Tonight I went out by myself for purely social reasons – the first time since Liam’s arrival. I had no guilt about leaving the kids home with Michael and going out to celebrate Ranae’s birthday. But I got out there, and suddenly, I felt lost. Maybe it was the crowded restaurant, or that I didn’t know some of the folks there, or that I’m in a constant state of exhaustion, but I felt out of my element. It was all I could do to carry on a halfway decent conversation. I savored that one glass of wine…the first I’ve had in over a year. Pinot grigio. I got shy – around my close friends! – and the fact that I was the only mother there seemed to float like a heavy cloud over me. My shirt felt lumpy, accentuated by the maternity support panel sagging around my waist. I had too much makeup on and not enough jewelry. I was sweating. I didn’t know what to talk about. There were interesting people all around me, and I couldn’t think of a good conversation starter. I was a zombie. All around me were fabulous people exuding confidence and great hair, and I couldn’t fully join in. I was out in public and yet not part of the public. I wanted to hide. Getting down to the last sip of wine was like being at the school skating party – the last song, one more earnest lap around the rink, hoping the cute kid will notice you, hoping the night ends on a high note, making it something to remember. It never happens, though. So you go home a little disappointed, ankles throbbing from the ill-fitting skates. And driving home tonight, listening to Dashboard Confessional, I realized that I’ll have to work a little harder to get my groove back.
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Mrs. Ames., E.F. Benson
Finding Organic Church, by Frank Viola