Blogging For Books has issued this challenge: Write about your "Ex". Here is my entry:
We all have significant ex-relationships, ex-friends, former existences which haunt our lives and thrill us with their memories in unexpected times and places. These relationships and experiences are no longer ongoing and cannot be changed or re-lived. They are OVER and yet they still have the power to inspire us and to even intrude in our current pursuits of not only a better and more inspiring life but a nice, normal, stable existence. (At least that's what I'm going for usually. Well, maybe not normal, but stable, yes.)
The most meaningful Ex in my life, the former relationship that constantly intrudes on my current relationship, is my "ex-life", BEFORE CHILDREN.
It is both frightening and maddening the way the past can linger and taunt you with its "grass is greener" nostalgia. The Ghost of My Life Before Children is constantly clamoring to remind me of HOW GREAT IT WAS when my life was mine and mine alone. The BC Ghost fills my memory with taunting images of sleeping in every weekend and not wearing clothes smeared with peanut butter and jelly.
If I were to listen to the BC Ghost, I would be convinced that not only was I 30 pounds lighter before squeezing out my three offspring, but I had shinier hair, whiter teeth, a sharper wit, and less gas. The BC Ghost REALLY likes to wax nostalgic about the convenience of my former life. According to BCG, my life was all about last minute vacations in which I could lie on a chaise lounge while cabana boys brought margaritas, shopping sessions that lasted for days and produced clothes that ALL FLATTERED MY FIGURE, and a romantic life that would make Casanova (not the Heath Ledger one) envious.
Another issue with the BC Ghost, is that Hubby has his own BC Ghost and the two of them conspire together at times to leave us both certain, that not only was life better and more convenient BC, but that our spouse is conspiring to compound the pitiful effects.
For example, my BC Ghost tells me that "back in the day" on the weekend, Hubby would have helped me clean the house and fold laundry (just one load for our tiny family) and then we would snuggle on the sofa and watch TV before making a gourmet meal together, CLEANING THE KITCHEN TOGETHER (please don't laugh yet), and then going to movie at the last minute without ever thinking about babysitters or budgets.
Hubby's BC Ghost tells him that on weekends "back in the day" he would play golf all day Saturday, and then sleep til 10 on Sunday, be served breakfast in bed, watch Sports Center until his svelte and scantily clad wife met him at the sofa with Buffalo wings and beer as the football games started, and then, after the Packers soundly trounced whomever they were playing, he might mow the lawn or go for a run, just for fun.
Now, you can see, dear internet, where these depictions of what a weekend could/should be will create resentment, frustration and even occasionally, despair. We have been DUPED into thinking that our lives BC were a freakin' Disneyland of pleasure and free time and that we were the lords of our own little idyllic fifedoms and had spouses who were more like slaves than partners. Bah!!! YOU KNOW it was never that way. Our Ghosts of our own Ex-lives have done what so many Exes do in the retelling: They Lie.
Because, you know what? My ass IS bigger, but that is MY fault because I don't make time to work out and I eat more crap more often. Period. And my hair is SHINIER because now I can afford to occasionally get it PROFESSIONALLY COLORED rather than just use Nice 'n Easy like when we were poor childless students. And yes, I haven't slept for more than four hours straight in six years due to constant pregnancy and nursing, but I still get enough sleep overall and even take naps sometimes with a snuggly little snoozer tucked under my arms or pressed against my back. And THAT is a heaven of its own.
And poor Hubby has much better golf gear now, even if he goes less often, and he gets to share football with his children who gamely cheer for whomever he cheers for and then steal his Buffalo wings (which he made quite capably by himself) and then afterwards he throws the kids on the bed for a half hour while they giggle hysterically and beg for more.
And when we do (gasp) go to a movie or even out to dinner, we appreciate it ten times more than we did BC. We are like dieters sneaking a pint of Ben and Jerrys, as we sneak off for our moments alone. Ahhh! The anticipation! It's like dating again.
There are trade-offs for every complaint and tirade of parenthood from my saggy boobs to the eight loads of laundry per week. My life is indeed much different from the world I inhabited BC, but I cannot ever adequately quantify the joys and humor and charm brought into my world by the three little ones who have joined us in our own brand of chaos.
As my Grandpa used to say to my Grandma in those crazy moments of solidarity and pride in that chaos which is unique to being a family; "I'm glad we're Us". And by that I certainly mean the WHOLE CLAN of us, warts, saggy boobs, and all.
Because you know that soon enough I will be waxing nostalgic about "when the kids were little" and then "when the kids still lived at home" and then "when the kids DIDN'T live at home AGAIN" and so on. And so I will strive to keep those ghostly exes in the past and try to ignore their persistent reminders of how great it was when I didn't have to clean up 27 Polly Pocket pieces out of my bed before going to sleep or wipe poop off the toilet seat before using it myself. Sigh.