Lest you think that my husband is a jerk or that we have serious problems with our marriage, I should probably have pointed out before writing my last post that both he and I have an occasional habit of “catastrophizing” to a remarkable degree. What I mean by that is that he or I, in this case he, will take the germ of a valid idea and blow it so out of proportion as to become almost ridiculous. The bad part of this is obvious, as it can cause ruffled feathers and result in some unnecessarily hurt feelings and unwarranted fears. The upside, however, is that nobody can ever accuse us of complacency, and so we end up getting issues out on the table before they ever really become issues at all. (The other downside: talking shit into the ground.)
Of course I made my husband reassure me several times that he only fears we could embark on a path of parallel lives; not that we have already done so. He told me, “I’m worried it will just happen when we’re not paying attention.” I said, “Are you kidding me? You, not paying attention?” So that was pretty much the end of the discussion, although it remains true that the constant needs of a baby do result, necessarily, in not enough time for us to focus only on each other. There’s really no getting around that. And so, thank CHRIST, we are not canceling our trip to Paris just yet.
Speaking of catastrophizing, if I was going to have to cancel our trip to Paris I was thinking I might as well just hang it up as a person. Retaining some sense that there remains an individual behind the wife-and-mother façade is imperative to me, and keeping up my annual trips to Europe is part of that. I realize it’s unlikely I will be able to keep up the annual aspect too religiously, but I really, really, REALLY don’t want to just sit here in Denver forever watching my child grow up with no exposure to the world. Oh, good, I’m glad a marginally unselfish thought just flowed out of me for a change – it’s not just about what I want (annual shopping sprees, basically) but also about retaining a link to the larger world, and instilling that value in our child. The single best thing my mother ever did for me in terms of shaping my adult life was moving us to Paris when I was 12. That exposure made a difference to the way I have coaxed my life to evolve; from moving back to Europe again and again to not saving enough money because I blow too much on trips back there when I am living here. And you know, other things – like being really open to other cultures.
That was a joke. I’m open to European culture, but I don’t put my money where my mouth is when my tolerance for other cultures is put to the test. For example, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that from what I can see, I wouldn’t be feeling particularly diplomatic if I were called upon to visit, say… the Middle East. I’m just not that open to the “culture” I see flowing out of there. Call me old-fashioned, but not so old-fashioned I’m still living in the 13th century.