Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Adventure Day 15 – It was the best of times, it was the worst of times

#28 – Have a ‘couple’ date with people we’ve never gotten to know before

That was the item I struck off of my list on Day 15. Wow, it sounds like it was an obligation, which certainly was not the case at all!

Since moving to the city Wally and I haven’t really acquired many, strike that – any, couple friends. We have lots of helter-skelter friends (like his group of peeps from school, and for me my home church people, a friend or two at school and now the people I’m getting to know at work), but not couple friends. I’m not sure what everyone else’s experiences are but for us, not having kids has definitely put us into a whole other sect of people.

You see when we were first married meeting new couples to hang out with was pretty easy because they were all getting married too, so we all had loads in common. I’d say we had at least 3 or 4 sets of couples that we could hang out and have fun with. And then it happened … The one thing that no one could seem to avoid. They all had kids. This wouldn’t have been a problem for us as we were really expecting to be in their situation soon too. However, time kept passing by and our ‘situation’ never turned into their ‘situation’.

You see we had every intention of joining the parenting ranks soon after we married, I think I’ve mentioned how that changed, the thing is our friends’ lives didn’t – they all kept reproducing (and some still are) without regard to our needs – how dare they. Didn’t they know we needed them? Didn’t they know we no longer related to their lives? Didn’t they get that we weren’t really interested in having segmented conversations, interrupted game nights and evenings that only further enlightened us on how we weren’t going to parent? No, they were oblivious. And we were selfish.

Now, let me clarify something. Wally and I still have friends that have kids, we would never actually cut people off for this reason (well … no we wouldn’t), but in the past 2 ½ years it has become glaringly obvious that we are living very different lives than our friends with kids. Initially I was NOT ok with this fact. When our friends that got married after us began their little families I really struggled watching them get to experience the miracle of life, mom’s staying home raising their children while I was out scrubbing other people toilets to make ends meet. Our friends were picking out baby names, taking kiddos to preschool and setting up education savings plans while Wally and I were applying to College. Something seemed very wrong with this picture.

It took me a couple of years to truly accept (and now completely LOVE) the place our life was going and now that I do I wouldn’t change a thing. Well maybe one thing … where do you find good friends that you mesh with, who understand where you’re at and can stand with you rather than watch you? Well, to be honest I don’t’ have the answer for this, all I can say is that you have to be open and sometimes step out and make the first move – kind of like dating.

This is where #28 comes in. As I mentioned before finding a couple to ‘date’ isn’t easy. In fact it’s twice as difficult than regular dating, as there are twice as many personalities involved, not to mention the fact that each has to tolerate the mix of 3 other people at the same time – it’s very complex. Generally it’s the ladies who get along and chat, while the gents go do something (or watch something) together. However for #28 I stepped out a bit and took a risk. The people we invited over for a ‘couple’ date I knew but Wally didn’t, and really I didn’t know the gallie very much at all. I invited Bro from work and his wife Smiles. At first I wasn’t sure if I could do it. I find crossing work and personal life weird, who wants to make work awkward with whatever info you’ve accidentally let out the night before? (And I have to admit this I do often). Also, Smiles had interviewed me for my current job and as far as I knew she would be doing it again in the future for whatever contracts that arose, isn’t it weird to be yourself with someone you wouldn’t be yourself with later? I’m just not that kind of a person. Once you get to know me there’s no going back, no faking it, no lying about how you are – I’m me, like it or leave it.

However this time I made the exception. In part because, as I mentioned in Day 12, I had felt that our work team had a ‘family feel’ with no need to fake things and I was accepted. Also because I’d heard rumors that Smiles was a genuinely smiley person, not the fake kind - I like that. Those two things made it ok for me to safely pursue this possible friendship. (It also didn’t hurt that Bro and Smiles had been married for 6 years, were kidless and in a similar situation as Wally and I – wanting kids, yet glad for how things have turned out. Oh, and Bro had a PS3 like Wally).

Once I’d made my list I couldn’t wait to make the invite (actually I think we talked about getting together sooner but it just hadn’t happened). We made a date and last night was it. They came over for dinner and some games. As always the beginning was a bit quiet and awkward (I never let that go on for long), but as we hung in there we chatted along and shared more of each of our own stories. It was going very and I was thinking ‘Yay!! kidless friends with our kind of take on life – does it get any better?!’

