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Sunday, October 03, 2010

Curb appeal

It’s the perfect street in San Carlos: It’s called Christmas Tree Lane come December. That’s the street we walk on our way to and from Riley’s school. It’s perfect with its sidewalks and picket fences and grand homes and handsome husbands and beautiful wives with fat diamonds. It’s perfect with its nuclear families that have 2.3 children and dogs that look like Lassie or Air Bud.

As a single mom, walking that street gives me an upset stomach.

I used to be in one of those so-called perfect families with the grand home and the handsome husband and the fat diamond, minus the picket fence. Perfect on the outside. But nothing is perfect. No family is perfect. No relationship is perfect. But when I walk down the street and I see the neat yards and the dogs and the arched front doors and the clean cars and the basketball nets here and the bikes leaning against the front porch there, it’s easy to believe that those marriages, their lives, are somehow better than my single status, my life.

But I don’t know anything about those families. I only know the shiny exteriors. There is probably depression, addiction, and divorce. There are probably failed marriages, loveless marriages, sexless marriages, affairs, and nontraditional families with step kids in there too, but there are no such labels on their mailboxes. I only see what is visible from the curb.

In this bedroom community, the single parent is rare like a strip mall without a Starbucks. Walking that street twice a day creates a longing in me, a longing to be settled in a way that I haven’t been in years. I want the security of a committed relationship, the comfort of waking up every day with my lover (who is also my best friend), the sense of peace that comes from sharing the minutia of cleaning up the kitchen together after putting the kids to bed, the wholeness of a routine that doesn’t include the words your days or my days, the simplicity of a relationship that doesn’t include ex-husbands and ex-wives.

After years of hating Disney and its princess franchise, I find myself wanting the fairy tale. I want the magic of Christmas that hangs from the trees on that street each December. I want it, even though I know that come January, it gets boxed up and forgotten until the following year. I want it, even though I know that Santa is just a dude in a fat suit. I want it, even though I know if I settle into a committed relationship, wake up in my lover's arms, and enjoy the little stuff together for decades to come, there will always be exes, different houses, custody schedules, and imperfections.

I also suspect, however, that when the things I crave are a reality, the houses and picket fences and seemingly-perfect families will be much less noticeable.


  1. Elle S7:54 AM

    What I love about your writing is that it has so much heart and honesty. Hope you find your own perfect-imperfect curb.

  2. Anonymous11:39 AM

    I love what you have to say and how you say it. I am married, have beautiful children and wonder from time to time if behind those windows of a perfect exterior there is chaos and imperfection. Much to my dismay I am quite sure there is. Nothing is perfect always. It is the moments of perfection that keep us going through the muddy parts.
    Thank you for sharing your talents and making your followers, think and feel!

  3. I believe in Fairytales. I love Disney. And I believe in Happily Ever After- but "I think" you can only achieve true happiness in being content first. No matter what deck of cards you have been dealt you have to be thankful for them-because someone else has a crapper hand that is playing at the same game of motherhood, wifehood, careerhood whatever. My life has straight up sucked being bed ridden, hated on, dissed by my family ect ect ect but I need/had to realize "I have a bed/others don't" "I have ppl that love me even if they show it weird" and "I have a family that was there for me-even tho they didn't understand they were being ignorant". I have these things. Fairytales do happen to those that learn to be thankful for what they do have. A Princess is hardly a princess if she is complaining and throwing a fit about what she doesn't have, wants, are the new car that she has to drive". It took me a while to realize that. Xoxoxo Love You-and to think I just came to drop this link off at your blog because it has made me rethink everything I write online and here my comment is like a book long-haha! Any way-Here is my the link- provides food for thought-

    (I can't read like 1/2 of what I wrote because of my iPhone. Hope you can understand!

    Elizabeth_N :)

  4. When you don't have it you long for it. Some of those husbands and wives probably long for their single days on occasion, even though they may have had to have "days". Just enjoy the best of whatever life has to offer now.