There is an unappetizing ramekin of guacamole in my fridge right now. You know how avocado that is exposed to air turns that foul greenish-brownish color? That’s what I am talking about. I have reached in to throw out the guacamole several times, but each time something, or someone (usually someone little who knows how to shriek), interrupts me with an urgent request for milk or more cereal or an extra ice cube in her milk. You know, life and death stuff.
I also like having the guacamole around, as inedible as it is. It reminds me of the first day of my life as a wife. When Jeff and I got back to this very house after all the festivities (the morning-after brunch and the goodbyes with beloved family members) I realized I was very, very hungry. All I could find to eat was leftover wedding cake (buttercream frosting, mocha filling) and guacamole. When your first day as a member of a marriage starts with a guacamole sandwich that uses wedding cake as the bread, you know you are in for a bit of a ride. (This is not a blog about healthy eating. Clearly. In my defense, I was pregnant.)
I remember feeling wrung out and drained and simultaneously buzzed and unable to relax. I distinctly remember wondering, “is this how I am supposed to be feeling?” Jeff settled in to take a nap. I couldn’t sleep. I called my friends and relived the highlights of the weekend. They listened. They said I could come over if I needed some girlfriend time. I didn’t want to be separated from my guacamole or cake, just in case I had an emergency craving.
I stayed put in my house.
As night fell, snowflakes began to swirl outside the window. What’s this feeling? I wondered. After one last swipe at the wedding cake and guacamole, I got into bed with Jeff. I looked at him and realized that the feeling was terror. No one tells you that you may hit a wall of terror when you get married. It had nothing to do with Jeff, but I just felt terror. I kept telling him, “It’s like we are stuck with each other now.” We had spent the past four days burrowed in a cocoon of love surrounded by friends and family at every second. Now, it was just me and Jeff on a quiet, dark, lonely, early-winter night.
I am such a romantic.
Motherhood gets such a bad wrap for duping women into thinking that the experience will be unadulterated bliss from the day you pee on the stick and get a positive reading. I had the same experience with my wedding. I didn’t know I would feel fear and loneliness, especially in those days right after the wedding. I have always chalked that up to pregnancy (and maybe mal-nutrition since I subsisted on guacamole and cake for longer than is recommended). My old, sad-sack, single girl self was dead by definition. I had a new identity, and it felt like it happened overnight.
I have some dear friends getting married this summer. For some reason, I want to pull them aside and tell them this. I want to tell them that it’s different than the movies or the commercials or the fantasies may have led you to believe. It’s actually better than those one-dimensional portraits, but I feel this weird compulsion to whisper, “You may feel crushing loneliness and abject terror when the hoopla dies down. Stay calm. Call me.” What bride wants to hear that? What groom?
Should I recommend the guacamole-cake diet for those post-wedding blues?