Monday, September 20, 2010

I never much liked statistics

Once I fell in love with a boy, who looked so long and so deeply into my eyes that he found tiny brown flecks I didn't even know existed floating amidst the blue. A boy who chased me when I ran, held me tightly when he caught me, and trudged painstakingly beside me with a flashlight through the dark. He showed me what love felt like, and when he walked away smashed my heart into jagged shards.

But then I fell in love with another boy. He didn't notice the brown flecks, or the dimple that appeared only when I made a disgruntled face. He didn't chase me or hold me too tightly.
He didn't fight for me and despite my antagonistic nature tried not to fight with me. But he slowly picked up the pieces of my heart, and painstakingly reassembled them like a puzzle, lovingly smoothing out the rough edges. He didn't need a flashlight because his own spirit shone brightly enough to lead us both through the dark. And when I get lost, muddling around to find my way, he stands patiently and silently shining until I find my way back.

Now when people tell me that my daughter shouldn't "get too serious" with her boyfriend, I understand their concern. She's young and should live life and have fun. Enjoy different experiences so that she doesn't feel as if she missed out on anything. I understand, from a detached perspective, because though I only ever loved two boys--and still love one of them--I don't feel I missed out on anything.

When our friends were partying through college, we were working, paying rent, going to school at night, and raising our daughter. Sure our experiences were different, but I wouldn't trade mine for theirs.

When some of our friends were experimenting with drugs and different sexual partners, we were Ambesol'ing sore teething gums, changing diapers, and getting up in the night to soothe a cranky baby. I don't feel my life is any less gratifying because I never snorted cocaine or contracted chlamydia.

When some of our friends were meeting people in bars, looking for the right one, we were snuggling on the couch watching movies, content in having all ready found each other. I do believe people come into your life for a reason, and we all should experience new and interesting people. But I have a plethora of interesting and inspiring people surrounding me, and I didn't meet any of them in a bar.

So when people tell my baby that she shouldn't get too serious, I understand their concern. But I also know that finding the person of your dreams in high school is not necessarily a bad thing. I believe in everlasting love. I have it. Do I want her to take the same road I did? No. It has been a hard, bumpy road filled with potholes and sharp curves, and I want her to cruise through life on Easy Street. Do I think it would be tragic if she did follow my path? No. Your experiences may help describe you, but they don't have to define you.

Statistically speaking, high-school-sweetheart-marriages don't last. Statistically speaking, having a child before you're married significantly lowers the chances of your marriage lasting. Statistically speaking, children born to unwed parents under the age of 25 will do poorly in school. Twenty years, and three smart, happy, healthy, amazing kids later, we may be rare--though I do know a few other families just like us--but we are not a statistic.

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