On ogling a family on the subway

The other day, I was riding the subway with a family. Mom, dad (I’m assuming) and two adorable little kids. It’s been a few days so I don’t remember every detail. Maybe the girl was 4 or 5, with pigtails. The other one was a baby. The dad was possibly checking me out, which is fine, cause I check parents out all the time. Not in a pervy way, I don’t think, but just to see how they interact. At one point, the parents switched off kids, and it was so seamless, like, “Okay, you take her, now you take her.”

I loved that. I watched with envy, wondering how I might ever be able to do that. I love New York, but don’t necessarily see myself riding the subway with my kid. But maybe I will, I don’t know. I think the part I really had trouble seeing myself in was the coordination. It was like they both just knew what to do. I think one person trying to hold two kids in that same way would’ve been impossible. Not impossible to take two kids to school/wherever, but to hold them like they were.

As for me, I couldn’t stop staring. I so often can’t. The kids were just entrancing. Every time I’m in that situation, me with bags and books and stuff, others with little people, I feel like my life is lacking. Because, well, it is. Or rather, it’s full of stuff I don’t want, don’t need. I am trying to pare down, but then, well, I buy books, or request them. “I spend all my days with books trying to disappear” is a line by Elizabeth Elmore of The Reputation, from the song “This Town.” I always think about that song when I feel lost, out of place.

Lately, that’s how New York has felt to me. On one level, it’s comfortable, familiar, but on another, I feel like I will be doing the same things, living the same life, in ten, twenty years, unless I make efforts to change that. I turn 35 on November 10, 2010, and it may sound far away, but it feels so near. It feels like my chances to become a mom are slipping through my hands. I wonder whether I should push to go it alone, or push to try to make that happen with someone, and I’m not sure who. It’s hard to talk about baby making with someone you’re dating, because it brings up so many other issues about life, and lifestyle. The fact is, the way the person I’m dating now and I live wouldn’t work if we had a kid. And the other fact is, I don’t want it to. I don’t want the constant going out, the stress, the deadlines I don’t meet, the panic. I don’t want the sitting at parties wishing I drank so I could have fun like everyone else.

I love socializing, but lately it’s just too much. I’d love to be home with my kid(s). I know I say that and possibly would actually find it drove me crazy, but I do know that this life isn’t working. My place is a disaster, and people think I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. I have offers of help, but I can’t, not yet. I need to do it myself, that much I know. I just need the time, and I need to write. I’ve been putting that off and off and off, and I can’t any longer. All of these things, my disorganization, my debt, my mess, my relationship confusion, make me wonder whether my baby feverishness is just a desire for a whole new life, one that I am not a part of, one where I could slip into someone else’s body/brain/life. I hope not, because I think even though it’s scary, I’d be good at being a mom. Whether I can find someone who’d also be good at being a parent, I don’t know, so I’m just working on myself at the moment.


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