Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Time warp

Well, Oli and Lily come home tonight. According to the BA website, their flight is running late and will arrive at 18:51 instead of 18:10. Three hours until I’m a wife and mother again.

The last week has been strange and telltale.

What have I done?

Everything I used to do in college.

I remember once in the first weeks we were in Barcelona, a few days after our course had finished, Oli and I went to Dunkin Donuts on the Ramblas, got a half dozen and coffee, walked down the street smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee, and went to an English pub to watch England vs. Wales and share our doughnuts. On that walk we discussed how incredible it is that no matter where you are in the world, you always end up doing the same things and you find out what you’re really made of. Evidently, we’re made of D&D, coffee, smoke and football.

Now that Brian, Colin and Jay have moved from college-town Little Italy to cool-but-not-quite-Wicker-Park-cool Logan Square, it’s all fun and games again. Just as in the old days, I spent Thursday evening after work with Colin, Brian, Jay and Kevin. Unlike old times, we went grocery shopping for healthy food, I made starters consisting of prosciutto and brie and Brian made a healthy dinner, including a delicious salad involving nuts. I passed out at like 10 o’clock due to time-change-confusion, but really, that just made it even more like the old days.

Friday night Brian and I went out for coffee. Brian was a little tipsy (he’s on his month-long furlough from the Force) and we talked about family and life...same old same old, in the best possible way. The only differences from three years ago were that I don’t chain smoke anymore and he’s dating a 36-year-old….

Monday I decided not to go to work as I had a relapse of the “lurgy” or stomach virus on Sunday night and I figured a) I shouldn’t infect my coworkers with what has proven to be a potent communicable virus and b) I should cook several dishes for Lily and Oli to have upon their arrival in the US…hopefully I didn’t get germs in the batter. I finished cooking by noon and then I took advantage of the fact that Kevin doesn’t work to hang out with him. We looked through my CD collection since I’m going to be selling most of it, considered watching Curb Your Enthusiasm season 5, and went to Starbucks…..anything seem familiar here?

And finally, Tuesday night was spent out with Janice and her roommate Melissa at Innertown Pub. As per usual, Janice bought me an extra round beyond what I had expected to drink and we discussed a certain individual that you all know the name of but that I cannot mention here just in case s/he somehow reads this blog. I find her love-life escapades thrilling now since I no longer have stories that involve wondering if someone likes me or not.

Interestingly a guy I used to see named Tom was there and it was fun to answer his question, “What’s going on?” with “Well, I had a baby and got married.” Actually, I believe I said, “I got married and had a baby,” but who’s keeping track? He actually asked me “Really?” to check that I wasn’t joking and then was very sweet about it all and even asked if I was happy.

So, it’s been a wander down old-habit lane and an interesting opportunity to compare Me now to Me three years ago. When I hear about how my friends hit on people or get hit on, I have this sense now that I would be really confident and have a lot of fun if I were to be back on the dating market. Of course that is because I am secure and confident in having a husband who is my best friend. But clearly certain insecurities that I thought I had vanquished are still kicking around; they just aren’t tested as often. I was seriously nervous to talk to Tom, which after contemplation, I realize was not due to the “does he like me” nerves, but rather, due to the fact that I was embarrassed about how I had acted when we were seeing each other. I was going through a psycho drunk rebound phase then and our relationship ended with me getting angry on the phone because he was brushing me off saying he wouldn’t have time to hang out for a few weeks. I ended the conversation with, “Great. I’ll put that in my planner.” He giggled thinking I was joking and then my silence told him otherwise. He said, “Ok, talk to you later,” and that was that. We did talk a couple months later right before I went to Spain, and that was pretty civilized. Anyway, it was interesting to get butterflies in my stomach.

With friends, we still all love nothing more than to talk about one another, whether the person in question is in the room or not, but that’s been ongoing even when I am living the mommy life. Otherwise, I think I and most of our friends are much nicer people now, greatly due to some increased confidence. I went through a long phase of thinking most of my friends had everything way more together than I did, so I would toss out hurtful comments as jokes, thinking that they would only be taken as jokes by my superhuman friends. Alas, I think we all recognize that we love and need each other and are needed and I appreciate the level of intimacy without rancor that we’ve cultivated. Well done, friends.

So, I’ve enjoyed this little lapse into college life but to be honest, I miss my family and want to snuggle them very badly. I look forward to the little flutter I’ll get in my belly as I wait to see Oli and the dorky noises I’ll make at Lily.

On top of it all, my inkling that family life has changed me for the better has been confirmed. I feel like Lily makes me get my priorities straight. My time and my life are more valuable with her around. As I consider the food she eats, how to get her exercise, how to stimulate her mind, what is safe, what isn’t but is a good experience, and what is neither safe nor a good experience, I consider how these things relate to me as well. Oli and I often say that if Lily hadn’t happened we’d have continued traveling, working and partying. A nice combo, but not probably the best for getting all one could out of the travel experience. With her, I feel that we’re not giving up any part of our dreams, but rather, that we’ve been made to evaluate how to make our dreams viable worthwhile realities.

All in all, an excellent week for the soul.


The Tricyclist said...

Angela, this post is very thoughtful and provokes a lot of emotions for me. It's late and I should be in bed so I'm not sure how clearly I'll be able to express what emotions those are, exactly.
I guess I've felt a similar growth and boost in confidence that comes with having a husband and family who accept you completely. It's wonderful and happy to grow into one's skin, but I have a tinge of regret/embarrassment, too, when I remember my former, less-confident self. But I guess you just have to be who you are at any given point in time, and only by being who you are can you get to who you will be in the future. Yeah, like I said, it's really late (10:30 pm = late for mamas who aren't sleeping through the night).
Anyway, thanks for writing about your experience this week. It gives me a little warm flutter to think of you seeing your honeys after a whole week! A very happy reunion to you all.

Megan said...

I ditto the sentiments about getting married, growing up, and having the confidence to relate to people in a nicer, better way.

I found your hang out sessions last week enthralling because I feel like I am missing out in sharing that newfound maturity with our friends.

It's a really great time in our lives, and I guess I'm a little envious of you all in Chicago right now. Ok, I'm really really jealous.

If we ever move back, it probably won't be for a few years, and I fear I'll have missed the window of young city life as more and more members of The Group fall prey to suburban life or otherwise move on.

I wonder if I'll ever again be part of a group of friends like we have.

I knew friendship was important to me before we moved, and it was a serious consideration of mine while deciding whether to leave. But the financial benefits and career opportunities for us overwhelmed the decision.

Seeing you guys at Christmas just made me even more homesick.

Say hi to Oli and your girl and I hope the "lurgy" doesn't get them again. Did you know I came down with it after I got back to our flat?

The Tricyclist said...

Like Megan, I sadly fear we are missing the window. Even if we were ever to get back to the city, I'm afraid things would have changed so much, in the friend arena. Even now, certain people are preparing to move to Spain...
Yeah, the window = now.
Booooo window!

Seagull said...

What's all this about Oli & Angela smoking. Cut that out, you're parents now.