Yin Yang Sweater
A Simple Request
“A white sweater,” was my answer to Diane’s question, “What would you like for Christmas?” Instead, this “Say what?” creme de menthe, geometric design number is what awaited me under the tree. After my initial stunned reaction, I laughed and realized that once again, she had shown her true, details be damned, color outside the lines nature. Diane has always been more of a free spirit, in contrast to my need for structure and stability. Our opposite personalities have been evident from the beginning of our relationship, becoming even more apparent once we had kids.
What Planet Are You From?
Gender has no bearing in relationships. No matter that we are two women, there is always one who is more grounded in reality and one who buys this instead of a white sweater. One that follows reasonable rules of parenting and one who lives in some sort of parallel universe where getting ready for bed means pajamas on, teeth brushed and a moonlight walk around the neighborhood at 9:00pm on a school night in December.
The kids have figured this out as well. When I showed them the sweater, my 10 year old shrugged his shoulders and shook his head in a, “Well, that’s mommy,” gesture while the 8 year old commented, “Maybe mommy thought it was opposite day.” They know their parents. They know that if they want to turn the bunk beds into a pirate ship and sail away then mommy is the pirate to ask. If they need help with history homework, to be taken care of when sick or need dinner then I’m the go to gal.
Admittedly, I get frustrated at times when Diane’s carefree spirit encroaches on my carefully mapped out schedule or just cleaned kitchen. When the kids were little, Saturday mornings were deemed “Pancake Party Time” with Mommy. I participated in a few of these culinary adventures but was too frustrated by the complete lack of planning or procedure to show the appropriate enthusiasm. “You’re dripping batter across the floor, watch out for the syrup bottle!” was my typical contribution to the kitchen chaos. The kids, on the other hand, were quite happy mixing, measuring and making a mess in their flour and syrup covered world.
After a few frustrating mornings, I realized I was killing the fun, free-spirited vibe and elected to find an activity outside of the house. If I couldn’t fully embrace the pancake party, I knew enough to get out of the way.
Do Not Marry Yourself
In every relationship you need the yin and the yang. If I had married myself I’d have a closet full of white sweaters and the kids would never eat pancakes and syrup with their hands while sitting on the new couch. The thing that attracts you to the one you love will no doubt be the thing that drives you crazy in five to seven years. Not a big surprise that the average length of a marriage that ends in divorce is eight years, a statistic backed up by Census data reaching back to the 1920’s.
I fell in love with Diane because she was a free spirited, we’ll figure it out as we go type of person. She was a welcome detour in my carefully mapped out life. Rather than look before you leap, I took a leap of faith and never looked back.
I’ve no doubt my cautious, efficient, plan before proceeding approach to life frustrates Diane on a regular basis. I’ve also no doubt she appreciates that my planning, organization and attention to household details means laundry is done, kids receive medical attention, vacations are planned, bills are paid and meals are made mostly on time.
Embrace The Chaos
I’ve come to realize that if I want the adventurous, free spirited person I fell in love with, I’ll end up with a few odd sweaters and sticky, syrup hand-prints throughout the house. The kids will not remember what time they went to bed but they will remember moonwalks in pajamas and pirate ship adventures. After 25 plus years I love that she thinks I can rock this sweater. And having her love, laughter and chaos in my life has allowed me to see less of the problems and more of the possibilities, including the possibility of me actually rocking this sweater.
Regina Stoops is a comedian, writer, MS Warrior and Autism Mom living with her wife and three kids in the San Francisco Bay Area.