I married when I was 31 - long after most of my friends married. While they were setting up house and driving back and forth to the obstetrician, I was traveling, dating, earning three graduate degrees, dating some more, working some life-changing jobs, living in three different regions of the U.S., dating even more, and having a wonderful decade of 20-something -ness.
When I was 33, Checkered and I became parents for the first time. We were instantly and completely in love with our beautiful daughter. During her first sixth months of life, as she repeatedly told us that she wasn't then and never would be a sleeper, and while I walked millions of miles with my miserably colicky baby, I told her all about my 20's. I told her how I had really known who I was by the time I met her daddy. I told her how I had done so much that by my 30's there was no restlessness in me. I told her that no one should ever marry until he or she crosses the 30 threshold. No one.
Now I'm not in my 30's anymore and I'm watching as several of our contemporaries send the last of their children off to college. I watch as they take early retirements. I watch as they begin second careers and welcome grandkids.
And it makes me think.
This past week-end we went to the wedding of a 20 year old bride and groom. They have no college degrees, no career paths in place, no real marketable skills yet, and neither has ventured much beyond their parents' homes. But they are sincere. They are in love. They are fine people.
As we walked out of the ceremony, my 15 year old daughter (who now sleeps through the night) said,
"I can't wait to get married!"
I startled myself by saying,
"If you find the right man in five years, sure!"
I really think I actually meant it.