One evening, my children and I visited an orchid specialist, which is really a blog post in itself, but anyway, the conversation between the shopkeeper and me went the way it often does when I make a new acquaintance: food and family.
"Where's your favorite restaurant?" he asked.
"Depends on what I like to order," I said, and then elaborated.
"So what restaurant do you go to... to be social?"
"Social? I don't have a social life."
"You don't have a social life?"
pointed to my children who were sucking on mints, swinging their legs
on a settee in the shop, and toying with orchid blossoms they had been
given. "That's my social life."
I think it was Barbara
Walters who once said that there exists family, career, and a social
life, but you cannot have all three; you must choose two. I once
resented the truth of this and wondered what I was missing socially, but
as my children have grown older, I have become better at embracing time
with them for the gift it really is. Time is fleeting. We are creating
memories. We still have our frustrations though.
week, after comical drills about the tennis court, we admired the
lightening bugs flitting about, and then dawdled home hand-in-hand.
Houses slipped into silhouettes against a dimming sky and the air held
the magic of almost-summer... but then the kids' joking and chatter
morphed into crabbing and arguing, an obvious signal for bedtime. I sent
them in to start baths, planning to take a few minutes of solace before
the usual routine of monitoring and tucking in. The youngest suddenly
appeared naked on the front porch to hotly voice a bitter complaint
about his sister. He made no sense whatsoever. I scratched my head a
minute and thought how nice it would be to have a glass of wine at the
restaurant around the corner... with someone who wasn't six years old,
irrational, naked, and non-compliant.
I often say that
my social life is at the office, and I think for many of us, that's
true. I have a group of good women friends there-- mostly mothers like
myself, some of whom have raised children under extraordinary
circumstances and pressures. The peace and wisdom they give me is
priceless, and I find that work provides a sense of relief rather than
duress because of that. It's been a wonderful cure for the isolation I
felt in a new state four years ago, and besides-- no one has ever shown
up at my cube naked and irrational. :)