Now it’s just him and me. Imagine that rhymed better.
And didn’t make you cringe.
I don’t know if you are close with your family. But I am. I talk to either my mother or my sister at least once a day. When I’m not freelancing in an office, it can be upwards of 3 times a day. I bounce all my big decisions off them. I listen and care about what they think about everything from curtains to careers. They are the first to hear big news, good or bad.
Then there was a shift. I can’t really pinpoint the moment. I think something had happened to me at work. Something crappy. And the first person I called was my fiance, who was my boyfriend at the time. I remember thinking when that happened, that things were serious. And we should all get used to this new person taking priority.
Marriage takes it to the next level. My mom will always be my mom, my sister will always be my sister. But my soon-to-be husband, well he is my family now. The two of us (and our dog that we get) we are the family unit now. I think the misconception is that once you have kids, then you are a family. I think you and your husband are a family the moment you say “I do”. You have to start making choices that benefit the two of you. Where previously you made sacrifices for your mom, dad, sister, brother, etc…you now put that person in front of everyone else and their happiness and well being is the top priority.
This is one of the challenges of getting married when you are older. Your immediate family is so used to having you all to themselves, not sharing your time or loyalty, that sometimes, it is a hard shift to make. For all of you. Nowhere is this more apparent than when we talk about where to spend the holidays. I’ve actually never been to his family’s Christmas, but he has been to my family twice. I’ve always spent Thanksgiving with his family. And Easter. But now, to add to the complication of having families in two different places, we now live in a different place. Before, in New York, we could get to his family in New Jersey and Connecticut easily. Now it is hard to get either to New York or Memphis (where I’m from). In a way it sets the families on equal playing fields. But in some ways…no, in most ways….it is hardest on my family. My new family.
Him and Me.
When it was just me, I could fly to anywhere my family needed me to be. I slept on couches, blow up mattresses and shared beds with my niece. Now, I am a we and we need a bed. Logistics are harder and my decisions have become our decisions. I have to do what is best for us now. That’s a hard thing for me to do. I like making people happy, especially my family. I like doing what they want me to do. And for the most part, what is best for them is also best for me. But sometimes, it won’t be. Sometimes the best thing for him and me will not be what my family wants me to do.
That is a hard thing for me to wrap my head around. My not being single doesn’t just effect friendships and the way the outside world views me, but it impacts the dynamic of my immediate family, and not through numbers but through allegiances. On top of that, I have this whole OTHER family, his. And they are great, lovely people who have made me feel welcome from day one. But my presence in my fiance’s life directly effects their interactions as well. It’s complicated. And you certainly don’t want to feel like you are taking over or changing everyone’s lives so much.
But recently, my mom was pitching me the idea of a unity candle of the ceremony. Look, it isn’t my thing nor is that sand in the jar or whatever. Although it did get me thinking about my family. And his. And this new thing we are doing. This new family we are forming.
All this is not to say that I still don’t call my mom on a bad day. Or text my sister with terrific news. Now it’s just my second call or text, not the first.
Except for the day we got engaged….that day they were my first call.