June 29, 2008 -
Phew! It's a hot one today. I came home after being out all day to a sauna. My poor cat is flopped down on the floor, belly to the fan, trying desperately to stay cool. I have the window open, the blinds drawn to keep out the sun and the fan going full blast. Still, it is stifling in here. Blech…
The Pride parade was massive fun! I was even more impressed with it this year than last. It's just a big giant love fest, with huge splashes of color (on the floats and in the participants!); lots of music, dancing, stumping for good causes...I didn't even let the fact that I got hit in the head with an Obama for Prez button ruin my "gaiety"! Unfortunately gay bf was under the weather and didn't make it to the festivities. Nothing sucks more than a summer cold - feel better Snookums! (Speaking of gay bf, I have a cute story for you. Last night, I was his "plus-one" to a BBQ that was attended by my other gay bf, Al. Al was my Number 1 till he coupled off and became distracted with his own Number 1, but that didn't stop him from trying to stake his claim. Paul and Al engaged in a little tete-a-tete about who was truly my Number 1. Really flattering guys, but I really wish at least ONE of you was straight!)
I spent much of the early afternoon watching the parade from my friends' salon. This not only afforded me a bird's eye view of the frivolity, but also the opportunity to get caught up with another friend of mine whom I hadn't seen in several years. Like many of my female friends, she became entrenched with the demands of motherhood which was further compounded by her single status, as well as the fortuitous decision on her part to go back to school to study acupuncture. Although I missed hanging with her during those years (she was my concert buddy), I am very proud of her for all that she has accomplished to make a better life for her little girl. I think as a single mother, life will always bit of a struggle for her and her beautiful daughter, but am confident she has it very well in hand.
The subject of the impact of motherhood has come up quite a few times lately as my friends and I go through another round of pregnancies within our extended circle. Specifically, as I was chatting with a male friend today who made a comment about someone we knew who was not watching the parade as she was attending her baby shower this afternoon that none of us were invited to. Apparently, it was another group of friends that threw the shower for her and I think my friend was feeling a little left out as this signaled the start of many an occasion where the happy parents will likely be doing more activities with other happy parents and leaving their single and/or childless couple friends behind. Having heard myself voicing the same sentiment in the past, I sympathize with my friend who – although happy to see a bundle of joy blessed upon the parents - is speaking from a place of sadness at the possibility of losing an important friendship; or at a minimum experiencing a change in the dynamic of that relationship.
I find the older I get and the more I am faced with this, it is easiest for me to initially celebrate the news of an imminent birth, but then be mindful of the fact that things will be different from here on out. I can't expect the mom-to-be to want to bar hop with me while dealing with morning sickness or check out rock shows on a whim when she should be home with her swollen feet elevated, eating bon-bons. There *will* be a nine-month period of nesting, followed by 2-3 years where I just will not see them that much. Although the news of a baby's arrival always sparks an inclination to want to meet the new member of the family, to hold them and coo-coo at them to the point of silliness, many parents would rather not have that interruption during that initial bonding period as soon as they get home from the hospital. In some cases, the baby's health relies on maintaining a semi-sterile environment so dropping by unannounced can not only be considered in very poor form, but dangerous for the baby's health. I always wait until I am invited with the understanding that invitation may not come for months. I think the most supportive thing a friend can do is to just let the parents know you are there for them, even if they do not respond or take you up on any offers; it's not something to be taken personally.
My best girlfriend in Seattle had her first child 3 ½ years ago; she had her second child about two years later. I saw her only intermittenly during that time but recently had the pleasure of an extended visit with her. Even though the dynamic had changed between us as a result of how much we had changed in recent years, I still felt the same connection with her as I did when we were both single. In some ways, her becoming a mother has strengthened certain aspects of our relationship as the natural competitive streak that exists between women of childbearing age has subsided. As a single, childless woman I feel a marked difference between my interactions with married female friends who have children and those friends that are single and childless. It's a complicated concept that I believe (without having researched the matter) stems from a female's natural inclination to meet a strong, healthy mate and produce strong, healthy offspring. Other similarly situated females are competition for those mates and no matter how tight the bond between the women, they will always be in competition with one another. Watch "Species" if you don't believe me ;-)
As I type out this blog, I have been thinking about my own feelings of being childless. I used to want children – at least two, maybe three. As I get older I realize that may not be so practical; that I am much better suited being the fabulous aunt to my brother's three gorgeous children. If I were to have a child at this stage in my life, I think the best I can hope for is one. Does it bother me that it hasn't happened yet? In my most vulnerable times, I would be lying if I told you it didn't. The strong female in me however will tell you that it's all good – whatever was meant to be will be. Does it really matter that at this point, if I were to have a child this year, I would be 50+ by the time it graduates high school? Age ain't nothing but a number…isn't it? Maybe some things are just better left unsaid. :-)
Need to go immerse myself in a tub of ice water. The good news is I understand we have some thundershowers rolling in that will break the heat.
Bring it on!