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Sunday
Dec042011

Prince Chubby vs. Prince Charming

I can’t watch this part I say to my husband and children as we are eating burgers, gluten free fried chicken and French fries in front of the television. I get up to start clearing the table to avoid the part of our wedding video where during our modern Jewish ceremony I was supposed to circle my future husband three times. We counted somewhere between 5 and 7 times in this latest anniversary watching.

There I was feeling like a goddess in my 1920’s satin wedding dress flowing walking around my husband imagining myself looking like a Semitic Grace Kelly. What I couldn’t hear was the chuckling and giggling as our guests wondered if they were going to spend the rest of the evening watching me spinning around my husband.

My beloved remained calm and cool letting me have my Grace Kelly fantasy knowing full well that going to public school in the 1970’s where every child was left behind accounted for my mathematical challenges.

Eleven years later, with my two children and stepson, my husband and I watched via VHS that fateful day where Jon, his son and I started our family. The past eleven years have encompassed infertility (while trying to have a baby) overfertility (by popping out two in 17 months). Job loss, financial loss (thank you Bernie Madoff) and legal malaise with the hubby’s ex-wife.

The day started with the damn dog waking us up at 5am, the kids pouncing on us by 6, breakfast, circus class and soccer. Making lunch, cooking, cleaning, laundry and a quick happy anniversary kiss and then on to more soccer.

I know to many people this might sound like a horrible existence but to me it was a perfect day. My roots are showing, hair in many different directions, and I wasn’t able to get out of my standard Saturday outfit of black sweats and sweatshirt. Seriously I am grateful for it all. Especially the eleven years with my husband.

I was older when I got married. I had been living an interesting life. I wouldn’t say overly scintillating, but I was pursuing my career in the entertainment industry, contemplating my naval with different spiritual pursuits and looking for Mr. Right, soul mate, lover, caretaker, friend. Someone who would make me laugh, say all the right things, love me for who I am and never leave.

Walking down that aisle 11 years ago I had all of those ideas floating around in my head but I didn’t really know what any of them actually meant. They were romantic ideas based on CW television shows and I was living more like Rhoda on The Mary Tyler Moore Show…before she got married to Joe and got her own series.

It took many years to understand what being married and getting married really meant. Planning my wedding was the first test of our relationship. My dad had recently passed away and this was the first wedding in my immediate family. My mother, one of the big “boys” in New Jersey politics had high expectations for this long overdue event. Even though she had eloped with my father and had no lavish wedding of her own she was determined to dictate that no young children were allowed, the steak and salmon would be the main choices of dishes and that my future husband and I were having a wedding that was too Jewish for her liking.

My mother and I continued to bicker, Jon and I fought about his family and by the time the wedding arrived I was ready to skip it all and take off for our Hawaiian honeymoon by myself.

Nevertheless after being plucked, hair colored, polished, massaged and waxed I was ready for my big day. I walked down that aisle with an immaturity and naiveté about what becoming a wife really meant. For example;

My dream world: Husband works out everyday and is totally fit and buff while making tons of money and showers all his love and attention on to me.

Reality: Husband gets chubby on our honeymoon from eating too many desserts loses job and health insurance two months after getting married.

Me being the neurotic, hold-nothing-in, type of person that I am let him know each and every day how uncomfortable I was with the his lack of income coming into the house. One can understand having this conversation with a spouse several months after losing their job if all they were doing was sitting on their butt. For or me it was expressing myself within the first five minutes into his unemployment.

Cut to: Eleven years, two more children, one house, one dog and several bumps along the road and I look at our wedding video and am grateful that my husband had enough patience and love to give me the space to grow into a woman whose CW witchcraft characters have matured into more of a Meryl Streep type woman.

Although my husband still eats too many desserts he is one of the most hard working and best fathers around. After losing his job he went to business school and got his MBA while working as much as he could at various consulting jobs. Although I still feel the need to say anything and everything that is on my mind to my husband I no longer need to say it within the first five minutes. If I can hold out for 48 hours then I know I have really matured into a full-blown adult.

Perhaps if Kim Kardashian had understood one tenth of what it meant to be someone’s wife and realize that she wasn’t just playing one on TV (I think she was confused about that) then maybe she would’ve put her 20 million dollar wedding on hold or waited to get to know her fiancée a bit longer. Although that wedding alone but have been enough to help the economy make a hefty recovery.

In the end being lucky in love is one of the best gifts there is. Marriage is a difficult road at times but one that can mirror the ultimate flaws within and give us a chance to unknot ourselves and experience true love intimacy and total acceptance from another person.

Happy anniversary to my wonderful husband, best friend, lover, and most important thing of all...tamer of the shrew!

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Reader Comments (6)

Very beautifully written Fran. I'm so proud to have been able to see you blossom from an awesome strong woman to an awesome strong woman with a filter... and sharing it all with a lovely husband. Love you guys!
December 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSophia D.
Beautifully written, Dear Francine. Beautiful like your hubby, kids and the life you're created together. It sure sounds like you've grown up with the help of all of them (and your dynamite mom.) It's clear that you've embraced the real meaning of those words "for better and for worse, richer/poorer, in sickness and in health." May you all have long and happy lives filled with better, richer and health.
December 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWicked Step Aunt
Prince Chubby eh? Did I clear that title?
December 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJon
Loved, loved reading this! How great it is that we found men who love us in spite of ourselves!
Some days it is all we can do to just put one foot in front of the other and you are so right, lucky in love is the best way to keep moving forward.
Keep writing, Fran, you're the best!
Janis
December 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJanis
I was there that day ..until Jow Nick dragged me to the bar next door to meet 2 " chicks " he just met...sorry about that fif...I also have matured ..better late then never..Jon is a great father and a great guy ..you are lucky to have him..we in NJ enjoy your column...good stuff for sure...and yes I read the whole thing
December 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDW
I read your story just at a time when I had been re-reading "The Eternal Bliss Machine," by Marcia Seligson, and the descriptions of your wedding woes had me roaring. Although the book was written before I got married, back when Pebbles Flintstone was in demand to serve as a flower girl, your tale could have been lifted out of the chapter, "Connubial Blintz." It proves that some things about weddings don't change with time or trends.

One of the things, apparently, that remain undiminished is the wedding power of the Jewish mother, even if keeping the wedding from being too Jewish is one of her goals!

The infertility and over fertility reminded me of my sister, whose similar experience I'd recently recounted to two lovely, elderly Catholic nuns, I'd recently met, who had promised to pray for me. Several years ago, a similar promise was made to me by another group of nuns, and I instead requested that they pray for a successful conclusion my sister's fertility treatments.

A few weeks after I made that request, she was pregnant. I was impressed by the praying power of these good ladies. It made sense; nuns are considered by the Catholic church to be the brides of Christ. What better way to light a fire under any man, human or Divine, than to get the wives or mother to start nagging.

Before her daughter was a year old, my sister was pregnant again, Her two children are 19 months apart, and although delightful separately; as a pair, they must surely rank among Satan's most faithful minions.

I hastily contacted the nuns, via my friend who worked with them, and let them know that they were free to pray for some other worth souls now.

This was the story I told the nuns the other day, to explain the look of horror with which I'd greeted their promise. They had the good grace to laugh, and said they would pray for my son instead. That's perfect, not only can he use the prayers, he also can't get pregnant.
December 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen O'Neill

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