What if we’re all just a little bit Peggy?

Anyone else love the show Mad Men? I have watched it in its entirety at least twice. I loved the clothes, the attitudes, the smoking even in doctor’s offices and of course, just how broken Don Draper is and how he affected everyone around him. And then, of course, there was my lady love, Peggy. I always felt like I was Peggy.

peggy-cigarette

One of my favorite Don moments was when he visits Peggy in the hospital after she gives birth to her surprise baby. She’s beaten and broken, but then Don gives her the best kind of advice when he says:

“Get out of here and move forward,” Don says. “This never happened. It will shock you how much it never happened.”

The first time I saw that scene, it hit me right to my core because it made me remember that time in my life where I employed the same kind of logic. I was in my early 20’s and fresh out of college. I had my first “real-world” boyfriend and was hopelessly infatuated with him. I was also ridiculously responsible the majority of the time, but with him, I found it easy to let go a little bit and explore life…and love.

So, on a weekend away together things got a little crazy and it also didn’t go the way of responsibility, even though we both very much were. I didn’t know it then, but in making those choices, I came to a fork in the road. One of those decisions that you don’t know at the time, but will, either way, lead you down a different path.

I could have made the choice to take a huge risk and find myself in an unplanned pregnancy and kiss my graduate school acceptance and life in New York City goodbye, or I could take a pill and pretend like nothing ever happened.

I took the pill.

It surprised me how easy it was to do it. I thought to myself, I will never know so why think about this anymore? After that, I didn’t.

For years. It was the easiest thing to just forget. I never thought about it. It just slipped into the vast nothingness of my subconscious and there it stayed, for years.

Until one rainy April day after I broke up with my next “real-world” boyfriend who I pretty much only dated because he reminded me of the first real-world boyfriend. I never said that I made very healthy choices in my 20’s, now did I? It brought up a lot of unresolved issues I needed to work through and in that moment of seeing this, this became one of them. The guilt didn’t hit yet though, and it wouldn’t for some time.

Not until, the months leading up to my wedding which was the biggest transition and commitment of my life, I began to think about so many things that had led me to the man of my dreams and the new life that lay before me. We had discussed starting a family and since we are both over 30, that it was time to do it sooner rather than later. Just like that my overwhelming desire to be a mom kicked into hyperdrive. It was overwhelming, very close to the time a couple years ago where I became obsessed with the idea of being a foster mom until I realized how hopelessly screwed up our child protective system actually is. However, this was different. This was a desire to be a mom that almost burned.

And so did that long buried decision I made at 22 years old and all the guilt that came with it. How could I now want something that before I was so quick to dismiss because the timing wasn’t right? And how easy that choice was and how easy it was to ignore for so many years?

I was reminded of Peggy again when she tells Pete the truth about where she went in the earlier season and says:

“I could have had you in my life forever if I wanted to,” she says almost dreamily. “I could have had you. I could have shamed you into being with me. But I didn’t want to… I wanted other things.”

Yes, I knew it was my choice because I wanted other things. I wanted to make something of myself and see the world and write books and study art. I didn’t want to be burdened with a man that I, though very into, wasn’t really committed to and who lived 6 hours from me.

I wanted other things.

Until I met my husband and then, I really did want those things with him. And so, I prayed. A lot. I prayed for forgiveness for possibly destroying another life, for the callousness of being 22 and thinking it was just something that never happened and was so easy to be shocked by how it never happened. To God for breaking all kinds of rules and not being considerate of myself or anyone else.

I had a long list.

Within a month, I was…at last…very much pregnant.

Molly Bags

Back in the tumult of my 20’s, I remember looking at happy couples and thinking, how do those people get like that? How, in this crazy world do you possibly find someone that compliments you so completely that it almost becomes like you exist in your own world with them? It really was something that was so foreign to me. In my 20’s, my relationships were often drama-fueled and with men that I never felt comfortable with. They didn’t get me and largely, I didn’t get them. I actually really hated dating and I went through large spans of time where I just didn’t.

I met Phil 3 years ago on a blind date, and pretty much ever since, we have been together. It was almost like that date was only a formality too as we had been talking continuously for days before we actually met. It was an effortless click.

Digital Camera

Since then, we have become the sort of people I used to people watch in my 20’s. The sort of couples that would move around the world in their own time, in sync with one another. I hadn’t realized that we had in fact become those people over time.

It started out innocently enough. We came up with silly names for one another, and then pretty soon, names for other things. Before we realized it, there was the voice. Do you the voice? If you don’t, I firmly believe you have not found the right person yet. What is the voice? It is quite simply, the voice you use only with your person. It’s probably softer, more high-pitched and your person will usually respond back to you in the same voice. It’s the beginning of the language used only between the two of you.

From there you begin to name other things. Of course, these things already have common names like phone, remote, bag, etc. However, the two of you will begin to rename them and again, these things will only really make sense in the world that you are currently in.

For us, I realized we had reached this point when Phil had come home from his mom’s house. He was so excited, she had given him all of these plastic shopping bags. Now, in our house these are all “Molly Bags.” So, when she had given them to him, he exclaimed something like, “Oh thank god, there are SO MANY Molly bags now,” without so much as a thought as to the fact that his mom would have no idea what a Molly Bag was. I imagine there followed the confused face from his mom along with a “what the heck are you talking about?” Phil then explaining that we call them Molly Bags because we use them to pick up her giant poops when we walk her.

I would put money on the fact, that now, whenever Phil’s mom sees plastic shopping bags, MOLLY BAGS will forever be popping into her head. Phil was a little embarrassed after this exchange, when he came home, he told me “I forgot. I was just so excited that we have so many know! I forgot that not everyone speaks us. My mom probably thinks we’re nuts now.”

I smiled to myself, I think everyone should speak “us.”