Yesterday I wrote about things in my life which worked out exactly as I had planned. MR is a person who seems to always land on his feet, and he says this is not because he’s especially lucky, he just knows how to seize opportunities. I think I’ve done the same at certain points. Sometimes, though, with all the will in the world, things don’t work out exactly as I planned, and that is certainly true for settling into my marriage.
Everything began perfectly. I’ve detailed the story often enough here, but it still amazes me, because when I hit 30 and had been on exactly 3 dates in 8 years, I thought one of my life dreams, having a family, was never going to happen. As 30 clicked over to 31, and then 32, I started to really panic. Time was running out. I had to kiss a few frogs before I found the One, didn’t I? And I wasn’t even catching frogs. Then if I did find a guy, we’d probably date for a couple of years before getting married, and then want to be married a couple of years…basically my logic turned into panic along these lines:
Then my friend introduced me to MR and we were exchanging emails before we met as though we were already a couple. When we met in person several months later in August, it was already a fait accompli. Then he went about some serious day seizing and surprised both himself and me by proposing at Christmas.
Suddenly my life was falling into place. Perhaps that’s one of the ways he’s the right person for me, because he goes after the things he wants in the same way. We started planning a wedding, a big wedding with a 14th century Guild Hall as a venue and a phalanx of bridesmaids and a Big White Dress.
Then things started to crumble a little bit. MR’s family, especially his mother, is an efficient person, and this is no fault. Also, this was the first wedding of her 3 children so naturally she wanted to be involved. However, I as the bride was across the Atlantic, so the efficient planning meant sometimes cutting out the bride, and that was just the beginning of transatlantic difficulties. I thought when we decided to get married in England that I would have a small cluster of guests. Not a lot, because a trip to England isn’t cheap, but I thought a handful of people would turn up. My bridesmaids did, and I was so grateful to them for making that happen even when they didn’t have tons of available funds. And I did have two friends make the effort to come. But none of my extended family could come, friends who I had counted on because they said they would. In the lead up to the wedding this made me feel a bit lonely, particularly because of the immigration circumstances.
By far the most difficult thing was trying to sort out immigration. We were getting married in England because we wanted to live in New York, but the US Department of Immigration had other ideas. If we wanted to get married in England, MR would have to wait 9 months for his paperwork to be processed before he could even enter the US. If he tried before then, even to visit, the border guards could send him home because they could say he wasn’t trying to visit but sneak in. We could give up our big wedding in favor of a quickie courthouse wedding, but even that would require paperwork and months of waiting if we did everything on the up and up.
I thought when we got engaged that I would have everything–a job I loved in a home city that was a part of me, and newly, a man I loved who I was going to start a life with. Immigration law quickly squashed that have it all feeling, and I had some decisions to make. So I decided–I had been a romantic my whole life, and I wasn’t about to give up on that ideal. I waited so long for MR, I wasn’t going to wait anymore.
I miss NYC terribly. It’s still my home. I miss my friends, and I miss my job. I worked for a stint at a British school, and part of the reason it didn’t go so well was because it wasn’t the job I had loved for so long. I’m only just now starting to branch out and make friends, a year and a half after arriving here.
But I don’t just have a husband, I have a family. If I had agreed to wait those 9 months, I wouldn’t have my daughter next to me as I type this. We would still be waiting to start a family. And sometimes I wonder–teaching was always the backup career. It turned out so wonderful that I really started to devote myself to it, but I had wanted to be a writer since I was 12 years old. I mentioned yesterday I was afraid that writing wouldn’t work out, and the story above is why. But then I think–even though this isn’t the ideal I set out for myself, it’s still a pretty great life. And while I may miss home, that doesn’t mean I regret going for this life. So maybe it’s time to grab a little courage and give my final dream a try. Carpe diem…carpe horas.