that’s how strong my love is

In ALL, MARRIAGE by Stephanie Klein50 Comments

Fuckingwalmart I wasn’t listening to him.  There I was, sitting on our porch, sunset, a South African shiraz, on our swinging porch seat, just back from a family walk.  Lucas in his car seat to my right, Abigail to my left.  My husband playing the boy, grilling up chicken tika masala with jasmine rice.  MyPod hooked up to the speakers. "That’s How Strong My Love Is" by Otis Redding.  He was telling me a story, leaning on our porch, watching us swinging, and I wasn’t quite listening.  I heard the words, but I wasn’t stringing them together.  I had my own words pooling in my head.  So much to love, there’s so much love.  I watched him talking, sipping and swirling his wine, and I thought, "I want to remember this."  And right then I wished for him, that he’d outlive me because I cannot imagine my life without him filling it up.  The sky was pricked with stars, the moon hung just so, and he was just a boy, telling this girl a story about Australian wines.  I interrupted him.  "I’m so glad I married you.  I mean, you’re impossible.  Challenging and a half, but you’re my best choice.  My best decision."
"Stephanie, I love you so much.  YOU, just you, the way you are."  How Mr. Darcy.  And I believe him.
"Even though I’m so damn lazy?"
"I love you, all of you.  Just you."
"Phil?"
"Yeah."
"Do you ever think being a parent sucks?"
"No."
"Well then you’re better than I am.  I left Alexandra a message the other day saying I can’t wait until she’s a mother so she’ll know how much it sucks."  There are moments, absolutely, where I think being a mother sucks.  "I just thought of refrigerator magnets and homework.  I didn’t think of this, a time in my life where I’d feel fat and unstylish, where I’d kill for a manicure/pedicure."  I spent each Wednesday night in NYC getting $19.99 manicure/pedicure specials.  I shopped for clothes, and when I spoke with the saleswoman, I instructed her with "big" as my defining adjective.  "What size?"  Big.  I thought, back in size 30 land that I was big.  I recently went shopping in fucking Walmart.  Walmart fits now.  Though, I have to admit, they have some really nice things.  I only know this because while at "Fourbucks" the other day, I stopped a woman, commenting, "I love your top."  "Walmart," she said.  "No way."  "Way."  So I went.  I shop for clothes at fucking Walmart.  When I was single, living in my 71st street apartment, with my dog, and my music, and my wine, and my DVDs, I never thought I’d be a woman with a husband and kids, shopping for CLOTHES at Walmart.  But tonight, I loved every minute of it.  My beautiful husband, the music, the wine, my children, parts of each of us, by my side.  As a single woman, I always wanted this life, and now that it’s here, I realize I miss the shopping life, the carefree, walk-the-dog-when-I-feel-like-it, and do it in flip-flops after my pedicure life.  I miss Fairway cheeses.  I miss my NY weekends, talking on my cell with friends, starving myself by day, for a scandalous night.  But I don’t want it back.  I love my decisions.  I love my children.  I love my husband, my best friend, who I put before everything else.

Comments

  1. Isn't the grass always greener? I remember catching up with your older posts and you mentioned never shopping in a Target, and now fucking Walmart? Congratulations, you are one of us, but give me a Target any day. You sound blissfully happy.

  2. Full Circle. Eloquently said. I am approaching my due date (Sat., 1st kid) and thinking similar thoughts about my husband, my marriage and my choices… you have a gift for articulating what I feel, at times, but can't put my finger on it until I've read it. Thank you.

  3. When you make great decisions don't you feel so smart?? I made a great choice myself 10 years ago and after 7 1/2 years of marriage and 3 kids later I still feel like it was the best thing I ever did.

  4. I want this someday. I'm way too young and no where near ready for this. But someday, when I've found "the one", I want this, all of this.

  5. "I love my husband, my best friend, who I put before everything else."…

    Except for pearl earrings! ; )

    Glad you're realizing the good of it all!

    When is the expected publishing date of MOOSE?

  6. As I was ending a phone conversation with my Mom to take my newborn daughter to Target for the umpteenth time, I said, "Old favorite store, Nordstrom. New favorite store, Target."

    She still repeats that to me a decade later.

    I'm back among the points-earning Nordstrom devotees these days, but still have a fondness for Target. If we had Walmart here, I'd probably feel the same way about it.

  7. I was having the same musings tonight, except it was an Abita beer, a five year old boy, and the fantastic suprise of Crawfish that my husband purchased, a taste from home, here in Texas. In reading your post I was also thinking of missing home (New Orleans) so much, yet being so happy with my Man and my child. So happy for you and Phil and your sweet babes. A cute find (your walmart top) is a cute find, be it a big box store, a boutique, a flea market,or the posh and hallowed grounds of Barneys, Sak's, Neiman Marcus, or Hermes. The world of a mommy is a rewarding, scary, frustrating, overwhelming and just WOW. Yet the first year is so confusing and stressful. As much as I love my Boy, that first year, I replayed my single baby free days over and over through my head like my favorite movie. It will get better, the first time one or the other says mommy, there is nothing like it. sorry for the long comment. Your post clicked with me!

