Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Rules

You may have noticed the weird URL for this blog and thought, “What the hell is ‘Rule 2’ and why should one live by it?” Well, today I’m finally going to spill the beans and tell you the story of The Rules. You’ll need the background to understand our engagement story, which I will tell you later this week.

First, for there to be a Rule #2, there must be a Rule #1. When my Hubs and I first started dating, we both traveled quite a bit for our jobs. Whenever one of us boarded a plane, the other would offer wishes of safe travels and uneventful flights. We would tell each other “don’t die,” half jokingly. After a few business trips, we decided “Don’t die” was the only rule we needed to live by… until we came up with a second rule.

Our relationship moved pretty fast once it started, and a few well-intentioned people expressed some concern… and few ill-intentioned people were judgmental a**holes.  But we were blissfully happy, and we decided that the judgmental people were not worth worrying about. So whenever one of us would start to spin into a “what will people say?” meltdown, the other would say, “F**k ‘em.” (Pardon our language.)

We meant it in the nicest way possible, but it simply served as reminder that we couldn’t live our lives according to other people’s values, expectations and rules. So “f**k ‘em” became one of our rules, Rule #2. Whenever someone had something less than supportive to say about our relationship, we would smile and thank them for their concern. Later, we’d tell each other that person could “see Rule #2” and try not to let it bother us.

If you’ve read “Pulling a Pam,” you know that I have made an effort to live by this rule and follow my bliss. It’s easier said than done, of course, especially for a habitual people-pleaser like me. But the happiness I’ve found by following Rule #2 has paid off.

That brings us to Rule #3, which came much later. I’ve also told you how much Hubs and I love anticipation, the build-up of excitement,having something to look forward to. So whenever we were tempted to allow ourselves instant gratification (to a gratuitous extreme), one of us would say, “Nope, we can wait.”

For example, one time we had a vacation booked for Vegas with some friends just a couple months away when we saw a deal online for that upcoming weekend. We found a zillion reasons to justify going to Vegas right now and then going again later, but one of us regained reason and said “Nope, we can wait.” And we enjoyed and appreciated the trip that much more.

The months spent anticipating our baby’s arrival and not knowing if we were having a boy or a girl were thrilling, although a few times we were tempted to find out the gender. But we stayed strong, savoring the excitement and the not knowing, telling each other, “Enact Rule #3, we can wait.”

And our little Q-ball was so worth the wait. Hearing the doctor exclaim “It’s a boy!” and seeing my husband’s elated reaction was priceless, and I’ve never once regretted enacting Rule #3.

Years later, we still reference the rules.  We half-joke about how Rule #1 is even more important now that we’re parents. Some well-intentioned people will offer unsolicited “advice” on our parenting skills and choices, and we’ll smile and thank them for their concern. Later, we’ll tell each other that person can see Rule #2.  Now that we’re down to one income, I will see something I want online, but then I’ll think, “It will go on sale at some point, so I can see Rule #3.”

These rules are really values that we will pass on to our son (children??), and someday we’ll explain them to Quinn. I’ll just have to find more child-appropriate language to explain Rule #2. 

What rules do you live by?