Have you ever had one of those moments when you stop and look at yourself, or someone else and sort of mentally compare what they are like now with how they were, say 10 years ago? Every so often I feel a little shocked as I survey the changes that some of my long time friends have gone through over the years as they become mothers. It’s as though my teenage self pops her head out to look around and exclaims, “What the heck?”
There was the time I was in my best friend’s house after a couple years absence and asked her who gave her all the canned jams I spotted in her pantry. “Oh I did that.” She replied. WHAT! This is the girl whose entire gourmet repertoire in high school was burned grilled cheese and mac’n’cheese spirals, and sandwiches. This is the girl in whose closet I sat in the 3rd grade reading Trixie Beldon books together racing to see who could finish the page first. She was usually a sentence ahead. This was the girl who would never get married, never have children, who claimed to not have a domestic bone in her body, who ended up beating the rest of us down the aisle. Now she makes her own jam and cinnamon buns from scratch.
Another friend was the height of cool and stylish when I met her. She wore designer shoes, her outfits were always perfectly coordinated. She was always hip and super pretty, lecturing the rest of us on our style transgressions. Imagine my surprise when she had a spur of the moment wedding, in a borrowed wedding dress that didn’t quite fit and less than a year later was talking to me about finding cloth diapers and the home birth she was planning. Huh?
I have another friend who didn’t like children when I first met her. They made her nervous and uncomfortable and she wasn’t quite sure what to do with them. Now she has two of her own, natural births, breastfed both of them. She’s a great mom. She’s learned to sew beautiful things. The mind boggles sometimes at the transformation a few short years can produce.
Then there was another friend. The blogging world knows her as Journey Mama. We met when she was 18. She was this slender, dreamy, fragile looking girl who made beautiful art and poetry, who liked to smoke, a lot, who hung out in coffee shops with skater guys and talked about silly and wonderful things and spaced out often. Now she has 3 gorgeous children, and does things that are amazing to me like keeping track of the finances for an entire ministry. She has so much in her hands and she manages it all well. (Don’t believe what she tells you, she really does do a good job.) And she knits.
I guess what’s fascinating about it to me is that these are the kinds of things I associate with my grandmother’s not with my friends. None of us talked about becoming homemakers, none of us cared really about acquiring the skills it takes to run a household, or raise children, and yet here we are, and we have done just that. Somehow we have become homemakers, almost in spite of ourselves. It’s totally normal and yet totally weird at the same time.