Yesterday morning, my good friend Amanda decided to join us on our old dude bike ride around the bay. It had been a while since we’d seen each other, so we mostly sequestered ourselves from the group so that we could catch up.
During the course of our ride, we decided that Amanda would ride the 50-mile Tour de Cure with me this year, which leaves Doug free to ride the 100-miles with my Dad, which left both men more excited about bike-riding than I even could have imagined. And it will be good for me to have someone at my own pace and endurance level to train with. (“I don’t really shift gears,” Amanda said, “because I forget they’re there, and because it kind of scares me.” To which Doug looked back at us and said, “Yeah. You two are going to be just fine.”)
Toward the end of the ride, each week, we pass a “Mommy and Me” exercise class. About 30 women gather with their strollers and work out together; I’ve seen them doing lunges, lifting small weights, running relays with teddy bears so that they can stop and say hi to their babies on each lap.
Yesterday, as we rounded the bend and saw the circle of strollers, Amanda started telling me how her husband sees classes like that – or those trendy boot camp classes – and makes fun of them. “I mean, it’s such a cash cow,” she said. “They’re taking advantage of people who are desperate.”
I laughed. “I was just going to tell you not to ever let me join one of those groups. But, I have to warn you. Dawn said she always vowed not to be one of those moms either, and now she totally is one of those moms, who goes to Mommy & Me, and those matinee movies for people with babies. So she likes to tell me, ‘Just you wait, sister.'”
“No way,” Amanda said. “We’ll start our own group. And we’ll interview people before we let them in.”
“Oh, you scrapbook? You’re out.”
“Yeah, we’ll only do cool things.”
“…Like, bring your baby to happy hour?” It was all I could think of.
“Yeah. That’d probably be bad. But I mean, you can still have a kid and be yourself.” She referenced a mutual friend who’s brought her baby to Rocky Horror and renaissance events. “When I hang out with Kate now, it’s not like she’s talking about diapers. She’s still Kate; she just has a baby on her lap.”
Although she’s been married over three years now, Amanda is, like me, on track to start trying to conceive in 2012. And like me, Amanda cringes when she hears about new pregnancies in our age group and social circles, because it feels so unfair that it’s not her time yet. But yesterday, as we planned our future Cool New Moms Group and our training sessions for the 50-mile ride, it didn’t matter that neither of us was popping out babies anytime soon. In fact, it was kind of nice not to have to factor that into our cycling schedule.
In this world, at this age, it’s hard to find people who are in the same place in their lives as I am in mine. It’s sort of a place of nothing exciting – no big losses, no big gains, just waiting and trying to appreciate the interim. And it’s easy to compare this place of nothing to other people’s places of something. It’s easy to wish that I, too, were buying a house or having a child, instead of just sitting back and enjoying the simplicity.
And to know that there’s someone else I’m close to, who is in the same place, who wants the same things I want but also knows she doesn’t want them yet, and who is ready to fill her days with less monumental joys in the meantime… Well, I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited about bike-riding, either.