It is Saturday. Brigitte and I are off to Ikea in a bit. Her beau celebrated his birthday last night so they went out to see Tony Bennet at Ravinia.
Ron is out for the week but tomorrow we celebratre the five year anniversary of our first date. At Joy’s Noodles (the fasted Thai noodleshop in the West!). We’d met about 2 weeks before but Ron blew me off for a few weeks (I think he though he was being coy). I was in the middle of producing a play and had just had a summer of heavy dancing and partying and was ready to calm down for the fall. I had no intention of meeting anyone – and certainly not someone I’d spend five years with. But that’s how it happens. Hell, it took a while before I even thought I’d find a man I could love and appreciate. He’s out of the country right now on a flight and won’t get back for another five days. I think our time apart is crucial to our success. Happy anniversary, honey.
My mom and dad celebrate 39 years of wedded bliss today. I remember when mom’s parents celebrated their 60th anniversary – it was a huge, huge party. I’m hoping Heather and I can cook up something grand for mom and dad’s 40th next year. The one thing I have always learned from watching mom and dad interact is the importance of humor. Love, rant, rave, yell, give the silent treatment… but I think a sense of humor is what always got them through. And an insistence on always being playful. And touching. Mom and dad are very warm with eachother. There is, of course, an element of stubborness to any long-lasting marriage and a certain amount of pig-headedness as well. A love of knowledge was key to their parenting style and I think it is also key to their matrimony.
I think the true foundation of a happy marriage is never doing wallpapering. The most vicious arguments and dynamics seemed to awaken when they attempted to wallpaper the house. They are beginning to search for contractors to remodel the kitchen, but I think they’ll make it to year #40.
I try to describe to people how we grew up in a household that was both conservative (mom left teaching to raise us, family dinners every night, Sunday mass, private high school, Southern Living magazine) and liberal (handweaving, crystal healing, violin, piano, 60 Minutes, PBS, arts fairs, Playboy magazine) at the same time. And I think that’s why I get really tired when gay rights activists talk about homosexuality as some revolution or evolution. I still want a loving spouse and kids and the whole shebang. I think most of the conflicts that Ron and I have arise from cultural differences than from a deviation in gender norms. My midwestern upbringing remains at the core. I was raised with some strict ideas of what and wasn’t appropriate but also with a strict regard for the right of other people to do what they want and believe what they want. We were rarely ever censored. They didn’t freak out when I brought an audio tape bootleg of 2 Live Crew’s As Nasty As They Wanna Be. They knew they’d given me the context to understand it as ‘just music’ as well as the debate about obscenity and free speech.
I think I’ve written this before but I’ll write it again. Mom and dad were children of the 60s but they didn’t seek revolution in the civil rights movement or the women’s lib movement or the anti-war movement, they found revolution in starting a family and raising two individuals to be the best possible people they could be.