Choices

We are back after a fun filled weekend at Groomzilla and close college friend’s wedding. I think it was perhaps the best. wedding. ever. Even better than my own, if only because I wasn’t responsible for everyone else having a good time. The wedding ceremony itself made me cry and as M will tell you, I don’t cry at weddings. I just don’t. But yet there I was, bawling away in the back row, drenching M’s new camera with tears.

The food was spectacular- what else can you say about a raw bar, sushi, and, my personal dessert favorite, cannolis. Plus, of course, the obligatory wedding cake was to die for. The leftovers? They came home with me in case you were looking for them guys. And despite his name, Goth DJ was awesome. I had a hard time finding a song during which I was willing to leave the dance floor and head to the bathroom. But, just a word of warning for you moms out there who were somewhat haphazard about doing your kegels, dancing to Jump Around with a full bladder just leads to a senior moment….

While the wedding and parties were amazing, I found myself feeling slightly out of kilter all weekend. At the rehearsal dinner/roast and toast on Friday night, many people brought their kids and I spent much of the night wanting to run up to the harried moms chasing their offspring around and exclaim “Really, I’m one of you! I know I look so carefree sitting here with my friends and a glass of wine (I know the look they were shooting oh so well) but just four hours ago I was negotiating who got the last piece of string cheese, I swear!” And every time a small child went racing by who even remotely resembled C or A, I started to yell “Come back here now…” only to realize that it wasn’t my problem that said small child was headed directly to the biggest mud puddle in the place.

So instead of chatting with the moms while keeping one eye on wandering children, I hung out with M’s college friends and my post-graduation friends, most of whom are spouse and childrenless. And while I had a blast, and spent the whole weekend announcing “We can’t let it be this long until we see each other again” and meaning it, it all seemed a bit unreal. I found myself forgetting that I was a mom, and half believing that I would be returning to my old, sort of hip life in New York instead of my not so new and definitely not hip life in suburbia.

Yet I also found myself feeling oh so old all weekend as I listened to tales of first dates, job changes, and returns to graduate school. My last first date was over ten years ago. Hell, I’ve been out of grad school for over eight years now. While I wouldn’t change anything about my current life (Well, I wouldn’t change anything MAJOR anyway), it made me think about the choices each of us have made, and how different our paths have become. If I had decided against dating M way back when because of his Republican tendencies, would I have found someone else or would I have focused more on my career and finished my PhD? If M and I had decided to postpone or forgo children, would we still be in New York and would I still be working 70+ hour weeks and traveling to not-so-exotic destinations like Little Rock?

And perhaps the moment that made me feel the oldest was when M and I were woken Saturday morning by a phone call from one of his college roommates who needed us to come bail him out at the police station. It seems that after we retired like the old fogeys we are to our bed at 11:30, the party continued on until 4:30 or so, and then an unfortunate choice was made to operate a motor vehicle instead of sleeping off the excess alcohol at one of the hotels walking distance from the reception site. While I never would have made that choice, even in my not so brilliant youth, the whole experience of getting that phone call and thinking through what could have happened, and what probably would happen once court appearances took place, made me realize how much becoming a parent changes things.

Making the decision to have kids means things like changing your expectations about how late you can sleep in, what types of restaurants you eat at, and even what types of furniture you choose to put in your living room. But what really hit home this weekend was how much my decisions now impact the lives of my children. Take M’s former roommate for example. He was lucky that his choice to drive drunk only impacted him and the unfortunate road sign he plowed into, but if a parent had made a similar choice with a similar outcome, the ramifications would have been much more devastating than “How will I get to work?” A parent would have to solve issues like who would drive the kids to pre-school, soccer, or playdates. How would they get to the doctor’s or the dentist’s? Would another parent really ever let you drive their children again?

While there were moments this weekend when I felt young and carefree, the early morning trip to the police station made me realize how different my life really is from what it used to be. And even if I try to forget for a weekend that I am a responsible adult by staying up late and having an extra glass of wine, or by having junk food for breakfast and ice cream for lunch, in reality, I will always be a parent. And I’m OK with that.

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