So last night I had dinner with The Friend Who Unintentionally Makes Me Feel My Life is Shit (or FWUMMFMLS for short). For obvious reasons I have not felt very jealous of her lately, which I consider a personal triumph. I do recognize jealousy is a bad thing, and is especially cruel when it comes between friends. I also recognize my jealousy of her is entirely my problem and has nothing to do with her – she’s just living her life, and by the way being a good friend to me. “Now that I’m pregnant” (ha ha) I feel blessed enough that I’ve let a lot of my jealousy of her go, which has been great. But I did feel a little twinge last night, and I’ll tell you about it.
She is now actively trying to get pregnant, and I’ve been helping as best I can – recommending books and web sites, helping her chart, etc. She is 37. And I believe that like all things in her life, an easy pregnancy will probably fall in her lap in the next couple of months. And yet I find myself secretly wishing she’d at least have some disappointment, some anguish about it. Oh, I absolutely want her to have a healthy baby – but I wish that for once something would be at least *kind of* a struggle for her. Is that wrong? Yes, I know it is. And yet.
I try to wipe out these thoughts with the reminder that it will be fun if she has a baby right after me, that we can raise our kids together, help each other with childcare, it will be a blast, come on! But then I think about all the advantages her kid will have that mine won’t. First, a father. And that breaks my heart more than I care to admit. Then, money, and lots of it. Her kid will have private schools, tons of activities, travel, camps, everything he/she desires. A college fund. My kid won’t have any of those things. And I recognize that these are just “things”, and it’s not what you have but who you have, right? And I’ve been marginally poor most of my life, and long ago learned when you’re poor you just have to get creative. And that’s fine. But…is it ok to admit it stings a little when I think how much easier it’s going to be for her to raise her kid than it will be for me, just because of finances? Money is always my #1 worry, and I expect this to ramp up to epic proportions when I have a kid. I dread the thought of constantly worrying how we’re going to make it. But, I chose all this. I choose to run my own business which is very unstable, I chose to have a kid on my own. You get what you ask for. But I asked for a rich husband, too, and never got one. And yet she did. And so our lives as parents are going to be dramatically different.
Still…I comfort myself with the thought that that’s her path and this is mine. And I like my path. Sure, I’ll worry about money – but that’s my choice, too. I can choose to not worry about it; worrying isn’t going to help, after all. And my bills are paid, and I have everything I need. That’s enough, isn’t it? I get to be home with my kid all day which is huge and a gift I do not take for granted. And we’ll have loving family and a huge dance community to help and be a part of our lives. We’ll have so many wonderful things in our lives, none of which cost anything. And my kid will just be different. I’m not saying better, just different. They are very career-college-winning-best of everything kind of people. I’m very not. So I hope my kid never feels like he has to impress me with accomplishments but that he can just be who he is.
I remember once in school we were read a story about someone who was given a choice of a diamond necklace and the pretty carved wooden box it came in, and we were asked which choice we would make. I was the only one in the class who said I’d take the box. “What am I going to do with a diamond necklace?” I asked. Now a box, that I can use.