May 14, 2008


Yesterday I had a really interesting experience. We had our final co-op preschool parent meeting last night and afterward went out for drinks as a group. I was remarking about how sad it is that this was the extent of my social life when once upon a time (pre-kids) I used to go out a lot. Not that I don't enjoy going out with the moms from preschool but aside from that I haven't been to a bar in who knows how long. The conversations often center around our kids and parenting issues. A couple of the moms were talking about what it might be like when our children start driving (very scary) someday. I was talking about how when I was in high school I would go out with my girlfriends dancing a lot of nights and there was often drinking and driving. I was not allowed to drive so I was never the driver but it's really scary for me to think of my own child doing things like that (Evie in particular) because it's so unsafe.

When I go out with the girls and start drinking I will often go outside for a cigarette (yes, yes I know). So I went out with one of the moms and we're standing outside the bar. A tall thin black man quickly comes up the hill in gigantic strides and asks us for a cigarette. He's wearing yellow raincoat and a floppy hat that covers some of his face but he's got a distinctive look and in those few seconds I realize with great surprise that it is a friend I used to go dancing with that I hadn't seen in almost 25 years! We catch up a bit and he is telling me how he's still striving to make it in the world as a fashion designer and that he's battled depression. I simply remark that life can be hard without elaborating. And I consider telling him about Ainsley but I don't because his life seems so different from the direction mine has taken and he's clearly fixated on his own struggles. But I've been thinking about it and wish I had. The chances of running into him in such a way are so unlikely. To think that all the stars had to align just perfectly for that to happen. We both had remarked that there must have been some reason for that to have happened. But what?

I think that in our society it's easy to get lost. We hope for fantastic things to happen and if our life turns out to be more ordinary than we hoped it can leave us with a sense of failure and even depression. Having Ainsley has required that I examine my own life and recognize that it is taking a different path than I would have ever imagined. But it is okay. Some paths are now closing for me but others are opening. And there is joy to be had no matter your circumstance. I hope it's not arrogant to hope that some people will read Ainsley's blog and realize that perhaps they can reexamine their own situation in life and find ways to be thankful for what they do have. I wish that I had shared it with him. Perhaps he wouldn't have gotten anything out of it but just maybe he would have. I gave him my phone number and hope that he will call and I will have another chance.

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