On Monday, June 18th, my husband Steve and I celebrated our 24th anniversary. That is, as everyone knows, the Tanzanite Anniversary.
To celebrate, we left the girls at home while we went out for a nice dinner, and we talked about how it didn't seem as if we'd been married two dozen years. We talked about the wedding, too, and how we'd changed and how the family had grown. Then we remembered the plans we had for our lives back in 1988.
First off, since Steve was destined for academia, obviously I was going to continue on as our primary wage earner, presumably still as a technical writer. We were going to have kids, two or three. We woug both continue to work, but since Steve's job would be more flexible, obviously he would be the primary caregiver. I forget what other "obvious" plans we had--maybe they actually came true.
What did happen was this. Steve never did go into academia--he was working as a management consultant even before he finished his doctorate in psychology. While I continued to work as a tech writer until I got pregnant, by the time I quit that job, Steve was by far the big money dawg in the house. We did have two kids, but I'm a stay-at-home parent with them while I write fulltime.
Now we did plan for me to write. That predated the marriage, in fact. I'd been a fan of science fiction for years, so obviously, that was what I was going to write, with maybe some medieval fantasy on the side. My idols were Robert Heinlein, Isaac Asimov,and Andre Norton. But what I turned out to be good at was mystery writing. Though I eventually branched into urban fantasy, and have even joined Science Fiction Writers of America on the strength of those stories, I'd be stretching a point to claim that I'm a science fiction writer.
So I think it's fair to say that very little of my life has gone according to plan. Which makes me one of the luckiest people on earth. I have loved staying home with the kids, despite the drive time requirements, and cannot believe that I actually get to stay home and write every day. I do not miss that day job at all. As for Steve, I'm convinced that the buisness world is the right place for him and that he would have been incredibly frustrated to be living in the halls of academe. Despite our plans, we are are in exactly the right place.
Then again, maybe it wasn't despite our plans--maybe it was because of them. Our daughter Maggie is looking at colleges and trying to decide what to do with her life. This is a toughie for anybody, let along a high school student. So what I've told her is that it's better to have a direction, any direction, as long as you're willing to change it when circumstances change, or when you change, or just because you get a new idea. That's what Steve and I have done, which is why where we are now is better than where we'd planned to be.
So as Steve and I start on our next twenty-four years together, we're making new plans for our lives and our daughters. Some of those plans may even come true, but probably not the obvious ones. Come back in 2036 and I'll tell you how things have worked out.
In the meantime, let me take this opportunity to say Happy Anniversary to Steve, without whom I would have missed the absolute best things in my life. Twenty-four years? I think that's a good start.