Saturday, December 22
This morning I ate my first bagel since being diagnosed with Celiac disease. Of course, it was a gluten-free bagel, but it wasn’t bad. After breakfast, I showered and got dressed and my sister and her husband finally arrived. But, I was on my way out the door.
My college friends were meeting, and for me this was the first time I’d be seeing them in years. I borrowed my sister’s Hyundai Santa Fe and drove over to my friend C’s husband’s parents’ house. I was the first to arrive. C was upstairs getting dressed and I held her five week old baby boy, amazed at how alert and mellow he was. He just stared at me, smiled, gurgled, then looked up at the lights on the ceiling. Eventually, my college roommate M arrived with her husband, CA, and their seventeen-month-old son, along with our other college friend visiting from Philly, E and her boyfriend, D. It was a nice reunion. It was a joy to meet my friends’ sons, and then C opened up a card from E, to which she had a shocked look on her face. She got up and screamed out a sound of joy, then hugged E, who was laughing with joy. My first thought was that she got engaged. But, rather, she announced that she was three months pregnant! I was very excited for her and amazed at how brave she was, considering, like me, she was raised by a staunch Catholic mother. She seemed very easy breezy about the pregnancy and she and D would marry after the baby is born. How very modern! I am happy for her.
When I got home, I was a little sad that my friends didn’t ask me about my book and my writing. I know it’s not the same as having a child, but, in my own way, this is my child. I’ve been waiting for the day to finish my novel like an expectant mother. I didn’t really talk about myself or my life, other than to explain my Celiac disease. And I was okay with that. I quietly listened to them share stories about pregnancy, delivery, ice pack panties post delivery, sore nipples, breast feeding woes, pumping and so on. I realize that I am in such a different place in life than my friends. I am not ready to be a mom yet. I wouldn’t want to find out I’m pregnant today. I have so many things I want to do before I give my full attention to motherhood. I have a few more places to visit and I want to focus on my next book. I don’t even know, for sure, if I really want to get married. And if I never birth a child, well, I’m actually more interested in adopting a child, anyway - which is, in my opinion, so much more selfless than planning a pregnancy. It’s less about a personal desire to create something with a spouse in order to prolong a lineage, or to create an extension of the self, and much more about giving a lost child a chance, a hope, a home, a family. It’s just different.
In any case, when it was time to say our good-byes, I was very happy to reconnect with my friends. Even if they would only focus on parenthood. The thing is, I understand. I am patient and didn’t expect them to want to talk about anything else. Especially when it is still so very new to all of them.I was happy to get back home to spend time with my family. We had a turkey and stuffing dinner and celebrated my sister and her husband’s birthdays. My dad had baked an amazing gluten-free chocolate cake.
Before I went to bed, I worked on some writing exercises. And I thought about my friends and my life in Portland. I missed Oregon, rain and all. Even though it was raining in Virginia. I missed the open-mindedness, the patience and mellow lifestyle. I missed my single friends who know what’s going on in my life, who relate to me, and who care about what’s going on in my life. I can’t wait to celebrate New Year’s Eve with these friends. The thought of my champagne toasting among good, interesting people made me smile. I am happy for where I am in my life. I am happy and grateful.
Note: I abbreviated the names of my college friends because I did not ask for permission to write about them in this blog