I soon found out that it does. How you ask? Well about halfway through our evening we were chatting and Smiles looks at me rather anxiously (probably after I’d remarked about how great it was to have new friends that ‘got it’) and said something about having to tell us something. I’m thinking ‘This is weird. This is only our first date, how could she possibly have anything to tell us that she’d be nervous to share?’ I knew it had to be something big. To be honest I was sure it was going to be ‘We’re pregnant!’ then I would have had to hate them and act all happy on the outside – I hate acting.

Smiles knew this was what I was thinking, as she and Bro had experienced the same anticipation from people as Wally and I had when sharing any exciting news with others (that never was about babies). She quickly spit it out, ‘We’re moving at the end of the month. I got an awesome job as a nanny …’ I’m not really sure of her exact words as I tuned them out after a while. I was stunned, shocked and seriously trying not to cry – my reaction actually surprised myself. ‘What?!!’ I thought. ‘You can’t, it’s our first date. We like you; you are the perfect people for us, there aren’t any others out there you know?! Do you realize how hard it is to find fun kidless people who actually like kids but don’t go to them to fill their every inner need? Seriously, the job cannot be that perfect!’

Ok so my reaction was a little on the selfish side (ok a lot on the selfish side). And it wasn’t entirely about finding our perfect couple friends. Admittedly, just as much of it (maybe more) was to do with my newly acquired family at work, my new brotherly type. Bro is the responsible, level headed, calm one who everyone likes and respects. Our house at work supports two fellows that need good male role models, our house has (had) two and now we were going to be down to one (full time anyways). How could this happen? It really does feel like a family being tugged apart.

Don’t get me wrong I am truly happy for our new friends and their adventures. The fact that they have sold their home and almost everything in it to follow dreams and whatever else God has for them inspires me completely to keep running after life, but it’s so hard to let go at the same time. I really cannot truly rationalize why I feel so at a loss when I think of my new friends leaving, but I do. It’s funny, I always pride myself on being able to let go of people without a problem because I know God’s never going to stop moving in life and we should always be prepared to say good bye – whether it’s through death or change. Why is it that this situation seems so difficult then? Why do I feel like the creepiest person on earth for getting so attached so quickly to people many would classify as strangers?

How would you feel if you were looking for a very specific thing? Let’s say the perfect little black dress (for the ladies) or that one of a kind movie you loved but have never been able to find (for the men - I’m grasping here)? Once you find it you know it immediately. You don’t have to wear it for days to see if it’s ‘right’, or rip it out of the box immediately to make sure, you just know the second you find it that it’s what you are looking for. I guess that’s how I feel about Smiles and Bro.

It’s not that we don’t have lots of friends (especially since moving and expanding our life), but it’s rare to find couple friends that you can ‘click’ with. Now I have to stop myself and say. As couple friends we only met once and really there wasn’t this miraculous clicking or anything like I may be making it sound. But there was potential and hope. And I have to admit that as I grow older in life I’m learning that it’s rare to find people that share the same kind of take on life as I do (as Wally and I do) and sometimes that’s hard. However, I’m also learning that you have always got to leave yourself open to meeting new people too because if you constantly look for ones that fit your mold, timing and surroundings you will indeed miss out on some great travel opportunities.

We plan on visiting our new friends in their new city for sure! (They aren’t getting rid of us that easily!)


Wally said...

I love it when you use the word "peeps".

Anonymous said...

Wow, I could have written this post myself, almost word for word! I love the way you write, and I had some good chuckles (your reproducing friends?) while reading it.
My husband and I have found it really hard too because EVERYONE has kids! Even though we both LOVE kids, we find it hard to get used to having other people'd kids around.
Aside- NONE of this applies to nieces and nephews. For some reason, the fact that we're related (and we can tell them what to do) makes a HUGE difference, and we both love to spend as much time as possible with our families.
Our closest couple friends moved away last year and hearing that they were moving was some of the worst news we've ever heard in our lives. We still miss them. Sad times, so I can feel your pain a little!
I am glad that you had one really great evening though and that you're going to keep in touch :)
Sorry I write such long comments. I need to start my own blog! JK.
Thanks again for another honest and interesting post!
Love Bex

Anonymous said...

Girl, you know that you have a special place in my heart already. Talk about saying things straight up! Well you definitely know how to do that and man oh man I couldn't have expressed those thoughts and feelings as clearly!!!!!

This isn't the end...

Love ya!!



Eva said...

Thanks Smiles