While the Valentine’s Day party at my daughter’s school was a huge success (candy! pink play-doh!) my four-year-old has far surpassed the thrill of a holiday for the newly in love. She’s going straight for the prize, the big one, the “m” word: She wants to get married, and she’s even chosen her groom.
My daughter has a dashing little BFF and they’ve been spending a lot of time with each other for a respectable three-and-a-half years. They celebrate major holidays together when family obligations don’t get in the way and they’ve even had sleepovers. It’s serious and she constantly reminds me, “I’m going to marry W-.”
Luckily, we like the boy and his parents are top notch – so there will be no in-law issues. And I do love the idea of her holding on to this very special relationship for the rest of her life. Still. I cringe a little when she waxes poetic about her wedding. I’m flattered she wants to wear my dress, but I have to bite my tongue instead of making disclaimers about her youth and stop myself before I start encouraging her to “play the field.” (Although her non-profit lawyer of an Aunt mercifully chimes in, “Not until you get your professional degree!”)
My own reaction to her idealized perceptions of love and marriage is firmly based in the reality that 50% of marriages end in divorce, if you marry later you have a better shot at not splitting up and besides, married women are so danged unhappy! Furthermore, it will be a great disappointment if I raise a 1950s type gal who fantasizes about her wedding day as if it were the be-all, end-all of her existence and winds up losing herself in the process. Project, much?
Right now she’s still living in her tiny world where she loves her best friend and if mommy and daddy love each other and got married, well, why not her? Okay, it’s totally cute. Cute enough for me to smile even while I’m secretly hoping this isn’t the start of an unhealthy self-image, wrapped up in approval from a man. So for this weekend, at least, (I’m making no promises if she’s still in this hyper-domestic mode when she’s in high school) instead of warning her away from a future with limited but lovable options, I can indulge her in this fairy-tale.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all the young romantics!