So. I just got off the phone with my first grade teacher. Nevermind how I came to be on the phone with my first grade teacher 1,000 miles away and thirteen years later in the first place-- I just was. And after exchanging about five minutes of catching up (yes, she's still married to that firefighter, no, I haven't gotten much taller) I hung up feeling warmly nostalgic and, truth be told, more than a little bit embarrassed.
Everything's relative, right? So if I was from some little podunk town in Kentucky where neither of my parents got much past tenth grade and everyone became a grandparent by 35, my being married and a mother at 20 with a quarter of a college degree under my belt and all of my teeth would be nothing to sneeze at. Hell, I might even be considered the "together" one in my family. But when all you're life you've been the smart one, the golden child, the award winner, the (insert braggy-type adjective here), the kid that everyone just knows is going to do something, be someone.... well marriage and motherhood just isn't all that impressive. Worse than that, it's downright disappointing. Sure, I knew my parents would be disappointed. I was ready for that. But what I wasn't ready for was the queasy feeling that I get every time I have to talk to somebody I haven't seen in awhile. Every high school friend, every out of touch cousin,
the guy at the dry cleaners, my old agent, and, yes, even my first grade teacher.
It's like regardless of how happy I am (very) or how sure I am in the decisions I've made (completely), I feel like all they see is a whole lot of wasted potential. Maybe it's just me projecting how I feel on some level onto everyone else, I don't know. But either way I still can't bring myself to get over it and introduce either the Mister or the Spawn with the wholehearted enthusiasm and pride that I really feel. There's always the traces of an embarrassed smile playing on my lips when I do, and the rush of justification and reassurances that follow along right after. People probably think the Spawn's name is "Ian-Rhys-it's-definitely-not-where-I-saw-myself-this-soon-but-I'm-really-really-happy-I-swear-and -did-I-mention-that-I'm-actually-married-to-his-father-too?"
Anyway, I really am fantastically happy and I really am proud of myself for stepping up to the plate and taking on all these new roles with all the confidence and enthusiasm I could muster. I just want to know how long it will be until I stop feeling the urge to apologize to everyone for being something other than what they expected.
I don't know. I'm working on it.