Sunday, June 14, 2009

how did I get here? (June 2008)

So. This all feels a little played at this point. You know. Unlikely parent finds herself parenting anyway and in a constant state of navel-gazing amazement at her ability to listen to Sleater Kinney while driving the kids to preschool in the Mommy-Mazda. Been. Done.

And yet, I'm compelled to write about it anyway. Who doesn't love a good navel gaze, after all?

I used to participate in an online parenting community with the word "hip" in the title. (And whenever someone didn't like what was going on, invariably they'd huff off with a caustic "I guess I'm not HIP like the rest of you.") Now I'm in this community, associated with "alterna-" and "hipster" parenting. Although I'm actually pretty ordinary, sitting here in my mom-shorts, SAHMing it up, volunteering at the kids' preschools, being all married and Target-shopping and middle classy. I don't even have a tattoo.

And from what I can tell, a lot of my fellow community members see themselves that way too. Often we're talking the same old shop talk that all parents have, only with more Simpsons references. So what makes it different?

For me, it's this:

This incredibly mainstream lifestyle I'm living was never inevitable in my mind. I never assumed this future or aspired towards it. Didn't quite believe I was...worthy of it somehow.

My single years were long and delicious, sometimes exhilarating, sometimes downright degrading. It was "Sex and the City" with Birks instead of Manolos, weed and cheap pitchers of Yuengling instead of cosmos, and an ever-changing rotation of friends and drinking buddies as folks moved in and out of Philadelphia toward some shinier destination.

It was the nineties and I was perfecting a sassy, acerbic persona. You know, to go with my glasses. I was Rhoda. Daria. Janeane Garofalo. But underneath the smirk I was more like Wiggle-Puppy, squirming and squealing with unspecified joy and neediness.

I have totes full of old spiral-bound journals chronicling this time period, and I hope to write about some of the more hilarious adventures here. There were some good ones.

But it all came to a euphoric end when I met Mr. Black at a party one night and we fell into a mutual swoon of blissful slacker couplehood. He became a permanent fixture on my ugly plaid couch. We traded Dirty Frank's for the Moosewood Cookbook; we'd spend our weekend nights cooking and watching movies, our weekend days having sex and sleeping and having sex again. And sleeping.

Ah, youth. Yeah, it's over. And it had the happiest of happy endings. Followed Mr. Black to Seattle, started a whole new series of adventures, got married, had two amazing children. And truly, I am incredibly happy. But I'm not quite ready to let go of the old dippy 20something identity just yet. I can see around the corner; we're grown-ups, getting over whatever sillly Gen-X prejudices we may have had toward a mainstream lifestyle. Because we're simply happy. And this is definitely where I want to be.

But I still need to keep in touch with my inner-20s-girl. Because she's still me...being too goofy on the playgrounds for the other moms, slacking off my fundraising duties for the preschool, faced with uncomfortable one-way never-gonna-act-on-it crushes. I'm still smirking jadedly and swirling joyfully with equal sincerity. No spiral notebooks this time, though.

So. Blogging. This will be fun...

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