I have what I like to call the “Ally McBeal Syndrome”. I know I’m dating myself with that show but, if you recall Calista Flockhart as the main character, you know that she was eternally dissatisfied with her life despite her many blessings. I know it’s not a good thing and I’m constantly trying to battle it but I tend to obsess over the “what ifs” in life.
I was obsessed with the movie Sliding Doors when it came out. As Rotten Tomatoes notes, it’s a “cleverly conceived romantic comedy that follows a London woman on two hypothetical paths, one where she gets home early and catches her boyfriend in bed with another woman, the other where she doesn’t.” Her lives were completely different, and much of it might have come down that one fateful minute.
I also loved the film Serendipity because it deals with a flirtatious encounter between a man and a woman during the holiday rush and she leaves it up to fate whether they see each other again by writing her name and phone number in a book. They’re separated for years but neither is completely satisfied with their current loves. After already getting engaged to another woman, he goes on a journey to find the book, as he knows from that chance encounter years ago that she’s really the one. This is the stuff for us romantics.
I was recently on a trip to Boston and went exploring the city for the day with my family. I hadn’t mentioned anything to my aunt, as she lives pretty far outside the city and her husband was having surgery. Right after getting out of the car, we ran directly into my aunt and my cousin. Seriously weird, people. As it turns out, the hospital my uncle was having surgery in was right down the street from where we were sightseeing. As my husband and I were talking about it later, if we had found the area right away instead of getting lost for a few minutes we’d have missed her. Kismet can be a powerful thing.
Even my husband’s and my “how we met” story is a strange one. I had moved to Colorado for graduate school and, while there, my girlfriends from my hometown near Chicago had mentioned that they had met guys who lived in the rooftop apartments near Wrigleyville. If you’re from Chicago, you know that meeting anyone who lives in these is a huge score, so I was so envious. I found out years later when I met my husband in LA that he was one of the guys from that apartment. Despite meeting in Los Angeles, we had grown up one suburb away from each other. He also lived a door away from a friend of mine from college. You can’t make this stuff up.
Despite our best efforts, life doesn’t always turn out the way we’d hoped. Serendipity is generally reserved from RomComs, and real life tends to throw us a lot more curveballs. While the way my husband and I met almost seemed predetermined, the encounter in and of itself was flawed when considering the big picture I’d had in mind for myself. As women, we tend to have this “I’ll be married by…” and “I’ll have kids by…” and “I’ll have (insert number of) kids.” My husband and I got married at 34 and had kids by 35. We have been so fortunate to have two healthy boys whom I love and adore but having a third child (my dream) and a girl (also my dream) is now in my rearview mirror. I’m 43 now and, even though I know it does happen here and there these days, my marriage is far too rocky to introduce a third baby. As anyone with a bit of sense in her knows, adding a baby is not the answer to a marriage that has issues.
It’ll never happen and I have faced that. I try to focus on what I do have instead of what I don’t, but I do have my moments when it hits me square in the gut, and it’s usually not an opportune time either. I once was seated next to a mom on a mani/pedi date with her two adorable girls in a local nail salon and I began to cry. Like, hard. “That’ll never be me,” I thought, feeling really sorry for myself. I’ll never forget that day, though, because I got home and my boys were hiding on me. I came in the door, and they both jumped out from behind the couch and I screamed my head off. Giggles ensued for 10 minutes and I realized that these boys and this life is a gift. I’ve got it good. Real, real good.
Marnie is a freelance writer, lyrical prankster, and mom to two boys – Finn, 6, and Declan, 4. She started out as a Copywriter for FOX’s americanidol.com and has since written for sites like LivingSocial, Red Tricycle, and Wetpaint. Marnie has also been published twice in San Diego Magazine’s “best of” segments. Her writing on parenting has been featured several times on the popular Scary Mommy blog and on Disney’s parenting website, Babble. This busy North County San Diego resident also hosts a mommy blog called LoveButBlog, which takes a rather irreverent look at the trials of motherhood and marriage.
On top of raising two nutty boys, she wrangles two portly pugs named Olive and Fred. When she’s not writing or wiping noses and buns, she’s working out, indulging in her trashy TV addiction with her equally addicted husband, cracking a bottle of Malbec, or fantasizing about her dream trip to the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Find her socializing the media on Facebook and Twitter.