You would think that by a particular age (say, forty-five), you might have found your niche. You’d have People, a circle of friends that would open and admit you without question and understand you without cross-examination. You’d look into faces that would reflect your own age, your own story, your own world.
I mean, it seems like other people have found their tribes. They know how they fit in. They don’t stare at themselves in the mirror and wonder if they’ll ever really, truly fit in. They aren’t too old or too young or too fat or too quiet or too busy to have friends like them. They find themselves in a crowd of people and they blend in . They don’t have to explain or wonder.
Or maybe I’ve idealized other people’s realities. Am I making stuff up? Is everyone having parties that I’m not welcome to join? Has everyone joined hands in a wide-ranging network that excludes me?
Furthermore, will I ever stop thinking I’m the only one who isn’t invited?
Do I have a group?
When I was young, I was pretty grown up. I didn’t have time for frivolity. I couldn’t see the point in dances and football games and gossiping about boys. I found safety in the school library. I was just biding my time until I could be an adult.
When I was a bride, all I wanted was to be a mother like my peers. Instead, I buried my 47-year old father. Infertility blocked the door to motherhood for years.
When I finally became a mother, I was an old mother. The oldest kindergarten mother . . . all the other mothers were so young. And that was when my now-16-year old boys were five. I am definitely the old mom now, finding myself around mothers who are young enough to be my daughters. It’s weird. I forget that they must think I’m ancient.
My peers have children in college and I have a daughter in first grade.
I just never quite fit in. I’ve always been out of sync, out of step. I’ve never had any rhythm, really.
I’m funny. I’m a good listener. I can make small talk.
So why does it bother me that I don’t have an entourage . . . a posse . . . a group of my own?
I’ll let you know if I ever figure it out. Meanwhile, I’m just going to assume this post was written by my inner-ten-year-old.