My daughter (pictured, with three friends from dance class).
I write a lot more about her than my boys, I realize. I think it's because she's a much more fiery spirit than her sweet, funny (albeit occasionally stroppy) older brother, and her adorably tyrannical baby brother (OK, he's three, but he'll forever be The Baby).
Recently, she's begun asking a lot of questions about weddings ("Do girls always have to wear white?," "If two girls get married, who wears the dress?," "Why don't you ever wear your wedding dress?," "How do you become a princess?"). It is obviously thanks to all of the Royal Wedding hoopla and my upcoming 10th anniversary, which we're celebrating with a trip to London and Paris.
Some of the questions are easy to answer ("No"; "Whoever wants to wear a dress"; "It's in storage in case you want to wear it one day"; "You either have to be born one or fall in love with a Prince who asks you to marry him"), but some of her questions about marriage beyond the wedding day are more difficult to address. She asks about our friends who are separated but still friends. She asks who gets the kids when parents don't live together anymore. She asks what makes parents stop loving each other, and she asks why every day her father and I have "fights."
The thing is, my husband and I don't have "fights" every day -- we have spirited discussions or debates that range from the banal -- whether we should buy a pocket camera as a back-up to our DSLR -- to the political -- why the Osama Bin Laden raid has stirred up a lot of hypocrisy and hurt -- to the superficial -- why funny men in Hollywood can be unattractive but not women, period. We're not even talking about these things in her presence, necessarily, but she picks up on the fact that our conversations can turn into debates, and it frightens her. We've had to explain that we're not mad at each other, we just both have strongly held opinions (about everything) and that's how we communicate.
She also sees us hug and kiss and hold hands, but I'm worried that she perceives our discussions as fights. But my husband and I aren't the type to agree about everything or have quiet, whispered conversations. So what are we to do? We're not yelling or being abusive, it's just the way we talk. We were best friends before we started dating, and part of our friendship was based in engaging in this ongoing debate.
I realize everyone interacts with their spouse differently, but sometimes I worry that she'll remember these passionate conversations more than she'll remember the way her father and I take care of each other, show compassion to each other, work as partners for the good of our family.