"It's a choice and that was the choice I made."

I once wrote that my favorite celebrity couple was always Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks (I'm old), because I loved the way Anne Bancroft talked about their marriage: "When I hear his key in the lock at night my heart starts to beat faster. I'm just so happy he's coming home. We have so much fun." And this: "I'd never had so much pleasure with another human being. It was that simple."

Because Iain and I are a different-sex couple, who don't have any truck for traditional gender roles, who regard each other as equals, and who made the choice not to parent, there aren't a lot of visible representations of marriages like ours. I'm a lot more likely to hear jokes about "ball-busting" and field expressions of shock if I mention Iain vacuuming, or read complaints about how couples like us are "selfish" for not having children, than I am to see or read anything that positively reflects our lives back to us.

So, like Bancroft and Brooks, I always enjoy hearing Ina Garten, aka The Barefoot Contessa, talk about her relationship of 48 years with her husband Jeffrey. This interview is particularly good, as she also spoke about their choice not to parent.
Ina Garten and her husband Jeffrey have one of the most coveted marriages on television. Over the course of 48 years together, they've shared laughs, love, and not to mention very good food, but the pair decided early on that they wouldn't share kids together.

"We decided not to have children," the Food Network star says in a new episode of the Katie Couric Podcast airing on Thursday. "I really appreciate that other people do and we will always have friends that have children that we are close to but it was a choice I made very early. I really felt, I feel, that I would have never been able to have the life I've had. So it's a choice and that was the choice I made."
I love that she says, matter-of-factly, that parenting is a choice, and her choice was not to parent. No excuses or caveats. That's it and that's all.

I also love that she acknowledges the life she has led would have not have been possible if she had had children, which is something that resonates strongly with me. My life, and my work, would be profoundly different if I had not had the choice not to parent.

In the same interview, she also said this, on the success of her and Jeffrey's lasting relationship: "The secret is that you just take care of each other and admire each other and support each other and you get that back."

That resonates with me, too. ♥

image of Ina and Jeffrey, cuddling

I appreciate Ina Garten's willingness to publicly share pieces of their relationship with us. I know, from my own experience, that the cost of doing that can be steep. There are a lot of people who are extraordinarily eager to respond with cruelty—especially when you are a fat woman talking about sustained, fulfilling romantic love, which fat women aren't supposed to have.

Her words are validating for those of us who have a relationship that might look a little bit like theirs, and, for those who might like to have a relationship like that one day, are a fine model of what can be.

That is no small thing in this world.

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