Telling the Truth

connecting the dots of my life

Tag: Early Marriage

Early Marriage | Part 24

Sixties Guitar

It’s 1969, our last year in Cambridge. Viet Nam anti-war protests, riots and campus unrest. Pro-civil rights protests, riots and campus unrest. Hippies, LSD, the Beatles, Woodstock, the Jesus People Movement. Read the rest of this entry »

Early Marriage | Part 22


~~~Our son, born in Boston, August 1998

July to August, 1968. I watch and feel my protruding belly take prodding kicks at all hours of the day and night from this unknown-gender life inside me. It’s almost impossible to get comfortable lying down. Or sitting down. Or standing up from sitting down. I have to pee every time I turn around. The Boston heat is sweltering.

I go to the Boston Lying In Hospital Clinic regularly, watch my weight and diet like a hawk, and arrange for a 6-week leave in August and September from my position as organist/choir mistress at the First United Presbyterian Church of Cambridge. I also arrange to work in the dean’s office at the Harvard Law School until two weeks before the due date.

D and I need to move out of Mr. Griswold’s house by Christmas. We know we’ll have an apartment, thanks to friends moving out in the fall. We’re at the top of the waiting list, though they’re not sure when they’ll move out, or how much furniture and baby equipment they’ll take with them.

Even though I’m the oldest of four daughters and have experience taking care of my sisters, I’m anxious! Not so much about giving birth as about the kind of mother I’ll be. Will I know what to do and when to do it? Will D be able to help me, or will I be pretty much on my own?

And then there are D’s fears. He’s been a child of divorce since he was 3 ½ years old. He didn’t see his father often; his single mother raised him the majority of the time. What does it mean for him to be a father?

I’m a worrier from way back. My intuition, experience and observation of friends tell me this could be the end of life as I know it. I fear that once again I’ll lose my identity as Elouise. Instead of being Mrs. D, I’ll become Mom. Generic Mom. The kind people tell bad jokes about or worship as though Moms were at least near-perfect.

Money, time, health (mine and Baby’s), David’s studies, my need for a life of my own. All this and more weighs on me. It feels like getting married without being ready. Maybe a bit like driving without a license, training program or instruction book. We already have Dr. Spock’s latest edition, but I haven’t read it yet.

In the end, these unknowns softened us, even though we were both anxious. It was like getting married. We didn’t have a clue what was coming next, yet we were committed to getting through it together.

I don’t think my experience was strange or unusual. Yet that didn’t make it easier. Just the thought, much less the reality of being responsible for the life and wellbeing of a helpless baby was enough to set me off.

There’s grace in not knowing too much about what’s coming down the road. Or about what you’ve already met up with down that road back there called Childhood. I was clueless about my past—not about what happened, but about how it had shaped me.

Not knowing this may have been a disadvantage. But it may also have been a gift. I didn’t feel pre-programmed to become a certain kind of parent, as though history would inexorably repeat itself.

I’d always thought the process of giving birth would be the most difficult part of all. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t the nightmare I expected. Becoming a parent was much scarier and way too real. No going back. We’re it! Coming, ready or not!

At first it was stranger than strange. Yet from the moment our son was born, something began happening in us. It happened when we held him and fed him. Watched him breathe in and out. Counted his tiny fingers and toes and responded to his cries and baby talk.

He was part of the family now, and we were at least ready enough.

To be continued….

© Elouise Renich Fraser, 8 July 2015
Photo credit: DAFraser, August 1968

Early Marriage | Part 21

1968 Jun David and Elouise waiting for babyC

~~~Seven months pregnant, June 1968

I’m pregnant! Also self-conscious, excited, apprehensive, disbelieving, elated and more.

There’s no denying it: D and I have been ‘doing it’! Doing it?

I’ll never forget a conversation with my 18-year old daughter. Read the rest of this entry »

Early Marriage | Part 20

Empathy, let-go-of-what-you-think -

From the beginning of our marriage, I struggled to listen to D. I’m talking about non-anxious listening. The kind that isn’t on edge, waiting to get my next comments out there on the table based on what I think I know.

This is ironic. Read the rest of this entry »

Early Marriage | Part 19

Empathy, Brene Brown, - 433054

Ever since posting Part 18, I’ve been wondering about empathy and whether it was present in our early marriage.

To put it baldly, Read the rest of this entry »

Early Marriage | Part 18

Empathy cat and mouse, ec849e8ce5b6ead9677d35425522b932

I’ve got empathy on my mind this morning. Or better, lack thereof. When I think about capacities I didn’t have when I married D, empathy is right there near the top of the list.

It didn’t come up for debate or discussion the way money, sex and spirituality did. Read the rest of this entry »

Early Marriage | Part 17

My Favorite Childhood Spot for Getting Away

I’ve sometimes wondered how I could spend the rest of my life with D. Not because I hated him, but because we’re so different from each other. Not in seemingly minor ways, but in major ways that being in love tended to obscure or deny.

Overall, my best survival instinct Read the rest of this entry »

Early Marriage | Part 16

Krispy Kreme Donuts

~~~Hot, Just-Baked Krispy Kreme Donuts

Fall 1965 to Fall 1968. I’m allergic to spending money. Unfortunately, I’ve married a man who isn’t at all allergic to spending money. Nor does he seem particularly concerned about Read the rest of this entry »

Early Marriage | Part 15


It’s fall 1965, just months after our wedding. Today I’m going to meet D’s Uncle G. for the first time. He’s in the photo above.

Right now we’re getting ready to drive to New York City. D is wearing his best suit, a white dress shirt with cuff links, and a skinny tie. The left cuff link has a small clock face that actually tells the time of day. A windup version. Always impressive.

I’m wearing Read the rest of this entry »

Early Marriage | Part 14

Yesterday’s post suggests this marriage may not survive. Unfortunately, we didn’t know about Myers Briggs personality profiles until the mid-1980s. What a revelation and quick education! So today’s post lists how I live with an ISTJ. Read the rest of this entry »

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