This is the question
Children—(if it Please God)—Constant companion (& friend in old age) who will feel interested in one—object to be beloved and played with—better than a dog anyhow. Home, & someone to take care of house—Charms of music and female chit-chat.—These things good for one’s health.—but terrible loss of time.—
My God, it is Intolerable to think of spending ones whole life, like a neuter bee, working, working—& nothing after all.—No, no, won’t do. Imagine living all one’s day solitary in smoky dirty London House.—Only picture to yourself a nice soft wife on a sofa with good fire, & books & music perhaps-—Compare this vision with the dingy reality of Grt. Marlbro’ Street.Not Marry
Freedom to go where one liked—choice of Society and little of it. —Conversation of clever men at clubs—Not forced to visit relatives, & to bend in every trifle. —to have the expense and anxiety of children—perhaps quarreling—Loss of time. —cannot read in the Evenings—fatness & idleness—Anxiety & responsibility—less money for books &c—if many children forced to gain one’s bread. —(but then it is very bad for ones health to work too much)
Perhaps my wife won’t like London; then the sentence is banishment & degradation into indolent, idle fool.
It being proved necessary to Marry When? Soon or late?— Charles Darwin
Tag Archives: love
Two weeks ago, I spent four nights and five days in California with my sisters. We were on our first just-us, unsupervised, all-adults vacation. Ever. And in direct violation of my firm rule about family visits- three days is the limit. Just long enough to feel like everyone spent some time together, but not too long so that everyone reverts to their puberty selves and starts bickering over jeans and shoes.
We almost made it. It was, of course, the last full night out that put us over the top. We spent a beautiful first day touring wine country and tasting some delicious beverages, picnicking looking out over the hills full of vines and mustard, laughing at our tasting bar neighbors. In true Trousers Family style, my middle sister looked over in horror as the wine snob beside us dumped something she didn’t like out into a bucket. “What a waste!,” she whispered, and proceeded to take her sample of the same bad wine as a shooter.
We had an early night after kicking back at the hotel with a bottle of local red picked up at the Target on the way back from the wineries. (We are also cheap. Or as I prefer to put it, thrifty.)
The next day, we headed into the city to explore. We stayed in Fisherman’s Wharf at the Courtyard. Seriously, the most convenient hotel of all time. Right by the end of the trolley line, on the streetcar line, within blocks of the buses, and a couple of blocks from Pier 39, the big entertainment complex. There was plenty of good seafood to be had, bars, and a ton of affordable souvenir shopping to be done. Also, the woman at the front desk will help you find your drunken sister when she wanders off with complete strangers at 2 am. Which is what brings me to the four day rule.
We decided, after two days of sight-seeing, to “stop in” at the nightclub next to the hotel. This place looked like every episode of Jersey Shore was happening simultaneously on the dance floor. The bartender was generously pouring Maker’s Mark and Diet Cokes. We all had entirely too many. And all of a sudden, it’s lights on and last call and we are tipsy and sassy and heading for the door. We’ve passed Day Three into Day Four. And now, everyone gets a drunken opinion, because we’re not visiting anymore- we’re family. Blood, or out for blood.
This, my sisters decided, was a great time to weigh in on their thoughts about whether I should be dating a woman (no), whether they thought I spent my money properly (no), and to share that my brother-in-law believes I am in some extended delusion about myself. Day Four is ugly. We hold most of this conversation standing outside the hotel, smoking and sniping at each other, until some guys from the bar invite us to a party. As the oldest sister, with the best tolerance for booze, I decline politely and firmly. No stranger parties at 3 am. No way, no how.
The drunkest sister decides that if I won’t let her leave, she should invite these strangers up to our room where I have a bottle of wine. Another veto. I am rapidly becoming the “UnFun One” or as I like to think of it, “The Safe One When It Comes to Stranger Danger.” So, while I step out to light a cigarette and have my back turned, boom! Missing sister. Or as The Lady said when I later relayed this story, “A lost party member is right up there with The Worst.”
