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Tuesday, November 15, 2005 


All these years I’ve been trying to settle down
Breathe slower
Grow up
And I’ve been running from love
Thinking I wasn’t good enough
Thinking that love had to be
Just perfect
But now I think it’s time I realize
That love is not
Working every day from 8 to 5
Making sure dinner’s ready by seven
Kids in bed at nine
Love doesn’t mean you wear a suit and tie
And we have 2.3 kids
That we raise just right
In our picket fenced neighborhood
Where no one ever fights

I was afraid we’d waste our lives
Walking the dog
Letting our dreams pass by

I thought love meant letting go of who I was
I thought my heart would beat slower
And my dreams would be quieter
Allowing me to wear tan slacks with flats
Push a stroller
Drive a sedan
But now I see
Love is a part of me
A part of my hopes
A part of my dreams
And it’s as loud as I want it to be
And every single bit as crazy
Because love doesn’t have to be
Just perfect

We were driving the other day
And you turned to me and said
I always wanted to marry you but I never asked
Because I thought love had to be
Just perfect
But you were always laughing just a little too loud
Talking too much
Driving too fast
And I couldn’t imagine being married to you
Always wondering what crazy new thing you’d do

I had this image of a woman in my mind
Who stayed home with the kids
Cooked dinner at five
And all my shirts were always pressed
My socks kept oh so white
By this grown up woman
In this grown up life

But I knew you were the kind of girl
Who would take the kids to the beach on a whim
Without towels
Without a change of clothes
Without regret
Letting them play in the ocean in November
Teaching them that happiness is not a sin

You’re the kind of woman who would
Cover the walls with pictures of us naked
Holding our newborn babies
Calling it memories in sepia
Taking pride in the sight of our skin aging

You leave
Keys in the door
Towels on the floor
Write inspirational messages
On the mirrors in red lipstick
There’s nothing in your refrigerator
You’re always on the phone
And when I complained you just smiled
Saying, “These are the things that make a house a home.”

Oh you might cook seven course meals
Hold lavish dinner parties
But you will never cook every night
We’ll eat cheese and crackers on the living room floor
While you read poetry out loud
Wondering what life’s about
And I think how every other woman is such a bore

You were always too vibrant.
Too flighty
Too much.
And so I let you go
I let go of us
Thinking I would find that woman
Who was absolutely perfect
And fall completely in love
Never imagining that I would grow sick of
Manicured nails paired with
Manicured spirits
Subdued laughter punctuated by PC comments
I don’t want to live in a house that looks like the one next door
Arriving every day by six
To a wife who has everything picked up by four
Constantly reminding me to:
Lower my voice
Shut the front door
I want a wife who’s afraid she’ll never grow up
Dreams out loud
Lives too much
And always leaves more doors open
Than she shuts

It took me 32 years to learn this lesson
About following my heart
And I hope it’s not too late to share with you
Love doesn’t have to be
Just perfect
To be a work of art
It just has to be