On Friday, an old friend from Washington state called me because he now lives in North Carolina. When my phone rang, I was parking my minivan to hold my place in the carline in order to expedite the process of picking up both children when one is released fifteen minutes earlier than the other on Fridays. I was parking my minivan in a long line of minivans, and tucking my four month old into a baby carrier so I could effectively use both hands to navigate my pre-school kid, her lunchbox, and all her art, back to the minivan before the elementary school carline started up.
This is my life.
And until the name of this friend popped up on my cell phone for the first time in about three years, I never questioned the potential silliness of every single one of these very purposeful actions, that I go through, willingly, every single Friday.
Reconnecting with my past always has a way of forcing me to evaluate my present from the perspective I had before I was married with children.
Unlike many girls I grew up with, I never pictured my perfect wedding and certainly had no timeline in mind for when it would take place. Unlike most of my graduating peers, I didn’t have this ticking biological clock of remorse that I didn’t meet Mr. Right, Mr. Godly, nor Mr. Perfect at Baylor, nor did I fear that upon graduation, I never would.
I made a list in one of my college journals of plans for my first apartment. The one I was going to live in, alone, in a cool city, while I was still single. (It included a very extensive description of coffee mugs and saucers, by the way.)
What I didn’t know was that my “hip apartment for one,” in a “hip and fun city” does not actually exist on a teacher’s salary. At least not in North Carolina, the only state that offered me a job.
I always assumed I’d be married by the end of my twenties and having kids sometime after a long honeymoon of blissful cohabitation, career life, Thirsty Thursdays, and weekend camping excursions with friends. I did make an actual list of requirements for my future husband, and ironically, John managed to break most of my “non-negotiables” and only fit in the quirky categories that I tagged on for fun. Things like, “Athletic but also secretly musical,” and “Last name that starts with a W.”
I can’t believe you have three kids.
I hear this a lot.
Sometimes I can’t believe it either.
Catching up with friends from college, especially those whose lives did not progress along the same set of milestones mine has, always gives me a bit of an out of body experience. I mean, how could I have predicted just a decade ago, that I’d one day be celebrating the prospect of a Friday night spent catching up on West Wing episodes because we finally have nothing to do and nowhere to be?
And reflective introspection for one afternoon always leads to these questions later (from the couch–where I’m curled up with a big white Pottery Barn blanket eating leftover Easter candy out of one of my kids’ baskets):
“Are we boring?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, when you were in college and you imagined your future, is this what you had in mind?”
My fabulous husband never fails to answer this question the same way every time. We both end up agreeing that we are totally boring and we wouldn’t have it any other way.