Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Through the looking glass

There are few things as sobering as seeing what you think you want and realizing that you’re not ready for it yet. We went to a BBQ at Magpie’s house yesterday. The food was great, the people were nice and the kids—many, many kids, it seemed-- were on their best behavior. At one point the sun got too strong and we migrated back into the air conditioning, away from the epicenter of kid activity. I admit I was a little shellshocked by the energy of the under-8 set, but it had more to do with me than with the kids. I did, however, fall in love with a little girl whose tiny black pigtails and big eyes made her look like a baby panda.Today another friend told me that shellshocked is a normal reaction for someone who’s not a parent, but it still made me wonder if I’m suited for the job.

Lunchboy wasn’t shellshocked at all. He was in a mood but if anything, being around kids made his mood better. He’s not ready, either, but he seems less intimidated by the idea than I am.

The other day he suggested that we get on a single insurance policy when our company does open enrollment in the fall. Every week, every day, our lives become more intertwined. But I still can’t give in to the momentum, not really. We take steps toward a larger commitment—putting all three cats’ records under one name at the vet’s office, linking our bank accounts, making serious, joint decisions about job-related issues. Encouraging? Yes. In the back of my mind, though, there’s still the voice that says, “How hard will it be to untangle these connections if it comes down to it?” It’s a simple difference in approach, one that’s been apparent from the very beginning, when he was more comfortable making the forward-looking statements than I was. Again, he’s comfortable taking the slow, deliberate steps and I’m uncomfortable skipping ahead past where we are. I’m unwilling to get too entangled before we’ve taken the larger step, to put that much on the line yet even though I’ve invested so much already. It has nothing to do with ultimatums or pressure to move forward. It’s just that once you’ve been through the untangling, you don’t ever want to do it again, not if you can help it. LC understood. Chick lit doesn’t hold a candle to real friends.

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