7.3.07

I never saw that coming.

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.

7 comments:

  1. And shy, average, brainy Debbie was going to be a teacher of French Immersion or some such thing. Never taught French, never taught for more than one year, aside from a few months of subbing, and now is married and has 2 kids and 2 cats and stays at home, aside from delivering papers at o'dark-thirty in the morning. Makes her own jam, has sewed clothes for herself and her kids...and yes, knows that Carrien has siblings. LOL

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  2. LOL!! Isn't that the truth? Never in a million years did I aspire to become a wife and mother, and yet I wouldn't want to be doing ANYTHING else at this point in my life.

    It is so strange...I almost feel like I was cheated (out of the skills I am learning the hard way). I don't think I would have even accepted the fact of my life right now - I can even remember arguing with my then-boyfriend, now-husband about splitting childcare down the center - but now I guard that responsibility with almost-jealousy.

    5 years ago, when my mother would say, "So-and-so is pregnant", I would wonder (and say), "Why would they want to do that??" - but now pieces of me wish we would have started sooner.

    If somebody had said, "what do you want to be when you grow up?", I wouldn't have even thought to have said Homemaker (and would have probably scorned the girl who did)...and yet, I am celebrating the fact that I JUST got to quit my PT job.

    I think it is a paradox of American culture, industrialization, feminism, and the post-modern life all mixed up together. It is a big jumble of what-caused-what, but they are all definitely inter-related. Without a doubt.

    (I've obviously been thinking about this a lot recently. =)

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  3. a. borealis- I know exactly what you mean.

    Deb-when did you start sewing?

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  4. You must be hallucinating. I have not ever touched a cigarette or spaced out in my life. Okay. Maybe once or twice. I love you, you sweetheart.

    By the way, I meant to email you right away, but that comment you left for me the other day was SO encouraging. You don't even know how timely it was. And it's funny, because I've been thinking a lot about those times. Obviously.

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  5. Hi there,
    I pop by here every once in awhile, and i always enjoy what you write.
    Thanks.
    Just had to post,as this is just so bang on.
    Of course the first of my friends to get married was the one who kept stating how she would be the LAST of us to get married - the funny thing is she also had twins years before any of the rest of got married. After she got married she started doing the whole homemade jam and bread thing too. We all thought she was quite amazing.

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  6. SO great to see you on Monday Carrien. I inspired a blog woohoo ;)

    Now that im moving to Africa sadly all my canned jam is going to be donated to good homes. But fear not, im bringing some empty jars to make use of all those new fresh foreign fruits :)

    And you inspire me with your home schooling. I may make jam and cinnamon buns and sew, etc, but i cant do that. At least not yet :P

    Love Chantelle

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  7. Hey Carrien. Goes to show how we don't always know each other so well. I'd been dabbling in sewing since I was a kid...nights of insomnia would bring forth hand-sewn Barbie clothes...but I started sewing the occasional dress and such for myself and Daughter (not being able to afford new) back arooooooound 2001, just after Daughter was born and the in-laws bought me a sewing machine all my own. :) I also knit blankets and cross stitch like a madwoman. :) Just don't ask me to crochet, knit anything other than a rectangle, or do that needlepoint stuff that doesn't involve an X. :-D

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