I'm a young mom -- young enough that people often ask if I got married because I was pregnant with my now 4-and-a-half-year-old daughter. But that would mean that I conceived her nine years ago, making her the longest pregnancy in the history of the world.
I don't bother explaining to people that I got married long before I got pregnant, because math obviously isn't their strong suit. Neither is tact.
My husband and I passed our nine-year wedding anniversary in September. We got married when I was 18.
With the popularity of the "Twilight" books, a hot topic on the Internet seems to be whether marriage at 18 really works. I didn't marry a supernatural creature, and I can only speak from my own experience.
I was 18, head over heels in love with my 22-year-old boyfriend, and we'd decided to live together. But a priest didn't need to guilt us into making it official; we went to him. He did rush things along so we would cease to live in sin and hopefully make some Catholic babies. By most Internet accounts, I should be on kid number five, all of whom sleep in the same bedroom (whether I should still have teeth varies by site), but she's an only child. (We're "one and done
" with our daughter.)
The truth is, we married unusually young but we are incredibly (almost depressingly) normal. A good date night is dropping our daughter off at her grandparents' and eating homemade nachos on the couch while watching a really bad romantic comedy (and when I say really bad, I mean did you see "The Proposal"?). I volunteer to bring snacks to her pre-school. He comes home from work to play with LEGOs. Our fights don't amount to much more than the occasional night on the couch (hey, he snores) and there's always the make-up sex.
We've been married nine years. If I regret anything, it's that we seemed to have gotten old before our time. I'm only 27, and I stay in and watch bad TV on a Friday night. A night out in Manhattan with my girlfriends requires advance planning and an internal debate: Do I want the hassle? In the end it was the promise of a visit to a good cupcake bakery that swung me toward the city and convincing my parents to watch our daughter.
Perhaps that's the only negative aspect of marriage at 18 for me: I'll practically prostitute myself for a really good New York City cupcake.
Young marriage it doesn't doom you to a life of poverty or bad self-esteem. One study
even found younger married women are more likely to step up and take financial responsibility, and less likely to have financial fights in their marriage. We got married young, but we were both well out of high school (I graduated at 16) and with no baby on the way, I daresay we had a better chance at making it work than the couples whose first year of not keeping their hands off each other is better termed "can't keep their hands from smelling faintly of diaper."
If you want evidence that age is just a number, prop our marriage up against our friends'. Throw all those statistics about marriages failing at me, and I'll point you in the direction of the friends who waited until well past the legal age to say "I do."
One friend is on husband number two (a fabulous guy whom I'm glad she found). Another is going through a messy separation (from a total tool -- again, glad she's there). A third had a child with a man she's since severed all ties with and is planning her wedding to a second (again, much more fabulous) guy.
I didn't let my eyes go wide and swoon because a guy happened to glitter in the sunshine a la "Twilight." If you're looking for him at 18, 28 or 68, you probably need a refresher course in life. Might I suggest you start with math?
Jeanne Sager is a blogger and a reporter for the Sullivan County Democrat. She shaves her head annually for St. Baldrick's Foundation, a children's cancer charity.
More Good Stuff on the Web
If wedding seating charts told the truth...(
A nice day for a ... Wal-Mart wedding.
Why a Guy Won't Text or Call (And He Likes You)
Who's Nelly Furtado's celebrity doppelganger? Hint: She's a good "Friend."
Hilarious Christmas Decor Disasters