Wife. Even at a relatively young age, I knew I was never going to be a wife.
In the books I read, the wife stayed at home while the husband went out and did “things.” The wife took care of the children, cooked, cleaned house and all that sort of stuff, but I hated cleaning, didn’t much care for cooking and I was never going to have children.
So why would I need to be a wife?
I grew up in the 1970s and 80s, a card-carrying member of Generation X. I was a latchkey kid, during a time when it felt strange if your parents were still together. Divorce was the norm.
In my 20s, I attended friends’ weddings, big affairs with white dresses and bridesmaids and tuxedos and catering halls. I was incredibly happy for my friends. But each wedding cemented the idea that all this frou-frou was not for me.
I knew I was going to be a lone wolf. A drama teacher once told me that he saw me in my 30s as someone who’d been divorced a “couple of times” (if I got married at all), with a boyfriend who followed me around as I moved from job to job.
What struck me about his prediction was how accurate I thought it might be.
Bu then, in my late 20s, I met B through mutual friends. We were together for five months before he moved to Arizona with me when I got a job there at a newspaper.
One day, I came home from work and B asked if I wanted to go to Vegas that weekend and get married. No ring, no fancy dinner, no flowers. This guy got me.
I said yes. The next night, I got home from work, packed up an overnight bag and the two of us hopped in the car. We told one couple that we were friends with where we were going, and realized we didn’t have rings, so we stopped at the nearest mall and got two simple sterling silver bands.
After an overnight stop due to a blizzard in the mountains, as well as a tourist stop at the Hoover Dam, we arrived at The Strip. I wanted to get married by Elvis, because, I mean, what else would one do in Vegas?
We saw the Graceland Chapel, but I figured there had to be more than one way to get married by Elvis in Vegas, so we continued to check out other options.
Then I saw it. The Little White Chapel on the Strip. With a drive-through.
Getting married by Elvis in Vegas? Tacky and cliché (I’m not saying that as if it’s a bad thing). Getting married in a drive-through in Vegas? Tacky, yet definitely not cliché. I was sold. Now we just had to get our license at the courthouse.
We could have paid extra to take a limo through the drive-through, but that seemed too fancy. If we were gonna do this, we were gonna do it right.
We were both 28 years old.
Nearly 17 years later, we’re still married and we have two children, which makes me a mother in addition to a wife. Two things I never thought I’d be.
As a writer, words carry a lot of weight to me.
The word wife went from a word I wanted nothing to do with to one I carry proudly. I can’t imagine my life any other way — and I know that when I’m old and gray and sitting on the porch in a rocking chair, I’ll have my husband by my side, continuing the journey with me.