Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wisfully Yours

I know I am not the youngest mom ever. Where I grew up, many of the people I knew were mothers long before I was. Many of R's friends from the same town were also parents before we were. But that is OH. This is Massachusetts (and New York and LA and my closest friends live) and R and I are young(ish) to have children.

Now granted, we got married younger than many of our friends as well. We also wanted our kids, do not get me wrong. But the end result, the bottom line is that very few of the close friends I had prior to having my children have children of their own.

When Sam was born, this (mostly) did not bother me. I had affected that smug "my life is so complete" attitude that makes many people not want to hang out with mommies for fear of being sucked into a vortex of stroller talk and diaper chat.

Still, I have always relished having childless friends because they lavish my kid with attention and talk to me about things other than diapers and strollers (subjects that get boring after about the first 3.2 seconds).

Now it is different. With two kids, some nights are better than others, but all include at least one wake-up and no alone time with my spouse. Our attention is always focused on our two children, one of us always has to be "on." And while R maintains that he would not have it any other way (probably just to keep himself sane), I have been having some very wistful moments lately when I realize that at 31, I am on the young side to be living this life and that one of my closest friends (shout out to you and happy birthday!) can celebrate her birthday by drinking beer all day on a Sunday and playing with her new Wii Rock Band (while planning a trip to Argentina). Sigh.

I feel uncool and ridonkulously jealous. Well, how did I get here? (shout out to Kristi, who also referenced this song today) I believe the Talking Heads sang this song for parents. The other day when it came on, R took stock of his life ("You may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife. You may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile.") Minus the beautiful wife who is currently 20 pounds heavier than she was (and the beautiful house which is more like a condo and whose beauty is debatable), this song is pretty right on (read: our car is big).

To listen to the song, one might believe I let the water flow and did not pay attention, but that would not be true. I made all the choices that led me here. And while I would never change having my kids and will probably be really glad I did it this way in a few years when we are all out of diapers and my friends are just having their firsts, "this is the stuff that will age us," as R said the other night when we both crashed in our bed during Sam's afternoon nap after we had played defense all morning to stop her attacks on her brother.

I am not going to throw out platitudes about my children and how much richer my life is than my childless friends, which I know is the norm. The fact is, right now I am in the thick of it and I am insanely jealous of their freedom. Would I want to be childless forever? Well, no. But maybe just for a month or so, just to appreciate it in a way I never did.

Sadly, we don't get that luxury. We don't get to live both sides. I know the grass is greener and blah, blah. But youth really is wasted on the young. And I feel (and look) about 10 years older than my closest friends. This is distressing.


Kristi said...

I hear you. While most of my friends do have kids already, which does curb my wistful yearnings, I still feel those pangs about what could have been had we put off having kids for awhile. Truth be told, I am inherently selfish and would love to only be responsible for myself for a good long time...or a weekend. I'd take a weekend, at this point.

Lis Garrett said...

Ha! Boy, do I know where you are coming from on this.

My husband and I got married when I was 21 (he was 32). We knew each other all of 11 months before Hannah was born. I feel like I skipped a whole decade of "me time." I really have NO clue what it feels like to live only for myself. I've always been wiping someone's butt, pacing the floor at night trying to get someone to sleep, going to parent meetings, tripping over toys. I know no other life than this.

Kids are wonderful, yes, but I can't help but look forward to Hannah going away to college in another 7 or 8 years and having the other two quickly follow suit (hopefully). I think there's something to be said about being a young parent - you get to REALLY enjoy middle age. ;-)

Stephanie said...

Representing the as-of-yet childless contingent, I usually only get the "what are you waiting for?" and "You'll understand when you have kids" side of things that often make me feel like a paraiah. Beleive me, there is envy on both sides. BOTH are rich...just different. But thanks for making me feel like I'm not a terrible person for wanting to talk about things other than diapers, maternity leave and child care options with my mommy friends. :)

k said...

want to go out to lunch and pretend you don't have kids with someone who is slightly younger yet looks just as worn, exhausted, and aged as yourself (and has as many children)??