Last night, I visited with some girlfriends under the stunning red moon. The restaurant patio was pleasant and the wine flowed.
We talked kids.
I love my friends. I want to hear about their lives. I am empathetic to the challenges of motherhood.
We talked about kids and parenthood and marriage as parents for 2 hours. As a childfree person, this was kind of like talking about squirrels for 2 hours.
Yes, I am very familiar with squirrels. There are lots of squirrels around. I have provided short-term sustenance and care for squirrels. I happen to like squirrels.
But I don’t have squirrels of my own, and am unfamiliar with the day-to-day challenges of squirrel care. I know squirrelhood can be difficult and the keepers of squirrels need to vent and compare notes.
I have no squirrels. Instead, last night, I had a wandering mind. I’m ashamed to admit that I committed that greatest of all social faux pas: I checked my phone.
I try to channel my childfree, perennially single, and quite fabulous friend Liza during these times. What would Liza do?
I have no idea. Maybe she’d go to the ladies’ room and call a friend with benefits. Except I’m married and I’m pretty sure my friend with benefits would be at our shared home anyway.
So I smiled and tried to be engaged. I do not want to diminish anyone’s experience. Except … by doing so, am I denying my own experience as someone gets sick of talking about other people’s kids all the damned time?
I think it’s just a pitfall of being a woman in your 30s. Raising kids is what all of my peers are doing right now, while I’m painting baseboards and trying to find myself.
This summer, I ran into an acquaintance who, upon figuring out where I live, rattled off a list of neighbors that surely I knew. I knew none of them. Finally, exasperated, the acquaintance said, “Do you go to Grant?”
Grant is the elementary school in my hood.
I graciously replied that I don’t have children, but I’m sure the mothers on my street are lovely people.
But really, I wanted to say, “Actually, I graduated from elementary school several years ago. Clearly, you’ve lost yourself and are identifying yourself in terms of your children. Dude, that’s messed up. So don’t be all looking down at me. I know who I am.”
So, that last part is maybe a stretch. I’m figuring out who I am. And I’m someone who gets tired of talking about squirrels.