Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Paradise Lost

Warning: this is one of those cases in which I use my blog as my own personal therapy.  There are not cute kid stories, not funny quips, just Psych 101 and "self discovery".  Feel free to skip it.

I spent the weekend with my family.  Not just Mr. Dog and the boys, but Stan, Auntie Chihuahua, Maria and our families.  The Walter Street family.  When I'm with these people it can feel like time stands still.  Like I've entered a time warp and been transported back to the comfort and warmth of our own little San Francisco era.  It's like I shrug off my responsibilities and revert back to a more carefree time.  Discussions of what we're doing in our own current lives seem somehow less real and more like an abstract discussion of something hovering someplace in between now and the future, but not really to in the same world we're inhabiting right this very moment. There is a pleasant separation between the stress and worries of my daily life as I shrug off Laura as she is now, and pull back on the Laura that I used to be.  In my mind it is as though the parallel lives of this little group cease to exist and they wait for me to reappear from my "real" life and then we pick back up where we left off with our last visit. I'm aware of these other lives and while I'm talking to them at a distance, they are real and compelling but my mind has them suspended when we're together and our connections are always instant and comfortable.
Stan turned 40 this month, and to celebrate his big day, he planned a weekend getaway together with old and new friends. I've been anxiously counting down the days to the big event.  Once we arrived at the rental house, a giant hilltop home complete with a pool and hot tub, in Sonoma county Stan and I quickly assumed our traditional roles.  We got the boys settled with Mr. Dog and Stan and I took off to Santa Rosa to stock the kitchen with food for the next 4 days.  This simple task ate up the next 3 hours and I'm sure Mr. Dog was having memories of the days he'd refer to Stan and me as "the black hole of time."  We got back, unpacked and I started preparing dinner, another of my traditional roles in our little family of the past.
Mark and Maria arrived later with two sleepy children who were soon taken away to bed.  Meanwhile, we finally got dinner together and settled in.  And late that evening when I finally put the kids to bed, I fell asleep with my squirmy children missing out on the very late night drinking and bonding time with my friends.
The next morning, as the boys played in the pool, I got dressed and headed back to Santa Rosa to pick Auntie Chihuahua and Thomas up from the airport.  I left early and stopped off to pick up a couple of other forgotten items, like Corona Light, though why anyone would choose to drink that remains a mystery.  Friday was spend with friends, relaxing in the sun, enjoying the pool, but a few strange bumps kept it from really feeling settled.  At least for me.
By Saturday it was as though the veil between my worlds had been lifted and all I could see was the ways this no longer fit.  Worse yet, the newly glaring light of truth exposed one particularly nasty fact; we are all getting old.  Older at least.  And if they're all growing up, that means I'm going to have to face facts; I'm old too.  The truth is I'm racing up against 40.  I am a thoroughly uncool mother of two small kids.  I drive a station wagon.  My idea of an exciting night out is dinner and a drink, and yes, one drink will usually do it, because I have to drive home.  My wardrobe is pieced together from selection of chain stores.  I am chubby and tired and look very much the part of an exhausted mother of two. I am no longer young and edgy.  I'm old and settled.  And that depresses me.  I mean, what in the name of all that is good and holy happened to me? 
And it wasn't only that I'm getting old, it was that we all were more involved in our own ongoing lives than the old comfortable patterns we usually occupy.  I'm not sure why it was more glaring this time, but maybe it was the new location, the celebration of Stan's big 40th, the mojitos and wine, or possibly some combination of the three.
After a fairly unbecoming meltdown, a few teary hot tub conversations and a heart to heart with my best friend, things smoothed out.  Or maybe I just adjusted to the new strangeness a little after forcing myself to air it to others.  The last day was relaxed and felt more natural.  The only sadness was that the vacation had drawn to an end and I was still missing my friend.
We're going to fix this.  I'm going to deal with my Peter Pan syndrome when it comes to this little group of friends.  We're going to do a better job of upping the face to face time one way or another.  And as far as me getting old, I guess I'll just have to learn to deal with it.  I'll gracefully accept my new maturity, stock up on moisturizers and embrace my role as former hell raiser and mother to the next generation of bad asses.  Or maybe I'll get another tattoo, chop off my hair or pierce something just to spice things up. It's hard to know what's going to work, but figure it out.


Green said...

I don't know if this will make you feel any better, but I've never been young and edgy. And I've always been chubby and dressed in clothes from chain stores. :(

That whole "you can't miss what you never had" thing is wrong.

geekymummy said...

Such a great post.
I guess we are all finally growing up. Your friendship means the world to me. And you are still way cooler than I am! I like Journey for gods sake, how did that happen?!

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