Thursday, September 14, 2006

Old friends, hard feelings

I've been working for the last couple of days on renting a beach house for some girlfriends of mine and I on Topsail Island, NC in October. It's our annual beach trip--as of a couple of years ago anyway, and not including last year when both me and Mommygoth had babies too new to leave for a few nights. I'm looking forward to resuming this tradition very much, though. I'd love for it to keep going til we're all old, old ladies.

But I'm a bit nervous about this trip, too. There will be 5 of us there, including me. We've all known each other since college, and one of them I've even known since elementary school. 3 of us are married and have children. 2 of us are not married and are childless. These last 2 girlfriends would like very much to be married and be mamas, and one of them is even going so far as to give her boyfriend of 10 years an ultimatum. He'll either agree to have kids with her by her December birthday, or she'll leave him. Only she's not telling him the date, because apparently he won't respond well to a spoken ultimatum. The other friend is still mourning the end of a relationship that she (and we!) really thought was going somewhere, and which went on long enough to seem serious. She's 36 now and freaking out about her prospects seeming so grim.


Our first year doing this trip, I remember commenting to one of my friends, "We're at the age now where for the next 10 years, someone'll either be getting married, or pregnant, or nursing a newborn." It seemed like it couldn't possibly turn out otherwise then. Can you tell why there's something a bit nerve-wracking here? My emotions about it all are very mixed. I feel horrible that my 2 friends are so unhappy about their lives, and that things aren't going the way they wanted them to. One of them is particularly fragile, and I hate to see her that way. I'm excited to be going and getting some time with them away from the responsibilities of my usual life, even if I should be so lucky to have such responsibilities. I want to get caught up on everyone's lives, but I feel like I should probably keep my mouth shut about my own because I don't want to piss anyone off or make anyone feel bad. They are wonderful women who don't have a spiteful bone in their bodies and wouldn't begrudge me a thing, but I can see that my TWO husbands--one of them Ex, of course--and TWO girls are an irritant sometimes.

I know that marriage and babies aren't the only mark of success in a woman's life, and I certainly know they're not the only route to happiness. But I AM happy, and apparently feeling guilty about it. I know I don't deserve my life, and didn't do a thing to earn what I have. I feel grateful and puzzled about it every single day.

But almost none of us deserve what we get, do we?


Joan said...

I have 2 friends who cannot have children. I worry I talk about my kids too much or I'll go in the other direction to go out of my way not mentioning them at all. It's gotten uncomfortable for me. They may not even realize it.

Lauren said...

Like you said, a really good friend will not begrudge you anything. That said, though, in such circumstances I try not to talk about my kids too much. That's a good discipline to practice, in general.

I have a childless-by-choice friend who told me when I got preganant that I had better not become like HER (other friend who talks constantly about her kids). I was under such PRESSURE.

By the way, when I was 36 I had no marriage prospects either!

Mommygoth said...

Oh, honey. You know Steel Magnolia and I both feel this too. When we all went out for drinkies a while back I went home with a sick spot in my heart for days. It will be okay. It will be better than okay. We will mostly talk about the silly stuff we did while we were young. We will eat too much, and drink too much, and in general make fools of ourselves. There will be one or two horrible moments where hearts come out on the tables and everyone else's hearts break a little. And with any luck, by the next trip they'll both be in a better place. God knows they both deserve it.

"Grandi" said...

You just have to be yourself! In consideration of the other 2, you probably shouldn't "gush" about hubby and darling children - but they certainly know you are married and have children and would love to catch up on the adventure. You will have a lot to talk about with your new house too!

I feel especially bad for your friend who has a 10-yr boyfriend! Why does she want to have a baby with a guy that obviously can't commit, and who she probably doesn't love that much anyway if she will leave him by her birthday if he won't impregnate her by then??? She is worth more than that!!

My soapbox is relinquished.

Mama D said...

I have a similar relationship with one of my friends. I always feel self conscious to complain about my husband or life as a mama because she has neither. She refuses to read my blog because she says it is "too painful" for her that she is so far away and removed from my life. I guess I understand but I'm a little hurt too.

I agree you should be yourself. (I should take my own advice!) If it wasn't your husband or your children that they would feel bad about it might be the job you had or how great you looked. In fact there might be things you envy about their lives also.

Anyway. Blah, I sound preachy. Sorry.

Brony said...

Never feel guilty about your happiness or your life. Things happen for a reason. Your friends are very lucky to have you. Be there with them, be supportive and have fun.

Belle said...

I feel for your friend. Not to sound bleak, but I'd hate to be single in this day and age. It was no picnic when I was single at 19, and single at 28. Still, people find partners no matter their age or where they're at in life. It was just never easy for me even when I was at the top of my game physically, and had no baggage to speak of. Baggage not being children, but the issues that tend to stay with some of us after getting out of relationships.

You know that I don't have many friends that I hang out with IRL, and haven't ever found myself in that situation...but I tend not to talk about my children all that much anyhow. While I'm proud of them, generally my conversations with other adults revolve around other things. But yes, real friends don't mind what you talk about :)