Meet, Date, Love, Marriage, Baby(ies), Happily Ever After

And so goes life.

I feel like every time I go to the city I have 10 more things to talk about then on a regular day.  So the next few posts will probably be about all the things that came about during my visit to the city yesterday.

I did my regular wake-up, get ready, drive to train station – except that I missed my train because I couldn’t find parking.  Not a big deal, just taught me to leave a little bit earlier now that they’ve cut the train schedule back.  When I got on the next train it was FULL.  I did manage to find two vacant seats next to each other, so I took the one nearest the window.  On the very next stop a guy sat down next to me; he smelled like an Axe commercial.  I was holding my nonprofit management book so he started the conversation by asking where I was going to school and we talked for the rest of the train ride.

As a side note, I have recently changed my approach to “strangers” and the city; I am mirroring a good friend of mine, Josh (from the Journey).  On one of our retreats, which took us to Chicago, our entire group was pretty mesmerized by Josh’s ability to strike up a conversation with anyone (even a really tall guy on public transp.  The conversation literally started “Wow, you’re really tall”).  He also had the ability to find amazement, excitement, and revelry in everything we did, every building we passed, and every sign we read.  Why not live life like this?

As this stranger and I became quick friends, the conversation trickled to Lenny in Indiana while I was here in New York, and eventually to “John” and his new wife (married in July).

John: “You are very lucky that he is there and you can have some time to yourself.  You are also very lucky that you were given so much time to make sure that he is the one that you want to spend the rest of your life with.”

Macara: “I suppose so, but I would definitely prefer to be in Indiana as well.”

John: “My wife, I have only known her since the new year.  It was an arranged marriage; you know, her mother and father and my mother and father met a few times and then they had she and I meet.  We went to a backroom and talked, only twice before we were engaged in February.  She was in Canada so we talked on the phone a few times, you know, to get to know each other better, and then the wedding was in July and she moved in with me.  In my culture, I am from Pakistan you know, we live with our parents so we now live with my parents and my older brother and his wife and their new baby.  I am a new uncle.”

Macara: “Wow.  I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who was in an arranged marriage before!  How has it worked out?  Do you get along?  Are you happy?”

John: “It is okay.  You know, we still don’t know each other that well.  But she does not work so she does my laundry, irons my shirts, cooks our meals, and is there whenever I need something.  This is our culture, she now takes care of me so that I can take care of her and our future children.  We are pressured, um asked, to have children soon.  So now we focus on having children.  This is my culture.”

Macara: “I don’t think it’s just your culture that wants babies after marriage (with a chuckle).  But are you ready?  Is this what you want?”  -(side note: yes, I realize I was asking extremely personal questions to a stranger – hell, people like to talk to me and I can be a bit nosey 🙂 )

John: “Sometimes it is not about what we want, but about what we are supposed to do.  I am, was, happy being bachelor.  But I am turning 27 next month, it was time that I settle down and become a man.”

As we exited the train at Penn Station and he headed one way with a wave as I headed the other, tears came to my eyes.  I cry pretty much all the time now regardless of the situation, but John had me thinking about so much.  Can you imagine being in an arranged marriage?  Knowing you are spending the rest of your life with this person?  And what happens, in their culture, if they struggle to have children as we have?  Can a marriage built through arrangement withstand the test of infertility?  Would the marriage be abandoned?  Would she take on the blame without any actual explanation?

It made me again thankful to have Lenny.  The first year and a half of our marriage was extremely trying, more so than a normal newlywed couple.  Would we have made it through all of that without the six years of foundation we had slowly built before our marriage?

Yesterday was a rough day.  I was missing home, missing Lenny, missing my life. But even on bad days, I am so thankful to have an amazing husband, wonderful friends, and a great support system to help me through things.

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Friends

Pretty vague heading, right?

Over the past year I have learned a lot.  I honestly think that when I’m 95 (because yes, I’ll live to be at least that old) I’ll still look back and say “2009 and 2010, yes those are the years that I learned so much”.  And one thing that I feel I have learned so much about is friendship.

The term “friend” is used so much, and so loosely, that when all things are considered it has lost so much worth.  So, the nerdy side of me looked up the definition of friend and found (thanks to wikipedia):

Value that is found in friendships is often the result of a friend demonstrating the following on a consistent basis:

  • The tendency to desire what is best for the other
  • Sympathy and empathy
  • Honesty, perhaps in situations where it may be difficult for others to speak the truth, especially in terms of pointing out the perceived faults of one’s counterpart
  • Mutual understanding and compassion
  • Trust in one another; able to go to each other for emotional support

Reading this definition was both enlightening and humbling.  Humbling, because I know that I have done things in the past that do not at all resonate these qualities as a friend.  I also know that I have worked incredibly hard over the past few years, and will continue to work, to become this type of friend.  Enlightening, because it made me realize that 1) it’s time to clean out the facebook friends list, and 2) while I have some “friends” who are so far from fitting the mold they are strangers, I also have some absolutely amazing friends who make that definition look weak.

If you are one of those amazing friends who has been there for me when I needed you the most, who has kept secrets, who has handed out more support than pantyhose, and has dealt with more venting than a dryer repairman – thank YOU!  I can only pray that someday I’m able to repay that friendship and be there for you when you need it.

(Special shoutout to: Abbey, Andrew, Brian C, Brian L, all of CMFK, Dena, Greg, Jennifer, Jena, Jess, LENNY, Micaela, Stacy, Steph K, Steph L, Tamara, Val and our families.) – Yes, I put the names in alphabetical order to not play favorites  🙂

Have a great week!

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