Here is yet another example of sitting down to write something and having something completely different come out. I think I like this one better than the one in my head. Or at least it feels like something that has been brewing under the surface for a while now, and it feels good to get it out – even though it still doesn’t say exactly what I would like it to say.
Twice in the past two weeks I’ve been able to go hang out with friends. No kids invited. It felt a little strange to be getting ready to go out while Micah finished putting the boys to bed. Usually at that time of night I change into my pjs, lock all three locks on our apartment door, and settle in for the evening. But it turns out that the sun is still shining at 7:00 pm these days. It’s warm enough to not need a jacket. It’s a lovely time of night to sit at a table with people who, under “normal” circumstances, would never get to the end of a sentence without it being interrupted by someone saying, “Mom, look at this!” or “Mom, I need some water,” or “Mom, can we go yet?” or maybe just, “Waaaaahhhhh!”
My parents had a group of friends from college whom they would go out to dinner with regularly. It was the one time – aside from when a new baby was born – that my parents would leave us. They would go out to eat, and then have dessert at the house of one of the couples. We always looked forward to when it was our parents’ turn to host. We were supposed to be in bed by the time they got there, but there was, if I remember correctly, generally a mad dash to get up the stairs and out of sight when the family van pulled up to our house. And then there was the spying. What did adults talk about? Who were these “friends” our parents claimed to have? We knew them only through stories and rarely saw them (although over the years we did get to know them much better, and spent time with their kids as well), except as we peeked out from our spot by the stairs. If we were lucky, our mom might let us come down to help serve the guests their dessert.
Micah and I moved away from our college the week we were married. The friends we made as a couple were left behind. And then the friends we made in Hawaii were left behind. And now we are nearly five years into our stint as New Yorkers and as couples and families move in and out, I’m starting to wonder if we’ll ever have “those friends” that my parents had. People we ditch our kids to go out to dinner with once a month, without fail. People we invite over to chat with late into the night, when the kids are in bed. People who we’ve known for, what seems like, ever.
It has been something I’ve thought of longing on occasion over the past seven years. To be a part of a solid group. To have a consistency to those relationships. To know who your real friends are and that they feel the same way about you as you do about them.
Those two nights were almost there. I could almost pretend, for just a little while, that I’d known these friends forever. That we do this all the time. That everyone has their place in the pack. That this wasn’t just a one-night stand.