A Softening

The latest turtle picture.   

Last weekend I was haunting my favorite place in Central Park, when I overheard the most adorable conversation.

Kid:  Dad, what was your wedding to mom like?
Dad:  Well, first of all, your mom and I went to the courthouse with Terry and Jean, you remember them?  So that was when we got legally married.  Then about a month later we had a bunch of our family and friends over to your grandparents house for a "Welcome Home" dinner.  But then we surprised them and told them that it was actually a wedding!
Kid:  Wow!  That's so cool!  You know what I want to do?  I would invite everybody to New York, and have everyone rent a rowboat and then when we are all out here on this lake I'd yell SURPRISE! and then I would get married on the water!

When I heard this adorable conversation, I realized that something had happened to me.  Sitting on my favorite rock, reading a good book, and absent-mindedly listening to a stranger's conversation, I realized that something had seriously shifted in how I feel about marriage and kids and relationships and the purpose of life.  I had spent a lot of time bitter, and suddenly I realized that my hardened shell was just about gone.  And I hadn't noticed it disappearing.

The past few months, whenever I saw wedding articles on Buzzfeed or got spam from David's Bridal I just immediately felt angry.  Whenever I heard of a friend getting engaged, I'd feel sorry for them.  Whenever someone discussed the possibility of marrying their partner, I kept my mouth shut because my only advice would be to run away from that situation as fast as possible.

But those feelings are gone now.  I'm probably never going to care deeply about wedding planning again, but it's not such a repulsive idea any longer.

The same was true for children.  I never hated kids, I never said that.  I just didn't think kids were for me, they weren't in the image I subconsciously held of my future.  But all of a sudden, I was known as the person who hated kids-- who never wanted children.  My friends would joke around about this, and I found myself unwillingly playing into that image.  I'm not saying that I'm all of a sudden bursting with that maternal yearning for children.  And I still hate that people try to convince women that they are only worthwhile if they plan to have kids.  But I've softened on the topic.  I wouldn't be unhappy with a family.  Maybe when it gets to that point in life, it'll even make me happier.

I honestly have no idea.  I just know that this softening has taught me that the person I was three months ago is completely different from the Madysen of today.

But sitting in that park, listening to the little boy and his father talking, there was a moment where I wanted that.  I want to be able to talk to my kid about the exciting moments in my life.  To teach the kid family recipes, read them stories from the raggedy and terrifying copy of Grimm's Fairytales that I still have from my own childhood.

Between February and now, something happened that has made me vulnerable to the unknown.  I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen, and no idea how I will feel about any of these issues when they're actually relevant.  But for now, something happened that has made me want to keep myself open to whatever happens.  Because there are some times in your life when a change of heart is worthwhile; when closing one door closes them all.  And I don't want any door to be closed right now.

And I know exactly what happened to make me less bitter, but that's a secret I'll keep to myself.  Because what fun would it be to tell you?
Reflection in the ceiling at Blue Bottle Coffee Shop in Williamsburg.


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Meet The Author

I'm Madysen, born and raised in Nebraska but now living out my dreams in New York City. I moved here to go to Columbia, but living in New York has become so much more to me. This blog is a space where I can share my experiences of reconciling my midwestern upbringing with the life I live in the city. But even bigger than that, this blog serves as a space where I can try to understand where I fit into the larger social world, where I want to go in life, and how I want to go about pursuing all of these endeavors.

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