometimes pee in their pants a little when they sneeze, grow massive amounts of leg hair during the winter and fall, completely forget that they have not reached menopause yet and need to rinse out their pajama pants at midnight, swear, forget things everywhere, and more than occasionally have B.O.
I came to the realization that my husband and I had passed over some invisible threshold of crudeness the same way my friend and her husband had. I was pregnant with my daughter and working nights cleaning a daycare center.
One night, at work, I had a horrible pain and ran to the nearest bathroom to figure out what was causing it. I was shocked by what I found, and since I didn’t have a smartphone at the time, had to call up my wonderful husband and ask,
“Is normal for your vagina to turn blue when you’re pregnant?” We had crossed over the threshold, never to return to the other side again.
Snoring with your significant other in bed, cooking a terrible dinner, breaking wind while watching a C.O.P.S. marathon, those are all things that can prove to your loved one that you are willing to let your guard down and be your true self.
My true self has been revealed time and time again: while having children in front of my husband and all that entails. Forgiving each other for short, terse comments at 3:00 in the morning, struggling with finances together, accepting the post child physical metamorphosis BOTH of you have taken as the new norm, being okay with rushed meals, bland meals or no meals simply because the kids need to come first and yes, googling a blue vagina at ten o’clock at night. These are all signs that not only are you willing to be your true self with that person, but you are willing to be human with them, which is probably the best gift you can give to any person, the gift of allowing their humanity, in all forms, to show.