I looked through our photo albums recently. At the pictures, side by side, that document our family's life. I saw Diva's first real smile, and the fit Dancer threw when we tried to make her wear shoes. Every gummy grin and family snuggle right there - it was amazing.
But it also brought a sense of loss.
Who is that girl? I wondered. When did she....fade?
Because that is what it feels like - like I faded, slowly. Until I am a mere shadow of who I thought I would be, who I was.
With my birthday fast approaching, the feeling comes over me more often. As I watch my friends on Facebook, call and email some, lose track of others...I see how different their lives are and have been from mine.
While they milked every drop of life from the college experience, I got married.
And while they traveled the country, and some the world, I had children.
Then, when they settled in with jobs and started to think about getting married...I started burying children.
All I ever wanted was to have a family. In fact, I was the person (informally) voted most likely to drive a minivan in High School. And to be a soccer mom. I took quite a bit of teasing for that.
Do not misunderstand me. I do not regret my choices. I would not trade my life for theirs. I think that just the disparity of where they are - and where I am - just hits me sometimes. Like the last decade aged me so much more than it did them.That somehow they escaped our twenties with more youthful optimism intact.
I don't know if that will make sense to anyone but me! But, it's true. I don't envy them their trips or parties or lives. I envy that sense of unshakable confidence that they still seem to have. And, I begin to see that it is not shocking that there is little common ground there anymore.
The people who I count among my closest friends, the ones who know me...they are like me. Maybe not in faith, or color, or status - but we find each other and there is a bond. There is a look in their eyes that I recognize, having seen it in the mirror. I'm not sure what that says about the human experience...maybe just that we need to really see each other. Maybe even really share with one another. That way, we can love one another more fully, with more truth.