Earlier today, Dooce had a post about which is harder, marriage or parenthood. Funny she should ask.
For me, the answer is easy. Even when Chris gives me a new vacuum for Christmas, marriage has never made me want to walk into the middle of the cranberry bog and hold my head under water the way I wanted to when I first became a mom.
When you marry someone, you've probably spent some time with them (unless you've been sold into marriage, in which case you can skip to paragraph 4). You know their quirks. You know, more or less, what you're in for. Marriage is a refuge. It's where you go at the end of the day, where someone is on your team and they always pick you first for theirs. You know that, as much as you never would, you can always leave. It's like holding someone's hand.
Becoming a mother is not so much holding someone's hand as having a 9 inch spike driven through your foot into a ship's anchor. Suddenly, you can't go anywhere. Literally. You're supposed to keep this baby home for the first two weeks and unless you have someone to help you, you can't even go buy your own feminine products because that leaving the baby in the car thing? Frowned upon. And you do need help. Because as much as you love love love this person you are holding, it is like nothing else you've ever experienced. Everything up until this point has been quitable. Put downable. A baby? Not so. No matter what you do, no matter where you go, you are this person's mother. There is no way to walk away from that anchor unless you do yourself physical harm. Which you may or may not consider.
And then one day, you discover that the spike doesn't hurt. You are, in fact, quite mobil. You discover that what you thought was a rusty chunk of iron is actually a Segway. You go places you didn't think of going before. Simple, daily things become bright and shining. You meet other people who are also on Segways. You move through life with more direction and purpose than you may have before. You and the Segway move as one - most of the time.
Yes, there are still things that are hard to do in your new circumstances. Nightclubs are awkward on a Segway. Railroad tracks are impossible. You work around these things, because the person who's come to live at your house fills you with such delight that he/she trumps everything you've left behind. Including your privacy, your peace, and possibly your sanity. You realize you haven't thought about sawing off your own limbs in weeks. You do not, after all, drown yourself across the street.
You think maybe a second 9" spike through your foot would be a good idea. Just to be safe.
And through it all is the person you married. Holding your hand and knowing all is well. It was, and is, all good, all along. And robot vacuums are cool, no matter when you get them.