The other night, Doug asked me to make him a Christmas list. There’s not a lot of material things I want right now, but I tried to think of things I wouldn’t be able to justify buying for myself: cozy pajamas, scented candles, a Mariners hat.
Then I thought, What if I put “diamond ring” on there?
I texted this idea to Dawn, who always seems to have good insight into where I am in my life verses where I should be,* and asked her for her thoughts.
“I like it,” she said. “I think you’re in a good healthy place.”
Then she added that Doug’s ability to afford a ring or ring payment would, of course, be a factor. And then she went into her default, party-planner mode, asking me what styles of rings I like.
I put “diamond ring” at the bottom of the list, banking, I guess, on the fact that Doug can’t afford a ring or a ring payment. Then I went to bed.
The more I thought about it, that night and into the following morning, the more excited I got. I felt giddy about having finally been able to make such a suggestion, about maybe finally being ready to get married again.
Then I really started thinking: What if Doug can afford a ring? What if his year-end bonus check turns out to be enough for a down-payment? What would I do if he really asked me to marry him, like, a month from now?
Oh, I’d say yes. But I don’t think I’m quite ready to be asked just yet.
I’ve thought about all the possible outcomes of this hypothetical marriage proposal, and none of them feel right to me. I don’t want to plan another wedding, but I don’t want to just run off to the courthouse either. I don’t want to not get married and just skip to the part where we have babies, but I don’t want to wait too long to have them. Doug is now really attached to the 2012 wedding date I set for him years ago, but part of me wonders if it’s worth waiting that long – and inadvertently building it up to be something perfect, which, as I’ve learned, never works. But a 2011 wedding date doesn’t sound right to me either.
What is my damage here? I hate this limbo I’ve created for myself, this certain order in which things “have to” happen, this period of waiting for the rest of my life to start. Yet it appears I’m the one keeping myself in it. It appears that my very purgatory is also a protective bubble, sheltering me from the possibility that I might, one of these days, actually have to grow up and move on.
I’m not ready. But maybe I’ll be ready soon. Or maybe what I need is a push over the edge; maybe what I need is for something to happen that goes against my careful planning, something out of order, something unexpected. Maybe what I need is, just for a moment, to lose control.
*I especially like the rule-of-thumb she gave me once: since she’s six years older than I am, I should be six years behind her in all major life events and milestones. By this count, I was grossly premature when I got married the first time (less than four years behind), but am now delinquent, as she and her husband celebrated their seven-year anniversary last month. All is not lost, however; I have until 2014 to have a kid.