Alyce and I were fortunate enough to attend the birthday party of our friend Declan, who is now four. I love celebrating the birthdays of my friends' kids (and birthdays in general), and there is something so lovely about helping your friends mark another year for their children. Somewhere between the shock that we actually had these children in the first place and the excitement of watching these wee people grow up before our eyes, you'll find me, both beaming and sobbing, at the centre of the party. Declan was an excellent host and didn't even flinch when all the other kids tried to open his presents. Alyce and I hope he enjoys his new books (especially this one, because it cracks me up). I would like to post some photos, of course, but I am experiencing some technical difficulty. Later, then.
(Update: photos here)
Besides sharing the details of how much I adored watching Alyce have rainbows painted on her cheeks, I haven't been able to stop thinking about something since I left the party. Declan's mama is a very good friend of mine, someone I was lucky enough to meet in high school, someone I'm so proud to have on my side. We used to spend all of our money following Sloan, and now we spend all of our money on food and beds for our growing families. It's been years (and I mean years, like fifteen of them), since we lived in the same city, but that hasn't mattered. But when you and your friends no longer occupy the same space, you both make new friends in the new places you find yourself in, and maybe you see where I'm actually going with this: you have this great friend who now has other great friends, and sometimes old friends meeting new friends can be awkward. And by awkward I mean that I found myself trying to break into this new world of hers, but her new world didn't want to let me in.
Maybe I scared the poor, unsuspecting New Friend? Did I come on too strong? Was I creepy when I walked up and introduced myself to New Friend and told her that I felt like I knew her already? Was it shyness that kept her from answering my questions, or engaging me in conversation? All I wanted was to get to know this person a little better, with hopes that my friend and I could expand our shared world again. Maybe we could all get together sometimes, instead of the fragmented visits we have when we're trying to keep in touch with so many different people in our very busy lives.
New Friend didn't seem to like me. She seemed to retreat to that strange phenomenon of moms-in-the-park. Do you know about this? If you put ten different mothers in a park with their children, they will very often never say a word to each other. Instead they'll talk to their children, or maybe, just maybe, about their children, but only for the briefest moments. All of these perfectly fine mothers sitting around a playground, with all of this great conversation to be had, and instead we sit there in silence, as though taking our eyes of our children for one second in order to look a new person in the eye is just too much. Why don't we talk to each other? What is stopping us? Isn't there enough crap out there that new parents have to face? Seriously, I'm going to start singing soon, something about 'shouldn't we all just get along.' You don't want it to get to that.
Like I said, maybe she was just shy. But I'm not that scary. And I bake.