|I will never change enough|
to wear this shoe
Recently, I had lunch with my friend Bernice who shared this curiosity:
"So now that Courtney's getting married, it's only a matter of time before..." and here she raised her eyebrows to finish the sentence. "How do you feel about that?" she asked.
Funny, the timing of that. Funny, the déjà vu.
Before I became a mother, I could imagine myself having children like I could imagine scaling a building in my favorite black pumps. I couldn't. I didn't understand babies. I was intimidated by the way they stared at me when I was left alone in the room with them. They cried when their mothers asked me to hold them.
My friends who had children carried tiny little photo albums in their purses which unfolded like accordions. If there was any lull in the conversation, out it came. You couldn't "hide the story" or refrain from comment; you had to look, you had to comment and I never knew what to say.
"Oh, wow. Is she noisy?"
"Did labor hurt more than you thought?"
"He's really mature looking for his age."
But I felt about these tiny people like I felt about small dogs. If cute, peaceful, and well-behaved enough, I might want one. But when they were demanding, rude and disruptive, I wondered how I would ever adore them the way other people did.
What would we talk about?
Toward the end of my self-absorbed twenties I met Larry and things began to change. On long car rides, late in the evening, sitting around with nothing to do, the thought of someday children began to not horrify me. There were other reasons, I suppose. I was aware that this me-first-me-only stage of life would expire eventually, and I liked looking ahead. I also found it more enchanting to think about someday-children than another way to do my hair or what to wear on Monday or why Donna was mad at me or why Jay in Finance was such a jerk or whether or not I'd ever make Employment Manager.
And I started to picture them, my someday children.
What they would look like.
What their names would be.
What they would do when they grew up.
What we'd talk about.
Every picture I formed, every idea I had was dwarfed by what I learned in the stunning moment when my someday child became my right-now daughter. I was changed forever, in ways I couldn't have predicted.
It's only a matter of time...how do you feel about that?
Certainly in connection with Courtney's engagement, I have been going through a time like that period in my twenties when I sensed the sun was setting on one phase in life and rising over another:
- I no longer believe that a grandsomeone will turn me into my cranky third grade teacher with the sensible shoes.
- I don't believe I'll become annoying or intrusive or anything else that comes from wanting to live someone else's life more than your own.
- In department stores now, Larry and I look at tiny down vests and shoes that could fit the cat and say, "Oh, look at this."
- Out and about, I notice grandmummies who cherish their grandsomeones who cherish them back.
- I can picture a small child being given the news that Grandmummy and GrandLarry are coming to visit and I can imagine the text I'll receive to tell me about their response to this.
- I can picture someones-in-law talking to me about how life has changed in a conversation that is like the ones I have with my children now.
But most of all, my long and luxurious dance with change has taught me to open my heart to every someday that waits, the way I opened my heart long ago to a someday me, and the someday child who changed everything with one look.
And when I see Bernice tomorrow for lunch, I'll bet she asks me about something else.