Friday, 14 September 2012

Not all dreams come in diapers

There are few friendships as strong as the ones you make when working in a restaurant
or bar. There really is an “us against them” mentality that forces even the most unlikely
of people to bond like glue. (These relationships may be second only to the ones you
create among like-minded new mothers at emotionally charged mothers’ groups.)

In my past, I have served so many trays of beer and plates of steak frites that my arms
almost fell off, and through those stressful shifts I met some of my best friends. When I
first moved to the city, at 23, I was alone; I had my husband (then boyfriend), but I didn’t
have my own friends. One of my first jobs was in one of the busiest bars in the city, and
I quickly bonded with two women. We all started within a week of each other, which in
the restaurant world means you are cemented as allies. Why am I telling you this? What
does this have to do with motherhood? Well, nothing really, except that the two women I
am referring to are my best friends. And they don’t have kids. Or husbands. They are the
women I spend most weekends with. If I am drunk, they are likely there. And if W is sick,
or if he wants to pick apples or go to the splash pad, one of them is helping me.

They are my saviours, and my heart sometimes breaks when I think of the cold reality:
I will never be able to give as much to their potential families and children as they are
currently giving to me. They are W’s aunts in every sense of the word.

And today I said goodbye to one of them. She is moving across the equator to chase a
dream — not a MAN, a dream. She is opening her own business on the beach. She is
fulfilling a dream. A dream that isn’t tied up in diapers and daycare; a dream for herself.
She is leaving a life she has spent over ten years building in this city to try something
new. She said today, as we shared our last wine-filled dinner for a little while, “I want
things to happen, and I wish they were happening here. But they aren’t. How long should
I wait?” This, of course, is rhetorical because I can hear her dragging suitcases down the
stairs as I type. She isn’t waiting. She is doing.

Sometimes I am so wrapped up in my world of W and husband and work that I forget
that I have amazing friends. Women who are doing seriously amazing things surround
me. Some people’s knee-jerk reactions may be to think, “Well, they don’t have kids.
They can do what they like,” but these women would love children one day and in the
meantime they aren’t waiting, they are doing. And I find that inspiring. A younger me
would be down on myself for not being more adventurous, but I am now comfortable
saying I am not the type of person who leaves the country or moves to the beach and I
am okay with that. I wake up at the same time every day and eat the same things and
sing the same songs. The journeys my friends take are a part of me. I am so proud of
them. Just as I know that they find my ability to get up at 6 a.m. and make pancakes
mind-boggling, I find their willingness to chase their dreams inspiring.

Travel safe, Tia! I hope W learns from you that you have to take the bull by the horns
sometimes and leap in to the unknown.

-Tightrope Mama


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