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  • Alexis A. McCoy Gonzalez

The Love I Chose

When I turned 25 it seemed like all the women in my family made it their business to help me find “a nice guy to settle down with” my aunt Lilian’s words not mine. For a majority of my life, the women in my family have been pushing their version of happily ever after on me. So when I met my husband Eric at 29, I hid him from my family for a whole year because I didn’t want them pressuring him to propose. They did that to my older sister Nancy and her husband Jack who have been separated for two years now because they don’t see eye to eye on life anymore. The pressure in their relationship started when Nancy brought Jack home for Thanksgiving during their first year of dating. When Jack arrived, my mother called over my aunts so they could meet Nancy’s new boyfriend, which in other words, meant a family interrogation.

My mother and my aunts were good, they could get the pope to tell them his deepest darkest secrets. Although I thought their tactic was a bit aggressive, it had it’s pros and cons. When Jack left the kitchen after speaking with my mother and aunts for two hours, he was shockingly very calm. The following year He and Nancy moved in together and within the first month Jack purposed. Nancy always wanted to have a relationship like our parents. They met each other at a party their junior year of college. My father said when he saw our mother, he had fallen in love instantly. He walked over and asked her to dance, she accepted, and they danced together the whole night. My mom said that my father made her feel like she was the most special girl at the party. From then on, they began dating and six months later He proposed. They married the summer after their senior of college. They bought a home in Savannah, Georgia where they have lived for the past 32 years.

After years of hearing my mother tell her love story, Nancy made it her business to do whatever it took to have a similar life. My father would always tell us “Your happily ever after is whatever you want it to be”. Unlike my sister, that message resonated with me more than the fairytale love stories my mother shared with us almost every night before bed. My sister didn’t’ allow herself to choose her own happily ever after. As much as I loved my mother and my aunts, I wasn’t going to allow the pressures of their perception of the who, what, when and where a women should be affect my life. I decided to do things on my own time. Eric and I dated for three years before he purposed, and we got marriage in a small ceremony in my parents’ backyard. My mother and aunts complained about almost everything, but I didn’t let it affect me because it was the type of wedding I wanted.

Eric and I live a very adventurous life, completely different from my parents. As wildlife photographers we get the opportunity to travel the world and capture Gods beautiful creatures in their element. Although it’s not a lifestyle that my mother feels is great for her child, it’s one we’re happy with. Whatever happens next is going to be the happily ever after I want.

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