The Seventy-Fifth Chart

March 22, 2013

By Ekta R. Garg

Lately the girls have become increasingly interested in the subject of marriage.  Four has declared on more than one occasion that she doesn’t want to get married because she doesn’t want to “kiss a boy.”  I wrinkle my nose right along with her and confirm her assertion that boys are yucky.  My husband just shakes his head and smiles at me.

I hadn’t realized, though, just how much the kids had attuned themselves to the cultural differences in how my husband and I got married (ours was arranged) versus how some people find their spouses on their own.

Last week the girls began a discussion about marriage in the car as we drove home from one of their activities.  It began when Six asked me, “Mamma, how old were you when you had us?”

“Well, when I had Stink Pink 1,” I said, referring to her by using one of our silly nicknames, “I was 27, and when I had Stink Pink 2 I was 29.”

“And how old were you when you got married?”

“I was 23,” I said, parking the car in front of our apartment.

“Oh, you were so—”

Old, I finished her sentence mentally, assuming I knew what she would say.

“Young,” she concluded.  In her voice I heard an echo of sympathy.

Young?  Really?

“I turned 24 a few days after I got married,” I said, as though trying to add something to my age.  I don’t know why I felt compelled to do so.  I mean, Six hasn’t hit double digits yet, so theoretically anything above 10 usually seems old.  I remember feeling the same way myself when I was a kid.  But to hear someone young herself assert just how young I was at 23-almost-24—it hit me after a moment just how young I really was back then.

The newest twist in the girls’ discussion brought me back to the present.  They’d begun talking about how to find a boy to marry.

“They have to find a nice boy for you,” Six said to Four as she tilted her head in my direction.  “Right, Mamma?”

I didn’t know quite what to say.  But then Four found a way to top her sister.

“I’m going to find my own boy,” she said with a quiet confidence.

“No, you’re not,” Six said.

“Yes, I will,” Four reiterated.  “I’m going to find my own boy to marry.”

Only time will tell, of course, where the girls end up and what happens when they get old enough to get married.  But Six’s comment about her father and me finding nice boys for both of them made me pause.  We’ve never had a discussion with our daughters about who they’ll marry—I mean, not in the real sense.  Six and I did have this discussion soon after moving to Salt Lake when she realized that our new home had upset her best-laid plans.

But I’ve never had a real heart-to-heart with either daughter about The One.  How can I?  We’re still trying to work on remembering to hang up our clothes after school (Six) and are slowly working our way through learning how to tie belts (Four.)

Her astute observation about the arranged marriage process, quite frankly, shocked me.  When did she figure out that some people follow this route to find a life partner?  Who told her?

And what am I going to do when she hits 23?

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