Love and Marriage
“Even if you have
Even if you need
I don’t mean to stare
We don’t have to breed
We could plant a house
We could build a tree
I don’t even care
We could have all three, she said!” Nirvana-Breed
The American Dream is to get married, buy a house, have kids, maybe some dogs, and a booming career…Right? Right!
I remember growing up with both of my parents from birth to about 5 years old. My parents were in the Army when I was little. I guess I got to be a military brat for a minute. When they met it was love at first sight as they both retell me the story. Lisa a beautiful 17-year-old girl in New York City is outside a Brownstone and a handsome young man sees her there. I’d like to think my mom looked like a young Lisa Bonet, ironically her name also being Lisa. Shane (Dad) to me looked like a brown skin Micheal Jackson (kid’s see what they won’t don’t judge me, judge your mom!). He says he knew he loved her from the first time he laid eyes on her. Who could blame him? My mom is gorgeous. They spoke, they had a whirlwind night, and he had to go. He was only in town on his way to Germany where he was freshly stationed. He swore he’d come back for her and he did. The rest is a crazy history.
If you ask Mom, Dad was definitely to blame. The Black Men Don’t Cheat Code wasn’t in effect at the time. If you ask my Dad he’ll act like I’m still that innocent 5-year-old girl, he doesn’t know what the hell I’m talking about and he still loves my mom to this day. He never admits guilt and never blames her. I blame chemistry. Surely life seems amazing with love at first sight. You swear you’re the one and vice versa. My mom is a fiery Aries and my Dad a Libra. They are polar opposites. Lisa being super blunt, emotional, skeptical, naive, passionate loving but threatening all the same. Shane being super charismatic, charming, storytelling (that nigga be lying like shit sometimes), smart, and creative. More than likely they were sexually attracted to one another and when it’s good it’s great and when it was bad it was hell.
I imagined the fights they had before I was old enough to understand the toxicity of their union. I only remember them being together and then they weren’t. Dad was staying in the house and we were moving to an apartment. My parents separated when I was about 4 or 5. Separation is hard on kids, we tend to blame ourselves and always wish for our parents to be together. They tried but they never quite worked out. Now that I’m older I’m glad my mom didn’t stay together for me. I think everyone deserves to be happy. Why fake it for the kid? It’s like believing Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny are real except my mom’s heart was at stake. At the end of it all, there’s no point in the wasted time.
Obviously, my mother’s relationships affected my view on Marriage. I wouldn’t say her influence was good or bad but I didn’t have the view that Marriage was forever. I didn’t have the view that it was the American Dream. I didn’t think my purpose in life revolved around being someone’s wife. I saw my mom go through different relationships and established what I wanted for myself and how I expect to be treated by a man.
The unspoken relationship Law of Lisa
Never let a man beat on you!
Lisa was strong-willed, sharp-tongued, and put the fear of Jesus Christ in everyone including muscular men. She wasn’t afraid of no one and would use any weapon allotted to her to defend herself including a straight razor she may have kept in her pocket.
Don’t depend on a man for finances!
Let’s say your significant other is the provider and you make less and can’t provide for yourself. People are quick to use this as leverage to manipulate you when things don’t go their way. What’s worse is getting put on the hook for mutual debt when shit goes sour and fighting for your piece of the pie.
Don’t get caught up being a baby mama!
All men cheat and most men don’t want to pay full child support. Lisa always told me not to get pregnant because she ain’t taking care of no grandbabies. Of course, this excludes children within marriage.
It’s better to be miserable by yourself than stuck with someone you can’t stand!
I don’t think she said this but based on her dating behaviors, but this is the lesson I learned. As I grow older I start to question if she still believes this, or is this my personal belief that I attached to her? Anyway back to the story.
My dad didn’t teach me much about relationships. I don’t blame him but I believe he really wanted what was best for me. I was raised by my mother from 5-18 years old. My mom would tell me stories of their marriage and as good or bad as the stories played out, I reserved my judgment of my father for my own experiences. I maintained an objective view and loved them equally but respected my mother for her strength. Shane never remarried. I wondered if it’s because he still loved my mom or because one marriage ending in heartbreak was enough for him. I don’t think he’ll ever tell me the true reason…
Mom moved on to have a child with someone she didn’t love, but she loves her daughter who came from the situation. My Chinna the miracle baby. Doctors said my mom couldn’t get pregnant. After being an only child for 14 years some Hispanic dude comes out from nowhere and shoots up the club.
I find my mother in her older state to more tolerant of bullshit when it comes to relationships. Maybe there’s a fear of being alone? When I was well into adulthood, my mom eventually secretly married a man I believe she loves but I’m not sure if she likes him very much. Her love is strong, but is she happy? Did Lisa have the blueprint for my love life?
…to be continued