Wait. Is This The Part Where I’m Supposed To Know What I’m Doing?
Let’s talk for a second about my best friend from college.
You know, the one with the short, spiky blue hair and the steely metal rod protruding from her eyebrow? Yeah, that one. The one whose idea of a crackerjack way to spend a rainy afternoon was taking me to get something pierced because the parlor was running a BOGO special. The one who scoffed in the face of raw egg and undercooked batches of Ghirardelli brownies so we could eat fudgy mush from the hot pan with a spoon. The one who introduced me to the boxed wonders of Franzia and the disasters of Everclear. The one who caused me to fall face-first into a gravely pile of goopy black mud, forcing me to retaliate and trigger the epic King Hall Mud Battle of 2001.
Did I mention she was also my Resident Advisor?
Fortunately for us, the rules of fraternization were watery at best, and our friendship took solid root after we became roommates and before I quit school in 2003. She took me to fraternity parties and introduced me to her sorority. She laughed when I went on a date with the guy who cut his steak into the shape of a state and cried when I told her that I had to leave school and go home.
We’re still the best of friends to this day, though her life has changed drastically since the days our moms worried that our connection — and her haircut — meant we were secret lesbian lovers.
For example, she no longer drinks boxed wine.
And the hole in her eyebrow has long-since closed up, her hair a chameleon shift between respectable blonds, practical browns, and sometimes a saucy red thrown in just for fun.
She has a big house on a lake with two cats and a wonderful husband, and oh. They just had a baby.
And suddenly they’re like this whole family of four and it’s all very confusing to me because in my head, I still expect to see this girl who once thought it would be a good idea to attempt a power hour with champagne (it wasn’t), instead of this mature, zen woman with a baby on her breast and a toddler in her arms.
I am not an opponent of change.
But it’s weird, you know?
This feeling that our group has the capacity to expand in this crazy, life-creating way.
When did pregnancy turn from this thing we used to fear to this thing we’re supposed to try to do on purpose?
It makes me feel vastly immature and unsettled.
But also wickedly fortunate to be a part of something so incredible.
Justin and I don’t have kids. By choice. For now. And our only nephew lives so far away, it hurts knowing we can’t be regular fixtures in his life. So this? This is the family we’ve adopted. This family of four with two cats and a lake and as long as we live near, it feels good to be a part of it. (Which is kind of fortunate, considering I’m pretty sure our friends wouldn’t pick us over their kids, should the ultimatum arise.)
And even though we’re not parents ourselves, our spots are reserved at the grown-up table during holidays. We use fancy glassware and practical footwear and finally dawning is the horrifying reality that there are now kids in our lives who think that we know what we’re doing.
When did that happen?
And I just have to know: Does anyone else find it surprising, the way life just keeps going from one phase to the next? Whether you’re ready or not? And no matter how much you’re like, Whoah – pump the breaks, it’s like the wheels are all lubed and the track is black ice and the best you can do is just hold on for dear life because this train, it turns out, stops nowhere.