I have a group of oh, I don't know, twenty girlfriends. A few of us met for coffee this morning in a post holiday roundup. I came in late and spotted the group immediately. They all sat at one table and a pile of Ergos, Petunia Pickle Bottoms, Hooter Hiders and Sophies were at another. The women I call my besties now come with one or all of the following: diamond rings, babies and men. They didn't see me see them so I quickly jumped in line for a latte before I made my way over.
My girlfriends are some of most stunning women you will ever lay eyes on. I'm not kidding. They are smart, funny, compassionate, hip and compelling. They also happen to be gorgeous in a very unconventional way. Each brings something to the table. And when the whole table is together? Watch out. They're powerhouses.
I've known them all since way before I knew better, and once I did get my wits about me, I thanked my lucky stars daily for their friendship. I still do. I have no idea why they keep my around. A pushy little girl, I'm sure I squirmed my way in and didn't give them much of a choice when we were young. Once the dust of pre-pubescence settled, we were in it together. We wanted the same things: Good grades, boyfriends, cars, college, etc. I never considered that with that many strong minded women, our priorities as individuals would change.
Sitting down for coffee with them, I realize how different I've become. I'm loving watching the way the light bounces off Jordan's engagement ring as she talks about her upcoming wedding and trip to Belize with Ron. Emi and her new husband, Bob, are deep in the throws of fixing up their Langley bungalow. They're going to look at countertops and cabinets later. Emily is back in her pre-baby Seven For All Mankind's, looking hot as ever while her one year old, Lucia, shoves both hands down her shirt in a desperate plea for milk. Brooke and Justin have started a wine label and Justin darts off to make deliveries to the local stores. Ashlea and her little one, Zoe, are headed home to pack for Skykomish, where her and her husband have a ski cabin.
You might think I'd be jealous. Even I think I'd be jealous. Looking around at my beautiful girls, the truth is I'm scared. While they're nesting, I'm simplifying. I went to Laguna Beach with a very distinct feeling: that is would turn me toward a relationship or it would turn me toward my other passion, work. Since that trip did not introduce me to my future husband, since I don't have the baby/man/ring scenario, it's time for some upward mobility. This is the window to be a career girl. I've been waking up every morning thinking, more drive, Sarah. Dig deep and find just a little more drive. I sound like a freaking fracking inspirational poster in a career counselor's office and it scares me silly. Can I trust myself? Is it okay to be okay with not having domestic bliss right now?
The group breaks and Emily invites me to sit in her car while she lulls Lu into a nap. I spontaneously take this time to burst into tears while simultaneously ducking eye contact with familiar faces passing by.
"What if I stop fitting in? What do I do if this isn't my group anymore?" I blubber.
Emily soothes my worries and reminds me that our friendships aren't built on superficial commonalities. She gives me the usual pep talk and I wonder what it's like to have a nut for a best friend. I leave feeling better, but still worried that even if my friends don't disown me, I'll always be the odd duck waddling to her own quirky tune.
For instance, I kind of like the idea of dating an older man. He doesn't have to be too much older, just old enough to confident when he walks into a room. Mature enough to be steady and stable and ready to deal with a handful like me and a circus like my family. I've even considered the idea of dating a man who has a child (or children). It's not that I'm lazy and want to skip childbirth (and the years of sleepless nights) it's just that I think my auntie skills could cross over into some pretty kick-ass stepmom moments. Growing up with step-parents, both of whom I love, leaves you with a really good idea on what you would do and what you would do differently.
Then there is the fucked up part: I can also picture myself telling a story to my friends with a sparkly ring on one hand, a baby on my hip and a husband at my side. It's so confusing! So, what do I do? I get rid of everything. If it's replaceable, it's gone. Why? I don't really know. I guess it sounded like a good idea at the time. A blank slate. Out with the old. Clearing bulky shit out of the way so I can clear a mental path to the future I want. If only I knew what that future looked like.