Another thing contributing to my sense of imbalance lately is my brother, and his relationship with his girlfriend.
For the first time, like, ever, my brother Joey has a girlfriend whom he likes enough to actually show affection to in front of his family. And we all like her, too. She’s fun, and outgoing, and friendly, and older than he is,* and she doesn’t seem to mind that her 25-year-old boyfriend still lives with his parents.
No one can deny that they’re great together. They cuddle openly, make fun of each other, take care of each other… And I’m jealous of them, and that’s annoying.
I don’t even know what I have to be jealous about. Doug and I are great together, too; we do all those things, too. Except I think my mom was ready to welcome Joey’s girlfriend with open arms almost instantly, while, three years into my own relationship, I’m still cautiously hoping she’s accepted Doug. And Joey and his girlfriend were able to get each other really nice, expensive Christmas presents (he got her Marc Jacobs earrings and Chanel perfume; she got him a weekend at the Hollywood Magic Castle), while Doug and I had to eat spaghetti for a month, just so we could afford to get each other Christmas presents at all (he got me pajamas, a Mariners hat, and a candle; I got him a new coffee maker and some Guy Fieri books).** And I’m worried, because of how different this relationship is from all Joey’s previous relationships, that they’re on track towards marriage and babies – which is great in the sense that I wouldn’t mind having this girl in my family forever – but what if they get there before I do?!
I’m doing that thing again where I compare other people’s lives to my own. I’m sorry; I can’t help it. I think my worst-case scenario in life right now is one where my younger brother has a kid. This is all residual miscarriage grief speaking, of course – I don’t actually begrudge my brother his right to procreate; I just want to go first. It’s my birthright. (We’ll ignore the fact that Joey’s girlfriend is actually older than I am, and therefore maybe it’s in her best interests to rush into marriage and babies, especially if her biological clock is constantly drumming in her ears like mine is.)
This is stupid. I don’t even know if they want kids. I don’t even know if they want marriage. All I know is that I want a life wherein my boyfriend can afford to buy me nice things, and I can afford to take him nice places; where we can appear happy and carefree and in love at family gatherings, instead of feeling like we’re constantly bringing down the mood in the room with discussions of dental work options, or the fact that neither of us has eaten anything substantial since 9 a.m.; where my mother will say to Doug, like she did to Joey’s girlfriend on Christmas, “I feel comfortable around you,” and I’ll know that it’s finally okay that I’ve moved on from my last relationship, and that I’ll have her support going forward.
*This is a huge factor in my liking her, because it means I’m not the only cougar in the house anymore.
**And yes, part of the reason Joey can afford this ridiculous designer stuff is that he lives with my parents; and no, I don’t want to live with my parents so that I too can be a big-spending baller, or whatever the kids are calling it these days. And for the record, my dad got my mom a waterpik, and my mom got my dad some gnocchi and the same Franklin planner she gets him every year. So I understand that the extravagance of the gifts doesn’t correlate directly to the love in the relationship. But still.