First comes love, then comes marriage, and you know the rest. For girls of my generation, there was little question on the order of love, marriage and kids. It was all supposed to go the way the song said.
Recently, I discovered, or rather I accepted, that I am classified as one of “advanced reproductive age.” A classification that frightens single girls who grew up believing in the playground ditty, but have failed to follow its prescribed order.
To set the stage, there’s no boy or potential boy within a 3000 mile radius of where I now find myself: a woman in the latter part of her child-bearing years. Furthermore, any talk of biological clocks, marriage and being together forever is akin to living in Chernobyl in the 80’s, no potential date or mate wants to drop by, more or less stay for awhile.
So where does this leave me? With an abandoned belief that life comes to us in neatly, organized boxes to be unwrapped in predictable order.
What I’m considering now is that for some of us, what I want to categorize as: the special one’s, the unique one’s, those who don’t subscribe to following societal rules or norms, but can see beyond the ordinary, traditional template of life and family and be brave enough to stand up and say, “I’m gonna move the boxes around.” That maybe for some of us, baby comes first, then love and then marriage? Or for some, marriage, love and then baby?
What I’ve realized at my advanced reproductive age is that there’s not a one-size fits all when it comes to family. We make the family we want, no matter the order.
So what does this little rant all mean for me? Raised in southern tradition, I’ve been programmed to believe in the “proper” order of love, marriage and babies. Today, as an adult, I’m in the process of deprogramming: That for me, my lifestyle of circumstance, not choice, is one in which I can change. It’s one I can create on my terms and not those prescribed to me by a stupid playground song or even southern societal standards. I have the power to move the boxes around and create a specialized, one of a kind template for my family and life.
And yes, maybe for me, that means baby comes first, then love and then marriage? I’m not sure yet, but I’m getting closer to finding out.