I Miss Brunch.

I saw them. Sitting outside in the August overcast cool. They had drinks, cocktails, beer, small plates. They were leaning back, relaxed. They were talking. Laughing. Sipping.

Brunch. 2pm on a Sunday.

I looked at them and thought that perhaps after brunch, they’d wander home, flip through a magazine, take a nap under a spinning ceiling fan, belly full and head a little swimmy from the mimosas. They’d wake up, maybe shop a bit for nothing in particular, and without a list or itinerary. They’d pick up a piece of fish or some scallops for dinner. They’d take a walk. They’d take a drive. They’d go pick some raspberries. They’d consider going to the movies and decide against it. They’d finish reading the Sunday paper or the latest New Yorker. Maybe that woman would research a new bathroom fixture, pluck her eyebrows. Maybe she’d spend some time sorting old photos or looking up new recipes, listening to a podcast of storytellers. Maybe she’d finally clean out that closet. Make some raspberry muffins. Fold some laundry. Lie in bed in the quiet and think.

I miss that.

I miss brunch.

I miss the me I used to get to be. I miss being untethered.

I would like to say that I am the same person I was before I had children. But I’m not. The very center of me has changed. I am tied to them and there is never a moment they aren’t with me. In me.

And now, even when I get that time, that time to myself, to enjoy lazy brunches, to browse bookshops, to just be, by myself, and to recreate those untethered times, I recognize they are just that — recreations. They are wonderful and restorative times, but they are recreations of a time and a me that no longer exist. And when my hour or two is over I slip off that costume of my former self and return to being me, the current edition.

Still, sometimes, I miss brunch. I’ve replaced it with unreasonable wake up calls, too much cold coffee, Cheerios on the floor. But I also get tiny toenails, perspectives on the world from those new to it, and the warmth and heaviness of small sleeping bodies laying, growing, breathing, against mine. And though sometimes I miss the way brunch used to be, the changed me wouldn’t trade. And I know that’s the way it is supposed to be.

New Normal

Turn and face the strange…

I’ve changed.

There, I’ve said it.

An e-mail from an old friend confirmed it.

I remember twenty years ago, two friends sat me down and said, “You’re different than you used to be.”  I was 14 and I can still feel the sting of it.  Because what they were saying, truly, was, “We used to like you more.”  Looking back, perhaps I had changed a little bit.  I had branched out in my friendships, entered high school, had a boyfriend/first love. But I didn’t really feel any different. I felt like the same old me, growing up a bit, and living my life.

Today’s e-mail from an old friend felt the same way.  He knew me when I was fun.  And I was fun.  Together we drank too much, spent too much, behaved wildly and irresponsibly – you know, basically we went through our early 20’s together.  I would wake up hungover on his couch, or in his roommate’s bed.  Together we took half-dressed flying midnight leaps into NZ’s Lake Taupo. We hit the city’s newest restaurants and ate, drank, and laughed lavishly.

Today he told me that he didn’t comment on my Facebook posts because he didn’t like reading the comments my mommy friends made – they made him sad.  I do post photos of my kids, and comments about kiddos and parenting but I try very hard to make sure they are less than half of my content. Because I don’t want to be that annoying mom who can’t talk about anything else. But who am I kidding, this kid business is pretty all-consuming, so sometimes it is hard for me to figure out anything else to talk about.  And I’m not sure why the mommy comments made him sad.  Probably because he is missing the old me – he’s said so much before.  Probably because he knows that he and his wife will start their own family soon, and he can see that it is all-consuming, and life-changing.  Probably because I was fun, interesting, lively and while I don’t feel all that different, I know that I am – at least a little. And probably because he is longing for the life that he used to lead – before responsibilities, before true adulthood – and I am a reminder of that.

But maybe the sting is because I know, on some level, he’s right.  I’m sure I read too far into his words, because I’m insecure about if and how I’ve changed.   But I don’t want him to feel like I’ve given up, given in, gotten tired, even though I feel that way sometimes.  I don’t want him to give up on me, because that may mean I have given up on myself.

I do know that my kids make me happy, my husband makes me happy.  They make me laugh, and they make my life and heart full.  But I do fear the day will come when I will look into the mirror and not recognize who I am, where I am, and why I am.  And when I look at myself, and say, “My, you’ve changed!” I just don’t want it to mean, “I used to like you more.”