On Friday night our family joined three of CH’s high school friends for dinner downtown. I was the only spouse amongst the Class of 1991 group, each of us with a child in tow.
At dinner I easily noticed that we all had one child. In fact, during the past two years I’ve found myself counting children. This is not a time-intensive tick. If there is one child in a family I wonder why. Choice? Infertility? Some combination of the two? I’m working on finding new ways to say “only child” and “it’s just the three of us” – wanting to eliminate the words only and just. Help me find those words.
We all did our best to have a conversation across a long table and four children with needs. It’s basically impossible. Speed-eating contests should be held by parents of small children at restaurants. I cannot enjoy a meal with a low whine of kid-speak in my ear, asking why, when, how and why again endlessly, all while drawing castles and picking up crayons.
One CH’s friends he hadn’t seen since college. She shared her current work, but due to the state budget, knew that she would lose her job in August. We all murmured our condolences, and then she calmly shared that her husband died almost a year ago.
We all then voiced deeper condolences. The loss of a job? Terrible. The loss of a partner? Unspeakable.
Here is a woman, 38 or 39, with a child one month younger than Miss Red, and a widow. A widow about to lose her job. A widow.
On Saturday night I had a good cry. I am still so, so sad. Still thinking about Friday night, I invoked CH’s friend and her situation and cried harder. How can we sit in a restaurant, chatting over the din of life, when her life and her son’s life is forever changed? The weight of sadness is sometimes so much.
If only life wasn’t just so sad at times.