  8. That is a cute top . . .

    You wouldn't be normal (or honest) if you didn't think parenting sucked once in awhile. I does, once in awhile.

  9. Don't do WalMart Stephanie.. seriouly, Target is so much better.
    It gives us moms a little dismal hope that we haven't hit the completely unstylish bottom of the barrel life yet.

  10. Again, I must commend Stephanie on her honest writing.. Not many of us admit to buying clothes at Walmart.. but there you have it–clothes from Walmart, a home pedicure and not a Hermés scarf in sight….whodathunk? Good for you Stephanie–it may be a process, but it sounds like you're getting your priorities in order. Welcome to motherhood, and yes it sucks sometimes, but mostly it doesn't. :)

  11. The grass IS always greener. I have a single friend who's decorating a new apartment, and I've been helping – picking out furniture, granite counter tops, cabinets, etc. Secretly, I wish it was my apartment, yet I still want to keep my house and family. I want both worlds b/c when my husband and kids are driving me insane, and it sucks, I'd love to have my own place to escape, but then I realize how lucky I really am. I think I might just need a weekend at a spa. Oh, and b/f you know it, the day will come where you'll be taking Abigail for a manicure/pedicure with you. The time goes so fast.

  12. Did your pregnant friend who came for Thanksgiving have her baby yet? If she lives nearby, when the babies are a little older, you two should start a playgroup. That way, i/o calling friends who don't have kids and can't relate, you can get together w/ other mommies who get what you're going through – the good and the bad. My oldest son and I are still close w/ our first playgroup friends, and it's been 15 yrs.

  13. (i) Glad to hear about the South African shiraz! Which one was it ….
    (ii) Re-read your old posts. All you EVER wanted was this life.
    (iii) Phil is a frigging saint.

    Carol from sunny South Africa

  14. i just relayed your question to phil to my husband and he said 'i hope he said yes, because if he didn't, he's lying.'
    i give you a lot of credit for admitting this. all i can say is that all the happiest moments of my life have happened with my son. but along the way it has also been stressful and boring. also, the early months really don't have a big reward, until they start smiling. staying at home with him has gotten more interesting as he's gotten older, and communicating. that makes a huge difference.
    there are cute clothes at walmart but i daresay i have not made my peace with going there. it's depressing. i just told my husband: i have been to walmart 15 times since the beginning of the year. my child knows the difference between 'regular' walmart and the 'different' walmart. this is why we are moving back to (a relatively) urban life in a few months.

  15. loving your decisions is a wonderful way to honour yourself, but i think it takes years of work. i think i am slowly getting there.

  16. Was it a Super WalMart, Stephanie? Ya know, where you can get your clothes and your groceries all in one shot?
    HEHEHEHEH.

    I love your candor. When you're feeling like yourself again Im betting you'll take a step in Ann Taylor. Until then, hell yeah, Walmart is cheap and they really do have some cute shit. Personally, I think their stuff is cuter and trendier than Target now, whereas Target was leading the race. WalMart has kind of stepped up, Ive noticed with all the remodeling of their stores.

    I still feel the need to wash that stickiness of WalMart off my hands and my kid's hands when we leave though.

  17. Trader…Just kidding : )!! You do what you gotta do. Please, please just don’t buy your bags and shoes at Wal-Mart. A girl’s gotta draw the line somewhere.

  18. This piece is incredible, both for your "a ha" moment about your new life and for your blurted feelings about your husband. I'm so happy that you've 'found' yourself in your new life.

    (and can enjoy wine again!)

  19. I'll have you know that the shirt I've displayed here also comes in red. I bought it in both colors. I'm a maniac like that. And it's 100% silk and pretty damn rock-star in person. Just sayin'.

  20. Phil lies. Parenting is a job. But to say that it never sucks is hyperbolic. I wouldn't trade it for anything, but there are times when you just hit the wall and cannot do one more thing. There will be times when the kids are hurting because of school or their social life, and there won't be one damn thing you can do to ease the pain. And there'll be times when the kids are physically hurt, when you pray that the stick missed his eye, or that you'll gladly take that ear ache from them, but you can't.

    Still, the good times more than out-weigh these occasional moments. And I quite miss my social life, but I make up for it by valuing what little social life I have that much more. And in a blink of an eye, they'll have their own lives. And while going down to the pub to watfch the game is a great idea, I'll hopefully have plenty of time for that, later on.

