Baby Fever

A former co-worker of mine is having a surprise baby shower today, and I’m a little hesitant about going. Not because of Katie – she’s a very dear friend of mine, and we stay in touch regularly. It’s just that I’m somewhat dreading running into all the other people we used to work with, whom I haven’t seen for the past five years.
Based on how my 10-year high school reunion went, I’m pretty sure it will play out something like this:
Stepford co-worker: “Hey Jenny! So good to see you! Doesn’t Katie make a beautiful pregnant woman? My husband used to tell me that I looked like that girl from Willy Wonka when I was pregnant with Connor – you know, that one girl who turned into a blueberry? Ha, ha, ha! So – what’s new with you? Do you have any kids yet?”
Me: “Uhh… no.”
SC: “Are you married?”
Me: “No.”
SC: “Dating anyone?”
Me: “No.”
SC: “Well, must be because you’re so busy at work – you always were a workaholic! Where are you working these days?”
Me: “No. I mean, I am, well… in between opportunities right now.”
SC: “Oh.”
Me: “But I do have this blog that…”
SC: “What’s a blog?”
Me: “It’s like an online journal, where I write thoughts and stuff. It’s really neat.”
SC: “Huh. So… you’re not married, no kids, not seeing anyone, and you’re unemployed, but you have a diary. That’s… cool, I guess. Oh, hey, Julie! Over here! How are you and Bob doing…?”
I will then be forced to repeat this exact scenario at least seven more times before the afternoon is over. However, toward the third or fourth time, I will invent a boyfriend named Kevin (we just started dating, but I think he might be the one), and say that I have had very promising second interviews with at least two companies downtown (one offers more money, but I’d have to change trains to get there. I mean, puhleese!). After that, I’ll get a little queasy from too many virgin strawberry daiquiris, and have to leave early.
I realized recently that it’s really easy to feel normal when you’re surrounded by people who are just like you. Most of my friends are single and don’t have kids – heck, a lot of us aren’t dating anyone at the moment, and we like it that way! Sure, my friends all have jobs, but that’s just a temporary setback for me, and certainly not enough to label me a freak or an outcast in their eyes.
But really, I need to snap out of this – I’m being ridiculous and self-absorbed. This shower is not about me and my petty insecurities. It’s about celebrating the miracle of life, and catching up with old friends. This is a time to put aside my silly doubts, and just enjoy everyone’s company.
You know, I’m going to walk into this baby shower with my head held high. I’m single by choice, dammit! And is anyone aware that there’s a population explosion in the Midwest? Ease up on the reproduction, people! And hey, I can’t tell you what a distinct pleasure it has been for me to take this sabbatical over the summer! That’s right, you heard me roar. I don’t need a husband or kids to define my life as successful!
But just out of curiosity, do you think Kevin should be an architect, or a lawyer?

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