If you read parenting blogs, and judging by the fact that you’re looking at these words right now—you do, you can learn about a lot of different kinds of relationships. But there is one type in particular that I think has been overlooked. It is one that is fraught with its own unique struggles and complications. One that I know a lot about, and feel needs to be addressed.
I have a mixed marriage.
WonderWife™ and I share an intimate and fulfilling union. There are enough things that we enjoy together that we barely notice our differences. That was until we had kids. Before getting pregnant, we talked a lot about raising a family and it was clear that our parenting styles matched. But we overlooked one major issue and now we are facing serious choices about how to raise our children.
You see, I am a geek and she is not.
I am a pop culture sponge, who makes plans a month in advance to make sure “Iron Man” is seen on opening weekend. I can liberally quote “The Simpsons”, and I often do. I aspire to be a Mythbuster and I don’t see the downside in staying up late watching a marathon of “Battlestar Galactica” on DVD. I know who watches the Watchmen. My wife does none of this. In fact, WonderWife™ has very little interest in the things that I love most. She has come to tolerate me thrashing about the living room playing Guitar Hero, or spending the greater part of the evening researching which is the very best flat screen TV on the market. None of this is a surprise to her. So when she rolls her eyes and mutters “geek” to me while I’m engrossed in “The Venture Brothers” I remind her that she picked me and she married me. She tells me that someday, she’s going to let our kids open up all of my mint-in-box action figures. But this is just her way of saying, “I love you”, much like the second grade boy who pulls a girl’s pigtails to get her attention.
There was a period when I was remorseful about not marrying one of my kind. But I’ve come to learn that marrying a non-geek (or “normie” as we like to call you) comes with a certain degree of freedom. She’s a homebody who doesn’t care if I spend Friday night drinking Red Bull and watching horror movies with the guys. There is no pressure for us to hire a babysitter so that we can see “The Dark Knight” in Imax.
What we didn’t stop to think about was what our mixed marriage would to do our kids. Do we choose their paths for them, or wait until they are old enough to decide for themselves? And if we do choose for them, how could we pick which side? Will they start to ask questions like, “Why does Daddy believe in the Force and Mommy does not?” Should they use a Mac or a PC? Will they agree to spend our family vacation at Comic Con? These are all big issues and we have yet to figure out the answers.
Each day becomes a silent struggle for control of the kids’ will. My son, the Bean, is just over three and I have been trying to subtly woo him into the geek life for the better part of a year. Instead of the standard Mr. Potato Head, I bought him a Darth Tater. Although he has never seen “The Simpsons”, he can point out Homer on a TV shirt. He has a Star Wars cape and a Mr. Fantastic t-shirt. It’s too early to tell where he will fall, but I was encouraged at his glee towards my friend’s voice-activated R2-D2.
I’ve come to accept that there are just some things that I will never have. During Halloween, I found myself staring longingly at a couple who dressed up their infant as Yoda, knowing that such an act would be forbidden in my family. But these are the sacrifices one makes for love.
Although WonderWife™ and I are different, we have a strong bond and a solid relationship. We both adore our kids and have each promised to support them, no matter which side they ultimately choose.
But it would be awesome if they were into “Lord of the Rings.”
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