Friday, December 31, 2004

Anniversaries and Stigmas

My parents celebrated their 32nd anniversary last week but were too busy with holiday obligations to really celebrate. At one point my mom asked me what possessed her to get married 2 days before Christmas. I, of course, had no answer for why she'd decided that having her birthday, Christmas, my birthday, and New Year's all within 2 weeks wasn't enough and she needed to throw her anniversary in there. [To her credit, she didn't know at the time that my birthday would fall in there.] But all of her major holidays are covered in 7 days. And then it's another full year until celebration time again.

But back to their anniversary. My parents met on a blind date in May, lived in 2 different states and barely saw each other, and then were married in December. My brother felt the need to point this out over Christmas and claim that it was foolish and risky to get married so soon. To which my mother, in a little bit of Heidi-like sarcasm, agreed and said they'd have to give it a few more years to see if it worked out.

A few years ago, I came to the realization that my parents have been together for longer than they ever were single. And that is scary. Don't get me wrong, I assume I will one day have the wedding, the kids, and the white picket fence. But the thought of 32 years is weirding me out now.

I recently saw the engagement announcement of a childhood friend in the local paper, and I may now officially be the only person in my graduating class who isn't married. [I am really not kidding on this one.] I'm not complaining or lamenting since in no way, shape, or form do I consider myself old enough to be married. I enjoy my freedom too much. But in Jesus Town, and other rural, small towns, most kids are married by age 22 and have kids by 23. [Actually, about a dozen in my graduating class now have 10 year olds via the former ranking as county with the highest teenage pregnancy rate in the nation.] And being 27 and single in a small town carries such a stigma. People assume you're either (1) gay, (2) a hooker, or (3) married to Jesus. I'm thinking of becoming #2 to fit the profile and make a little cash on the side. My parents have been asking me to get a part time job.