Monday, February 21, 2011

Wherever It Takes

France was just the beginning. The Alps and the Italian Riviera were catalysts. The American Husband in Paris is venturing to new locales to experience the world, Wherever It Takes.

As a young married couple, my wife and I view travel as a necessity. Because, at the expense of sounding like Kodak-moment cliché, what do we have in life but our experiences? What shapes us more than our experiences? Who more do we love than those that share our experiences?

Souvenir hawkers stalk in the shadows of the Eiffel Tower. Sellers of antique books line both banks of the Seine. But the best thing I got in Paris was about five minutes atop Notre Dame Cathedral, the City of Light washing over me like the river that pulses through it. To my right, a pensive gargoyle caught in an interminable moment of peace and introspection. To my left, my new wife, mouth agape, breathing in the same air that has kept that gargoyle enraptured for centuries.

In every corner of this world, experiences are waiting to be plucked from the ether.

Why not hunt them down as a young married couple? The vantage point is totally unique. There is no one to impress. There is no one to win over. There is no shop too dark or street too crowded or language too taboo. My wife is obligated by the laws of common decency to spend substantial amounts of time with me. Our income combines (notice I did not say our income doubles – Danielle is a graduate student and could make more money rattling a can in front of a 7-11). The “I do”s intertwined our interests. Pre-wedding stress and the climactic wedding day explosion become newlywed afterglow, glistening with the possibility of possibilities. Yes, for this particular endeavor, marriage is the perfect time, the perfect state of mind, the perfect set of circumstances. We’ll be at the party; we might as well take advantage of the open bar.

But the clock is ticking. To paraphrase (probably incorrectly) a soap opera that I’m too young to know about and too male to care about, the sand is streaming through the hourglass with increasing velocity.

I’m not ready to give my life up: not quite yet. I have a few things I’d like to take care of first. Danielle does too. There are a few places we’d like to see, a few restaurants we’d like to try, several people we’d like to meet and a whole bucket of experiences we’d like to experience.

And we want to experience them before our freedom dies – before we have kids.

In anticipation of the angry letters/messages/texts/comments/tweets/smoke signals, let me emphasize that Danielle and I want a family someday. This is not meant to insult or offend (and if you are offended, you don’t know me very well and you should just call me, I’ll say plenty of much more offensive things to you directly). We fully believe children are a blessing. Unfortunately, they’re also kryptonite to a young couple’s autonomy. When was the last time you saw two twenty-six year olds backpacking across Eastern Europe with a car seat, pack-n-play, stroller, two diaper bags and Junior in-tow?

Never: because children cost money. Children require constant attention. Children cause messes, make noise and generally disrupt the natural order of things. Your world revolves around them. Your life is their life and their life is yours. That’s how it is and that’s how it should be. How else would we continue the human race, pass on our genes and keep Gerber in business? I’m certainly not eating pureed parsnips.

Eventually the majority of us – regardless of gender, religion, sexual orientation, credo, race or nationality – succumb to the biological clock, fulfill our duty to God and nature and try our hand at the most stressful, difficult and time-consuming task known to humanity: parenting. Some fail, some succeed and there’s not much way of knowing what category you fall into until a.) your kid goes to college or b.) you catch him chewing on purple crayons.

Even though I don’t have children I’m confident that the moment my wife utters the words, “we’re pregnant,” suddenly my life is not my own anymore. I’ve seen it happen to better men than I.

The day I decided to marry Danielle, I arrived at a simple philosophy: with a little nerve and a little levity, the world could be ours. Is there a better lesson to pass on to our eventual offspring?

We will seek out those never-forget, in-the-moment moments, wherever it takes. We hope you will follow along.

And when Junior finally does come along someday, the experiences Danielle and I have had will certainly come in handy when we attempt to take him backpacking across Eastern Europe - with a car seat, pack-n-play, stroller and two diaper bags in-tow.

No comments:

Post a Comment