With This Ring… I Can Sleep With You at My Parents' House


Fred and I just got back from my parents' house in Savannah where we ran a half-marathon on Tybee Island. If you're thinking, "That sounds nice. I've always wanted to run a half-marathon." You're wrong. It's about 8 miles of "This is exciting! I'm doing so great!" and 5 miles of "What the hell was I thinking? This sucks. And hurts."

And then you see the blessed, beautiful finish line. It's like being a prisoner at a Romney for President rally and seeing Barack Obama take the stage. Thank you, Jesus.

But the finish line wasn't the highlight of the trip. The best part of the weekend was that Fred and I got to sleep in the same bed at my parents' house. I know to some, that doesn't sound like a big deal, particularly if you have parents who realize that this is 2008. But my parents don't, and have always had the rule: No ring, no sleeping in the same room under our roof. Even when my older brother was living with his girlfriend (who is incidentally now his wife), it was separate quarters for them at mom and dad's during Christmas.

When I was in college, I understood the mandate. They didn't want my skanky, no-good boyfriends fondling me while they were in earshot. But when I graduated, started a career, and began one of my first, more serious adult relationships, it irritated me. I felt like they were disrespecting my relationship. And what's more, this was a time when I
wasn't sure that I believed in marriage.

So if I committed myself to one person, but decided not to legally marry him, my parents wouldn't view it as a real union? They wouldn't allow us to ever share a bed in
their house?

In retrospect, that was a tad melodramatic, and in time I realized that sleeping a few nights apart wasn't the end of the world and that I should respect my parents' wishes. So when I brought Fred home for the first time when we were dating, even though it killed me to think of a night without his warm body next to mine, I tucked him in his bed
in the guest room and went to sleep alone in mine.

But this past weekend, now that we're engaged, our suitcases were placed side by side in one room. In bed that night before we went to sleep, I looked at Fred and it dawned on me. I said, "You're the first—and only—man I've ever shared a bed with in my parents' house."

He smiled. At my age, there are not a lot of firsts left for me to give a man, if
you know what I mean. And it felt good that I had this one last thing that I could share only with him. So while I'll never give my mom of the satisfaction of letting her know she was kind of right (I'm still a rebellious teenager at heart), on Friday night, I finally got it. On Saturday though, after the half-marathon, the moment had passed— all I wanted was a freakin' bed and I didn't care who was in it.