An Un- Cinderella Story

Written by Carly C.


My first babysitter was Cinderella. I must have been somewhere between one and two years old, and in a desperate attempt for some rest after some bad Chinese food, my parents plopped me in front of the TV in our living room, taught me how to press rewind and play on the VCR, and went to their room, leaving me to my own devices.

I guess you can say it’s not surprising that I ended up a romantic. That being said, as a romantic romantic, yes, I never identified as hopeless or helpless. In fact, the idea of “hopeless romanticism” never really occurred to me, let alone appealed. I liked being in charge, taking care of myself, but I also loved the idea of being in love; of having someone who put your needs above their own.

I was raised by the utmost examples of independent women. My grandmother, my hero, was six months older than my grandfather, a fact they would both proudly share with others. She held 7 degrees, including a PhD in Nursing Education, and worked until she was 70 years old, supporting my grandfather’s modest government salary. My mother owned her own business for 10 years (in partnership with my father), and showed me that love and marriage are work but that they are well worth it. Did I hear them argue? Of course. Did they show their not so shiny sides to one another, and by default, to my sister and I? More than once. But they never made us doubt for even one second that the cornerstone of their relationship was anything but Love.

So when I say that I met my husband as a mature but still young sixteen-year-old in her junior year of high school, you may make some assumptions that our love never “grew up.” You may think that we are still in perpetual puppy love and that helpless romance won over logic and independence. Nothing could be further from the truth.

We do not have a fairy tale marriage; in fact, I don’t know anyone who does. We didn’t live together before we got married (kind of), and we still had a major adjustment period in the first months of marriage when he realized I didn’t look in his sock drawer to make sure he had enough clean socks before doing laundry (“If they’re in the hamper, they’ll get cleaned!”) and I realized that there was no leftover that wouldn’t disappear within hours of being put in the refrigerator. We argued from the moment we met, and we may have loved each other even then…although it took us years to realize just how deeply that love flowed.

It may not be perpetual puppy love, but our love is perpetual – in the best kind of way. We sometimes feel the stomach flips and flops of the early days of puppy love, but we also drive each other perpetually crazy with our antics, quirks, and sometimes, even our words. It’s a mature, comfortable kind of love that you live in, not with. A constant stream of abundant love that keeps you warm on winter nights and fills our home with light.