It's that time of year again. When the bridal showers begin for all the spring and summer weddings. I've already been to one. Every shower is the same. Yummy food. Polite women, usually dressed more formally than I am. Loads of presents. And The Book. This is a book that is to be filled with advice for the bride-to-be by us, the veteran shower-goers.
It seems like a lot of women come to these events chock full of godly wisdom as to the ins and outs of marriage and can fill pages with words, like a sanctified Dear Abby. I'm not one of them. You stick me with a pen and a blank page and my brain screams a gleeful "adios" and goes on vacay.
Now my husband and I have a pretty good marriage. It is by no means perfect (I'd call it a 9.3 on a scale of 1 to 10) and we had some really, really rough years where I wanted to run away and be young and beautiful and maybe work on a ranch and find me a cowboy—but we got through those and I love him now more than ever. He is my best friend and the person I trust more than anybody else on the planet and I cannot imagine spending one single day without him. We will have been married 25 years this May.
That being said, when it comes to giving trite, open-book, fit for a wedding shower (though the more "polite" ladies may beg to differ) advice, this is all I've got.
#1. If you and your new husband want to take a shower together, make sure there is plenty of water pressure and the bathroom is warm. Back when Matt and I were engaged, people kept telling us about our honeymoon "You've GOT to take a shower together. It is the BEST!" so we figured we had to give it a go. So on our wedding night we turned on the shower in the Hyatt in Knoxville and hopped in. In our anticipation we had failed to notice that the room had been prepped for us with the AC turned to the Arctic setting. The water meekly dribbled out of the shower head and we began to shiver. We politely took turns standing under the pathetic stream until desperation set in. Before long we were soapy and cold and ready to elbow each other out of the way for a chance to bask in the limited warm spew and de-soap ourselves. It was wholly unsatisfying.
(I'm a realtor. Every so often I go in a big, fancy house where the shower is the size of our bedroom and there seem to be a gazillion shower heads and I squeal with glee, "Now THAT is a shower I could share!" Nobody ever seems to understand what I am talking about.)
#2. Rock, paper, scissors solves a host of decision making problems. This one is short and simple and to the point. I know those marriage books talk about establishing roles ahead of time so as to cut down on those newlywed spats. We must have missed that part so we established our own system. Rock, paper, scissors. Always quick, Always fair. Who's gonna make the coffee? Get a shower first (by yourself, of course!)? Change the baby's diaper? No problem.
#3. "The benefit of putting off motherhood is far overrated. Have them while you're young." This was the advice a kind lady gave to me a few weeks before our wedding. This was so unexpected because this was in the 80s when financial security and planning your perfect future and achieving uber-maturity were required BEFORE even thinking of parenthood.
We took her advice anyway, mainly because I really, really wanted babies. I don't consider that I was actually YOUNG when I had my spawn—26, 28, 30, and 32—but I guess I was younger than many. I have never, ever regretted not waiting but I have wished that I could have started motherhood earlier. Much earlier.
Motherhood is a hard, hard job. Physically, mentally, emotionally. It takes its toll and it takes everything in you to get through each day. The needed energy can be hard enough to come by in your 20s, it starts to peter out in your 30s, and by your 40s it has been put on the Endangered Species list.
Add to that the issue of hormones. Perimenopause can start a good 10 years before menopause, meaning that the ups and downs and ins and outs of hormonal fluctuations have you on some evil carnival ride for close to a decade. What happens to most of us, if we have girls, is that our hormones are going out just as our daughters' are coming in, resulting in exponential hormonal mayhem.
I guess there is really no solution to the above described conundrum except, of course, starting your family while a teenager, which comes with its own set of problems. But what I am saying is don't underestimate the fact that your body will change over the years and that will affect your motherhood. If you have a choice, you might want to go for the kids while you are young and perky.
Now I don't write the entire back story to each of these nuggets of highly practical, but not so pious, advice when I'm filling out those wedding shower books. But I will share the story if anyone asks me. And sometimes even if they don't.
Now go warm up your bathroom.