  21. Stephanie-I'm so glad you've come to realize what so many of us who do shop there have known- once in a while- they really do have some cute shit. I am a BIG cheapskate by nature, I love vintage/thrift/Target/Walmart shopping. Used doesn't bother me. The best part is the compliments and shock when I tell people where I got my clothes and shoes. I do go to the mall every once in a while, but for me, "thrifty" is where it's at. I love the kiss and make up story, and also want to know how Linus is.

  22. i was shocked to see your post today! last night i was in walmart and this top caught my eye as i was walking to the register from the grocery section! i stopped to feel and admire it. i thought it was very cute especially for only $20 and may go back to get it!

  23. I was just at the cellular phone place and saw a lady in this SAME SHIRT! It doesn't look the same all wrinkled with her bra straps hanging out, just doesn't look good! LOL I am sure you wear it well Stephanie, it is a GORGEOUS shirt!

  24. Congratulations again on a wonderful start to your year, and a wonderful life with your ever-growing family.

    How IS Linus?? Good question!

    And that top? Walmart? Nuh. Uh!

  25. That top looks like a mumu! Stephanie, I am sure you are not that big! I've seen the pics of you and the babies on the site, and you are def not big!! You don't need to wear mumu's from wal-mart! However, if you are in the mood for some cheapo shopping I must recommend Old Navy- they have some awesome long sweater wraps and thermal hoodies.

  26. Please don't shop at WalMart, they are bad for the community, bad to their employees, bad for the environment. But glad you are happy XO.

  27. I love the shirt as well. I am a fairly new parent but the first 6 weeks sucked. Although I loved my kid and wouldn't have changed a thing, it sucked. I felt like my life had been invaded by an alien. He is 18 months old now and it is so much better. Now I rarely think it sucks.

    Jenn

  28. Couldn't agree more with Carol. WalMart may be cheap and convenient, but avoid it, no matter how cute the clothes are. Stick to Target–much more socially reponsible, and the clothes are just as cute.

  29. Wait until you start cooking out of a crockpot. It will happen, and you'll actually kind of end up loving it. If you're anything like me, that is.

  30. I never buy clothes at Walmart, I'll do Target sometimes, but I looked for this top tonight. It is super cute! Good find! Hope the babies are doing well, they are super fantastic.

  31. Walmart-I've taken a liking to their clothes too as of late. I've got 3 1/2 year old twins…when you get the chance to shop, you'll buy anything. I do like what you picked out. I'm praying we'll get a Target…hate to drive an hour with the twins to get to Target, but it's worth it
    (did I just say that???). Who knew just a few years ago I'd easily drive an hour to shop high end stores, now just going to the local Walmart is a big excursion.

    Motherhood !?!?!!? Man, it's a trip.

  32. Okay, now this may be totally inappropriate (although you did just admit to purchasing an item of clothing at Walmart), but how much was it? It's pretty.

  33. people get hung up on the strangest things in the posts. and just to post my two cents to everyone in the walmart vs. target debate, all target has done is a better job of marketing to people to make them feel okay about shopping in a discount store. strip away the cutesy ads, and all you've got in target is an overpriced walmart.

    stephanie, i personally found this entry poignant and humorous at the same time, really capturing my favorite aspects of your writing.

  34. Gotta remember having new little babies around, you're going to get spitup, vomit, feces, boogers, snot, all that yummy stuff on your clothes.
    If WalMart is the cheapest why not shop there? A lot of your clothes get ruined in those first months.

  35. I've missed your writing! I'm finally caught up. This latest post is so sweet, I want to wrap it up in a letter and keep it in a bottle forever. I know that love, and I never want to let it go.
    The babies are beautiful!

  36. I can't wait till the beans start chattering at you. Oh to hear your thoughts when you and Phil are talking and thinking they aren't listening in…grin…just wait..that the love can grow that much more, you won't believe it. Then, when the kids say, momma? Can we go to Walmart? You will look back at how far you've come, and really, really, admire and love your journey.

  37. Hi Stephanie! My name is Alpana and I'm a student at GW! For my University Writing class, I had to track a blog written by a woman and after browsing through a couple of blogs, I came across your popular blog and I really liked how it was set up with blog entries that are written everyday, and amazing photographs of your family and friends. I also liked how it was an online autobiography reflecting your personal life and events that had an impact on your life. And I thought this particular blog was really sweet so therefore I decided to write a comment for it. I wish you continuous success on your blog, Greek Tragedy!

  38. Yes, the grass is always greener. The more we`ve got, the more we want; people are rarely satisfied. But like you said, you always wanted this life and now it`s here. All your dreams came true, hey, this doesn`t work for all people.
    And I agree to JoeyB, now as a mom I have less social life than before but I treasure it even more. And parenting? A job, no doubt.

  39. I'm 19 and in college and am obsessivly looking at your blog everyday. Its actually and assignment for class, But the point you make in this entry really frightened a commitment-phobic 19 year old. So I really have Wal-mart to look forward to? I can't even go for the clearence at Old Navy? I think you might and it might even soothe my conscience if you look for clothes there…

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