I do believe I fell in love with fairy tales at a young age. For me, the allure wasn’t so much the prince charming (although he did play a role), but the happily ever after. I’m not sure I even knew what that meant, really, “happily ever after”, but I had my own idea. Which, too, was….um…actually kind of vague. I knew the beautiful princess would feel butterflies in her tummy, and that there would be happiness every second- the giddy kind that makes you want to giggle. Happily ever after was honeymoon bliss (which at 5, I likened to Halloween) every day for the rest of your life.
I met my prince at 15. How many people are lucky enough to stumble upon their prince charming at such a young age? Immediately I befriended the prince, and soon we were inseparable, and he was my best friend. He knew all my deepest darkest secrets, and I knew I could trust him with my life. He was smart, funny, had a poet’s soul and a rebel’s heart all rolled into one. So when I was 19 (and he 21) and he proposed, I jumped at the chance to marry my sweet, handsome, romantic prince charming.
But earlier this week I was feeling pretty duped. Happily ever after doesn’t leave the toilet seat up. Happily ever after doesn’t give you a 6 year old son with the urinating splatter pattern of a water balloon. And as I traveled about the house trying to make it at least presentably clean (feel free to insert a mental picture of a chubby hamster on a skinny wheel here) I was all kinds of grumpy. Seriously, the middle of the floor (in any room, pick a room) has a magnet for shoes that BELONG BY THE DOOR. How hard is it to throw something away when you walk past the trash can on your way to put it on the counter? My effort around here is futile, I tell you.
By Tuesday night, I was feeling much the same. I’d been totally duped with the whole happily ever after thing. How the hell did Snow White clean that house so cheerfully? It wasn’t even hers!
Hubby and I sat in our living room with our dueling laptops watching TV and Google chatting. Let me tell you, Google chat has been a lifesaver now that our son can actually spell and read. Talk about going out to dinner out loud, and the first time you mention Applebee’s and he’s jumping up and down cheering and the next thing you know you have no other choices. We can talk about all kinds of things while separated by a matter of feet. We can share stories or pictures of topics that are interesting that we stumble on. (Yes, we’re nerdy like that) The ironic thing is we still do it, even after the kiddos are in bed.
So when the link came over through Google chat, I thought it was just another funny lolcat that I hadn’t seen yet. I clicked on it, and I saw what happily ever after really was.
He had sent me a Google map. But it wasn’t JUST a map. It was a map of us. It started with a pinpoint at his parent’s house, for his front yard was the place where we met. It had most of our life laid out for me to look at, complete with an explanation of each dot. Our first apartment. The townhome we loved the best. The apartment we lived in (that I picked out all by myself because we were separated by the navy and half the U.S. at the time) that had train tracks behind it and when a train went by, the whole place shook like there was a 5.9 bringing the place down. The location of the birth place of both our sons. There it was, my whole life with Bonehead, all mapped out. I was looking at my happily ever after right before my eyes, which were, at that time, filled with tears.
Someone should write a book on the “real happily ever after.” The one that actually exists-complete with toilet seats and trippy shoes. Because although happily ever after isn’t Halloween every day, and although it is work and drudgery at times, happily ever after does exist. The moment you are looking at it, it might just be one dot on the map, but after a little while it becomes the history of you, me, and us. And as long as we continue to be lovers, best friends, and sidekicks, it continues to be happily ever after.
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