Monday, January 18, 2010

Mind the Gap

Saturday night, I was invited to head into town and celebrate a birthday. I was torn. It is a long ride, ok, it isn't really that long, but we didn't have a sitter and so I would be going on my own. Six years ago, not going out with Dan wasn't an issue, but there I was, trying to come up with some good reason to convince myself that this night out just wasn't possible. That all I really wanted to do was change into comfy pants and pour a glass of wine and catch up with the DVR.

But in the end, I prepared to go out, which led me into another type of tailspin. Dan and I go out to dinner and it is never and issue what I will wear, but again, there I was in my room with four different shirts, two sweaters, trying to put together "a look" that didn't involve wind pants, Shape-Ups, or clogs. Not an easy feat. I had to try to make something of my already washed hair that had been under a hat all day; I had to put make-up on; I had to wear earrings. The first thing I tried on, was something, six years ago, that would have made sense on me. But I am just not that Kristen anymore. I am simple black turtleneck wearing mom with a carpool and library duty and playdates. I know the people at the dry cleaners and no longer have to give them my name, they know my children and on the rare occasion I go there without them, without fail they comment, "Where are the kids?" I make shopping lists and weekly menus; make sure that everyone has clean underwear, clean teeth, clean sheets. I make beds; I dust; I vacuum. What I don't do is go out and socialize without my husband anymore. So I found some comfort in a black t-shirt under my bright pink sweater, put on some ballet flats, glossed my lips and went out to try to tap into that other version of Kristen.

When I arrived to dinner, as it turned out, it was nice to reconnect with some people-- people who knew me before I was a mom, so the bright pink sweater didn't look all that weird to them. Even though I felt inexplicably awkward. What was more interesting, was as I was battling through all this inner turmoil of how to go back to being some former version of myself, there was a clear divide in the tables. Because there were about fourteen of us, the servers kindly pushed two tables together. One being rectangular and the other round making a very clear divide. The rectangular half was filled with friends of one half of the hosting couple while seated at the round table were friends from the other, friends from my former world, and these two tables that weren't really trying too hard to leave their comfort zone and mingle with the other half.

So while I was feeling slightly out of place with people I know and worked with, the bigger issue at hand was how does a group of adults meld two worlds?

It made my pink sweater dilemma seem slightly less significant.

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