Yep. Much more sobered, and officially pissed off I set out to search for The Adventurer. I put out an APB with the aforementioned front desk clerk, roam the few blocks around the hotel hoping that she didn’t, God forbid, get in a car, and discover that she has left her cell phone on the night stand. Thirty minutes later, as I pace up and down the front sidewalk and the youngest cries on my shoulder, the desk clerk flags me down. And there is The Adventurer smiling like a Cheshire Cat in the hotel lobby. Exhausted, we take her upstairs and everyone passes out for the night.
But, because we are, remember, in violation of the Three Day Rule, the morning starts off with the kind of screaming match that we haven’t had since high school- accusations, insults, rapidly shifting allegiances (oh, the joy of three siblings), and a moment where we all just agreed to go off and explore for the last day without one another. A real sister explosion.
And then, a tiny miracle. As The Adventurer is declaring me an old fuddy duddy and enemy of fun and just before she goes to slam the bathroom door, I say “….All you had to say was, ‘I’m sorry.’” Silence. She takes a shower and ten minutes later, she comes out with “You know… you’re right.” Contrition, hugs all around. We head off to taste Irish coffees at the bar that claims to have invented them.
That’s the way it goes with sisters. At least with mine. And while I’m not thrilled that they feel the need to have opinions about my life that I disagree with, there’s no way I could stop them from sharing them. That’s how it works.
We find each other when we wander off; we find our ways back to each other every time.
It’s easy to sit down and write when the world is a mopey little rain cloud dangling overhead and everything seems to be upside down and sideways. In my recent happiness, I forget to take time to document what that feels like as well.
For Friday, a list of what joy feels like these days:
- Setting off late night fireworks with the Lady and my neighbors in a hazy glow of cocktails and laughter.
- Swimming in a lake with my favorite people, then lounging in the sun as day turns into dusk.
- Waking up on Sunday and slipping back off into a nap curled up in bed while the Lady turns the pages in her latest read.
- Running into the ex, having a minor confrontation, and realizing that at least ten friends stood behind me ready to leap in if the moment called for it- and handling it myself.
- Developing a standard road trip shopping list of beef jerky, Diet Coke, Reese’s Pieces, and Gatorade.
- Spending weekends at the Lady’s parents’ house in the country looking out over 60 acres of field and forest, waiting for hamburgers from the grill or sipping an ice-cold bourbon.
- Waking up to poems, love notes, and hand-drawn robots on the coffee table.
- Arriving back from a business trip to a bouquet bigger than my torso and a full-on tackle hug.
- Deciding to make bacon fried hotdogs because they came to the Lady in a dream and laughing until we ached.
- Impromptu midnight parties on a Tuesday in a yard looking out over the city.
- Insisting on one night apart to do book edits and ending up texting the whole night anyway.
- Planning approximately 27 creative ventures to work on together including several books, an art show, a survival guide, etc.
- Waiting for the work day to end, whether we have plans or not, just to see each other.
- Instigating a “cheesy love song” battle on Facebook.
Yep. Things are great.
I spent most of my weekend sitting on this porch overlooking the mountains and watching the many fireworks strewn about the yard being set off by the Lady. We arrived on Friday night to cocktails being poured, a delicious dinner on the grill, and devoted ourselves to three days of doing nothing but relaxing and enjoying small town America.
There was a pick-up soccer game. A fireworks display seen from the golf course. Two bands. Blueberry pie. Mint chocolate chip ice cream. Lots of long drives with the windows down and the music turned up. Endless sunshine. A few movies on the couch. Friends stopping by and us headed out to drop in on others.
In short, it was perfection.
(And I’m pretty sure that her parents liked me too. I adored them.)
I can’t remember the last time that I came back from a weekend away so rested and refreshed. Sometimes, my dears, life is just too lovely. And I’m not taking that for granted.