Growing up I never put my Barbie dolls into the plot line that they were going to meet someone ten years older and get married. No, Ken was their age. They went to the same school, lived in the same area. I assumed that was how my life would be.
Fast forward and I graduated college and finally surrendered my singleness. When Tom came into my life I was kind of mad. I was content. If it was going to be me and Jesus I was fine. Imagine my shock when he comes into my life as a divorced man with two kids. And oh right, ten years older.
The age difference didn’t bother me too much because I’ve always been an old soul. I did wonder how it would change through the years. I’ll admit, I see a gap sometimes. It would be tempting to be frustrated by the differences but I try to approach marriage like Rocky.
Yeah, Rocky Balboa.
Here’s what I mean:
- Parenting. As a Boomer, he grew up with the mantra that you can’t swim for 30 minutes after eating. As A Gen X’er, I lived a little more flexible on that rule. If we’ve had a full dinner and dessert of course no one is going in and swimming laps as soon as the fork is put down. But if I’ve had a hard candy, I’m going in. Okay, I’m embellishing it a little but he is a hard liner on this rule.
- Music. I grew up with Michael Jackson, NKOTB, Madonna, everything 80’s. My Pandora covers it all. He loves when CCR plays and I’m not a huge fan. He also loves 40’s music and Southern Gospel. A lot. I’m a fan but I have to take that in small doses.
- Communication. My parents were boomers who believed there is no such thing as fighting or problems, so don’t speak of these things, ever. My husband has the same background. I hated that as a kid because I saw problems all over the place and I wanted to talk about them. I really believe this is in part why I write, I process the things I wanted to chat about as a kid. I am way, way more open than he is and I even hold back.
- TV. Bonanza vs Little House. Tom and my Dad were Bonanza fans. I grew up idolizing Laura Ingall’s life because she had Pa via the 1970’s series. Now that I’m older I think what I was looking at was Michael Landon as an actor. I thought for sure my husband would long to get out the popcorn Ma and Pa style and watch re runs in bed. Ha. He makes fun of Little House. Had I known this, it quite possibly could have been a deal breaker. I realized it’s a Bonanza vs Little House issue, or, Boomer vs Gen X’er. And I still grieve as I watch the re runs all by my Gen X self.
These are pretty minor when you think about it, or, I need to remember they are. Early on I feared the age difference would result in more years alone if he passed away before me. The reality is his health is better than mine and I’ve given him instructions on what to do when I’m gone. I feared we’d be incompatible and he feared I’d be a camp counselor instead of a step-mom. But through the years and age difference we laugh about the same silly things we did back then, we find common TV and music to enjoy, and we’ve found a decent balance when it comes to parenting.
But I’m still mad about Little House.