Yesterday I realized that this year marks my half-way point for parenting. I've been doing it for the past 15+ years and have another 15 to go. Another 15 years will put my littlest one at 22, hopefully a college graduate. It'll put me at 56, hopefully just shy of retirement.
I don't know if I'm depressed or happy about this. When you signed up for parenting, did you ever think about how long you'd be doing it? I didn't. I thought 18 years, which seemed like an eternity when I had my first at the ripe age of 25.
There have been several instances where I've repeated my calculations to unsuspecting parents at the elementary school, part bragging, part lamenting the fact that I will be at my elementary school for 16 consecutive years. 16. I think it's pretty close to a record. I know others that have had more years, but not consecutively.
Knowing I've spent the last 12 years tied to this school, it was uncomfortable to realize that I knew not a single face in the crowd on the playground. There were plenty of parents and plenty of children, I'm sure there would have been names I recognized had I been told, but no one I know. The discomfort stems from a few different things.
One is the knowledge that part of my disconnect is my own doing. I work full-time and chose to protect some sense of sanity by eliminating volunteer efforts around the schools. Between the time commitment and the catty women entrenched, I had enough - 12 years' worth of enough.
I also am tremendously guilty at times. Those jokes people make about the differences between the first, second and then third - they've rang mostly true for me. Henry is getting less attention than the first two but I'm not sure how to do it differently.
Another piece of the discomfort is that I've never been part of the Cool Kids Club. (See note above about catty women.) I wasn't in high school. In college it was only with the guys and only because I could drink my weight in beer. I haven't been in the working world either. I can be political to a point and then I call it like I see it. And catty women don't like that. While I'm fine with that, I have my true friends, it still sometimes stings when I think about it.
Sometimes I see the CKC here in the blogosphere. I've connected with a few people but one look at my stats and Twitter followers and it's plain to see that I've not risen to the CKC status. I'm okay with this even if it is slightly painful. Again, I have a few good friends. That's what I need and that's what matters.
Here's to the next 15 years. I hope my youngest isn't disappointed about my lack of involvement. I think I will try to volunteer somewhere. You really have to do it in the elementary years. Middle school affords very little opportunity and there's virtually none in high school. Maybe I'll make a friend or two. He needs it. Maybe I do too.