My mom bought me a subscription to Real Simple magazine for my birthday last year. I don’t subscribe to magazines, so the fact that it was a gift made it a bit of a treat to look forward to each month. Except Real Simple is a Martha Stuart publication and while I started off poring through page after page of the first few issues, lately I’ve been tossing them on top of the bathroom scale once I get them thinking I’ll get to them later. Something about reading about the married 23 yr. old’s tips on organizing all her shoes, or the overly-ambitious single 35 yr. old’s method’s of organizing her work-at-home space, it’s all so…. traditional. My life would never be featured in this kind of magazine, I couldn’t relate to wanting to know the most top-quality $350 slipper flats.
After bringing the latest issue on the BART for some quick reading, I jumped to the nonfiction piece in the middle and read it and was happily surprised for many reasons. I felt like it could have been me writing that, and it scared me because come next year or 10 years from now, it could very well be me. And oh how untraditional it is.
It’s a piece about a woman in her early 30’s who split up with her opposite-personality boyfriend after a year of fighting and dragging their friends and family through the drama. Then, after the breakup, she ended up pregnant with his baby. After the breakup, she wasn’t able to move on with anyone else. They went on secret dates once a week because of the ease of intimacy they shared, hence the ending up preggers.
Before the calls come in from my family, no, I’m not pregnant. When ex-boy and I began dating, we both joked that I had purposely strayed so far from the type of man my grandfather would approve of – 11 yrs my senior, still in school, no savings, no intention of ever settling with one girl. Technically, we broke up in May of 2006. But we couldn’t pull away from eachother. Then I went to good friend’s wedding and realized the type of tradition they were sharing was something ex-boy and I would never have. We would never have a traditional engagement, wedding, or life. So we formally broke up at the end of August this past year. But we still went on secret dates and hung out and I didn’t share this with friends or family because I knew the response I would have gotten – didn’t you two break up? We did break up, in a sense. I was on the lookout for something traditional and that’s all I wanted. But even when I experienced new things with other people, I still ran back to him to tell him.
The end to the story in the magazine is that while the woman and her ex-boyfriend share custody, they still have “illegitimate family nights” and that’s what works for them. I don’t know what I envision to happen with ex-boy. But some nights I get to go to sleep with ex-boy spooning Jack and me spooning my two boys with one arm reaching across the covers. And that’s what works for us.