Stuck in the middle with you
As I've mentioned before, I belong to a smallish, close-knit message board. I consider the women on the board to be good friends, and since we talk online, I usually talk to them a lot more than I talk to my geographically-present friends. We all met on a wedding planning board, so most of us were married within a few years of each other. I was, I think, fourth-to-last or fifth-to-last to get married. A lot of the girls are a few years older than me, and some are almost five years older than I am. Many of them already have kids, and several have little bitty kids, born in the last two years. Now, four (four!!) of them are pregnant. I am utterly thrilled for all of them, and I'm loving every minute of celebrating their pregnancies and looking forward to welcoming their babies into our quirky extended family group.
But I'm also sort of sad, because by the time MB and I are ready to have children, most of my online friends' kids will be in Kindergarten. I fear that no one will be left to be my "pregnancy buddy," that everyone will be totally over diapers and teething and first steps, and that I'll be left behind, yelling "Hey, wait for me!" just like I am now. All the bloggers I read who have babies and small children will be leaps and bounds away from me, and I'll be running to catch up, always. While I'm not exactly jealous of my friends who are buying houses and having babies and bonding through motherhood, it does make me feel like the last kid left on the playground sometimes, yelling after them to wait, to come back and go down the tallest slide with me one last time.
And then, there's the other side of my friend-sphere. My "real-life" friends, the ones I live near and hang out with frequently. About half of the people in my somewhat largeish group of close friends are married. Of the married folk, one couple is actively seeking to expand their family, and one couple is thinking about doing so soon. The rest are adamantly no-kids-please. The singles are not in any hurry to become un-single, and also have no plans (that I know of) to have kids. So among my friends, I'm one of the weird ones, because I actually think about and talk about and read about and want babies. Not all the time, mind you. I'm not baby crazy, and I don't go on about it all the time (at least, I don't think so). I can't gush about babies to my friends, because it's somewhat clear they think it's boring or weird or at least uninteresting. They smile those "isn't she cute" smiles and say things like, "You and your mommy blogs" and I wonder if they'll find me boring and trite and as dismissible in their eyes as the other "mommy bloggers" when I have kids. I hope not, and I don't really think so, but who knows? I wonder sometimes if they look at me like I look at my online friends. To them, am I the one running off toward a different kind of reality, leaving them behind? Am I always going to be stuck in the middle, left behind and yet running ahead?