Maybe you know someone that rowed crew in high school and you have seen the tshirt. “I can’t.” it says on the front. “I have crew.” on the back. I have seen similar tshirts for kids that are big in to drama in high school, too. “I can’t. I have rehearsal.” I was always a bigger fan of “Thespians do it on stage” myself. But that is neither here nor there.
Once you have a baby you get really good at saying “I can’t, we would love to but…” and you look at your kid and you shrug and you say “8 o’clock bedtime” or “She doesn’t take a bottle” or “We don’t have a sitter.” If your friends have kids they understand. You might get an eyeroll from your friends that don’t do things just the same way you do, but they understand.
At first it might embarrass you. You might worry that by the time you are ready to hit the town there won’t be anywhere to go or you won’t have any friends any more. But the second kid? I know that there will be plenty of fun waiting for me. I’ll be almost forty and chances are I will be home and snug as a bug by midnight but I’ll be sweaty and my calves will hurt from dancing with the dirty kids up front. I’ll be a cheap date again for a while until I get my sea legs back under me.
And I am okay with all of this.
But this morning I had to do something awful. I almost took a conversation to private message on the Bookface because I was ashamed of the truth. A dear friend from the beach reminded me that we had planned on having dinner before the Perpetual Groove show in town. At the time we initially discussed it I knew that the show would be hit or miss but surely a dinner would be a go, even if I had the kiddos in tow. He is a perfect addition to a messy dinner with kids. He has no judgement, kids of his own and is a lively conversationalist full of stories that could amuse even the almost seven year old ears.
I had to renege on our plans.
BECAUSE I HAVE A PTA MEETING. If you are out of the loop the PTA is the Parent Teacher Association.
I can’t go to a killer show because I have to go to a meeting with a lot of amped up mothers and fathers and talk fundraisers and wrapping paper sales and lunch menus and school resources. I will eat Domino’s pizza and drink lemonade from a paper cup. And actually… I don’t have to. I want to.
I want to meet some of the parents at Em’s school. I want to meet her friend’s parents. I want to know the teachers and the administrators.
I used to walk in to a bar and breeze past the doorman with a kiss on the cheek. I’d get a drink without ordering. I imagined the gossipy girl at a corner table saying “Who does she think she is?” and the waitress would say “Kelly! She is here all of the time. You’d love her! No, really!!”
And now I have to start all over. Only in my dreams I can walk in to an elementary school and breeze past the Make Your Own ID machine. “Just dropping off these cupcakes.” Oh man, if they let me use the copy machine I will know I have hit the big time.