I got a nice email this morning from an English professor who is very active in Dreiser scholarship.
We have had frequent contact by email.
He mentioned to me in his email, which was about my new web site, that he was away for the weekend visiting his daughter.
We don’t ordinarily exchange personal information, but I emailed him back, and told him as an aside that my sons were in Washington this weekend visiting my brother and wife.
This got me to thinking about something: it’s wonderful to be able to say, with pride, that you are married, and even more wonderful when one can say, I have children.
Earns you immediate respect and credibility, as well as acceptance.
My wife gave me that.
I must not forget this.
When I was a hapless guy in my twenties without a girlfriend, I was seeing a therapist. He was happily married with two children, but he never commented to me in this vein — namely, that guys without a wife are impoverished in some respects. But he did say something along these lines a few times after I had found a partner.
When you think about it, getting married is a rite of passage, one of Erikson’s developmental stages. If one doesn’t achieve marriage, one has “flunked” a stage.
My wife has given me respect and credibility by making me into a married man, one with children no less.
Sons who are admirable in many respects.
I SHOULD ADD: I realize that for various reasons, many people choose to stay unmarried. I myself liked the freedom of the single life when I was living in Manhattan in my twenties.
I am speaking from my own experience and very much for myself here. I do not mean and am not trying to necessarily generalize to everyone else.
— Roger W. Smith, email to a friend, February 28, 2016