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Your lifestyle, your quirk
My husband and I like to think of ourselves as a modern couple. We’ve been married four years, and view our relationship as an equal partnership. Being a classically trained chef, he does the cooking, and I do the dishes. He washes and dries the laundry, and I fold and put it away. I clean the bathrooms (his least favorite task); he cleans the kitchen (my least favorite). We run the dogs together, or one of us will take the dogs for a run, and the other will take our 11-month-old daughter for a run in the jogging stroller. We both work, and we both play hard with extreme sports ranging from rock climbing to running ultra marathons. We are willing to sacrifice fun money in order to buy all organic food. At first glance, we seem every bit the modern, progressive couple.
However, it dawned on me this past weekend just how paradoxical our existence as a family is, once you start trying to put labels on it. Sure, we have a lot of “modern” qualities, but we are also immersed in some of the longest-standing cultural traditional roles.
We visited my family last weekend, so my husband, Nate, could go hunting with my father and brother. The men went up to my brother’s property, while me, my daughter, my mother, and my sister-in-law stayed at my parents’ house an hour south of where the hunting was taking place. While the men hunted from dawn to dusk, ate bear chili, bear steaks, and bear sausage (seriously) made from the bear my brother killed two weeks prior, we womenfolk were baking, going for walks, tending to my daughter, and bonding over baked goods and wine. Hell, we even threw a baby shower over the weekend. Could we possibly have fallen in to more old-school traditional gender roles?
The irony of it all didn’t dawn on me until my husband and father came back, filthy from sitting up in tree stands and hiding behind bushes and rocks all day; stinky from not showering for three days (and subsisting off of bear meat); and sporting full-on mountain man beards. They were the father-son version of Grizzly Adams.
It got me thinking of another way in which we are “old school” as well. We spend a good deal of our free time researching, planning, creating, maintaining, and harvesting our own garden. Since the hunting trip is only one long weekend out of the year, we get a large portion of the rest of our food from our own backyard. That way, we can assure it is local, organic, and exactly what we want.
When I think about us turning the soil, dropping and covering seeds, pruning plants, and harvesting the fruits of our labor, I can’t help but acknowledge that the whole process is about as old school as it gets. Spending that exorbitant amount of time to grow, hunt, and gather your own food is hardly a “modern” thing to do. It’s probably the longest-standing human tradition (tied with procreation).
At the end of the day, I’ve concluded that perhaps we aren’t as modern as we thought. And I’m glad. We are a unique amalgamation of the two schools of thought, not fully adhering to either. There are some wonderful traditions from the past, as well as modern traditions just beginning to set in – all of which can create bonds and work in an equal-partnership relationship.