When does it hit you that the life that you are living now is different from the life that you once had – maybe one year, two years, five years ago? Maybe ten. We all go through this, I’m sure, in the process of growing up and finding that our priorities, lifestyle, people around us change. I can’t speak for every woman who is now a mother. I don’t know if as a collective we all feel that life is different. But I do. It’s different for me.
I was driving on a Saturday afternoon in the summertime, BABY in the car seat behind me. I had the window cracked just a little bit – more and tissue paper peaking out of the gift bag on my passenger seat would have been disturbed. I was flipping through songs on the children’s CD that played through the speakers. Wheels on the Bus? Old MacDonald? We were on our way to a children’s birthday party. I was looking forward to it more than she was.
My cell started to ring and I reached into my bag to get it. I looked at the Caller ID. It was a close friend in Miami. Before I even answered the phone, my life flashed before my eyes. I thought about what she would be doing on her weekend (young, single, having lots of fun) and what I used to do (young, single, having an ok amount of fun) and how that wasn’t very long ago. And now the highlight of my weekend – ok of the month, let’s be honest here – was going to a children’s party and listening to kids music on the way there.
Today we had another children’s birthday party that I’d have to admit was the highlight of not only the day but the month. Now BABY and I sing along to Wheels on the Bus and Old MacDonald together – it’s not just me. I’ve settled into the new priorities, lifestyle and people around me. But the flashbacks still surface. And it happened again today. Long after the party was over. Long after the loot bag was played with, the nap was complete, and dinner and bath and bed were behind us.
In a casual conversation over text I asked a friend what they were doing tonight. “Nothing much, prob play some cards with the boys.” Flash! Flash to the set of poker chips in a box somewhere, the felt table cover that I used during poker nights at my place, the shot glasses that made an appearance by the end of it all. Flash to the marathon Texas Hold’ Em tournament at a cottage for the weekend. Flash to the night that I cleaned up at Black Jack, flash to the casino games I played in the Dominican with an ex boyfriend, flash to the night I went All-In in strip poker. End with the realization that it changed so fast, so suddenly. End with the realization that I haven’t even shuffled a deck of cards since I (knew I) was pregnant. I forgot that somewhere outside my life, with the baby, and the kids party and the Wheels on the Bus, that people still did that.
Is that strange?
If you’ve read to this point, I don’t want you to think that I was ultra reckless. But I didn’t have much of a transition from being the person I was then to the mother I am now. I was in my twenties, living in downtown Toronto, so in love with my boyfriend but also with a healthy social life. I was investing in my career but still meeting friends at the Thursday happy hour. It was about me. It was about freedom and independence. And then boom. Like the Road Runner barreling into a hard brick wall, life changed. There was no playing house with a new husband. No figuring out that we didn’t like the same colour towels, or turkey bacon or the thermostat at 75. No babying each other before an actual baby. No practice puppy. Just the very real positive pregnancy test, and everything else that comes after that.
I can’t help be sobered by the thought of then and now. My life.