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.
Most of my friends and I are stuck in that second extended adolescence the new york times wrote about: Unmarried. Non home owning. No kids. I dont foresee any of that in my near future either. But when I recently visited an old college friend while on a business trip I received a little jolt. She is married, just had her second baby, just bought their second house and happily drive a mini van. She is also younger than me. The occasional glimpse of people my age acting like grown ups freaks me out.
I’m SO glad I’m not the only one!
“…there are now kids in our lives who think that we know what we’re doing.”
That statement alone scares the crap out of me! LoL. The older I get, the more I realize how little I actually know. And yes, the phases of my life are just light-speed changing and going by without so much as a warning, phone call, or text (like company you are expecting). Then, there are a few experiences and events that seem to run you over. Ugh.
Anyway…it is interesting to see the dearest people in your life change with the time. One of my best high school friends is expecting. I wish I was closer to share that with her. Even though I’m not, I’m overjoyed for her!
Isn’t that terrifying?? I mean, even if you’re not a parent, kids now see me as an adult. It’s SCARY. I guess we just have to get really good at pretending we know what we’re doing. ;) (And congrats to your friend! I’m thrilled for mine as well. They’re like… intensely good at this. It’s a little daunting.) :)
I found you via another blog because I googled “how do I know I don’t want kids?” I know, crazy I googled that because I don’t, but I’m 34 and I kinda gotta be sure. Anyhow, super stoked I found your blog.
You know, you have no idea how much I wish Google could answer that question. But, since it can’t, I’m glad it sent you here instead. :)
Congrats to your friend! What beautiful children she has.
They are pretty gorgeous. In fact, I’m pretty sure I can’t top that, so maybe I shouldn’t even try. ;)
I wouldn’t worry so much. You do know stuff, especially compared to a little kid. No one knows everything. But you have been around, you’ve seen things, you think about things, and you’ve chosen a different path from your friends. When they ask, you’ll be able to give those kids different perspectives on things. It’s good.
I remember the first time one of my friends got pregnant on purpose, it just wouldn’t compute for me: “So… you just stopped doing birth control? Like, just stopped altogether? I don’t understand.”
Haha that’s exactly what happened when my friends did it. I was very confused about the whole decision. Of course, now that I get to spoil the crap out of their kids and not deal with any of the consequences, it kind of works out. ;)
Aww, give yourself a little credit. Just because you don’t have a kid doesn’t mean you don’t know things or can’t figure things out. Having a kid doesn’t automatically make you smarter or more mature.
I’m trying to enjoy the stage where kids think I know what I’m doing b/c my oldest nephew just entered the phase where he seems to think all adults are idiots.
Also, “Does anyone else find it surprising, the way life just keeps going from one phase to the next?” – Not so much, but the speed at which it goes continually amazes me.
I think I meant more like when did my entire generation – parents and child-free – have to become the responsible ones who know what we’re doing? :) You are SO right about this being a limited phase and that I should enjoy it. Well said! Pretty soon her girl, who currently idolizes me, will just think I’m this crazy, eccentric aunt who laughs really loudly. I should enjoy her innocence while I can. :)
Altho, when you put it that way, I’m cool with being the crazy, eccentric aunt who laughs really loudly. Makes me laugh just thinking about it. I remember thinking my one aunt (single, childless) was the coolest person in the world – still do. She worked, traveled and did (and introduced me to) all kinds of cool things. I want to be that kind of aunt.
Ha, actually you know what? I’m cool with that, too! Thanks for helping me realize that.
Wow, did you read my mind, like yesterday? And the day before? Because this has been a serious topic of exasperated conversation between myself and my single friends lately. This has become the summer of weddings for me and even though no one close to me has had a baby yet… I sense it coming and its FREAKIN ME OUT! But that’s life right? Just another type of adventure that we’re all blindly making our way towards. Congrats to your friends and their beautiful new addition!! I wonder if the little ones will have a blue hair phase someday too… :)
All I can tell you Britany is enjoy the ever loving CRAP out of the wedding phase. Because I was at my (same) friend’s place today, and she was talking about how after the baby phase is the phase where all of our friends start getting divorced and mid-life crises and terminal cancer and whatnot, so live it up, my friend! Weddings – especially when they’re not your own – are a total blast. :)
Her expanding family allows you to share in another kind of life. Just as she can share in the changes and expansion in yours.
Such a good point. Though, wait, wait, wait. My family is expanding? We totally can’t handle another dog. ;)