Sunday, March 19, 2006

Reflections of a...

Sunday was my grown up day; I cleaned the kitchen that needed cleaning, shopped for food to fill the bare pantry, and took time out for myself, going on a rollerblade along the Hudson despite the chilly winds coming off of the adjacent river. When I came home I saw that my refrigerator didn’t complement my grown up day—shelves filled with booze and liquefying vegetables. Off I went to the grocery store, filling my basket with fresh produce, yogurt, and soy products. I am ready to indulge upon this kick for as long as it will last. Especially since my future sister in law mentioned dress fittings in the next few months.

Standing on line to check out, a cute guy and I made conversation with our eyes and body language. Gesturing I asked him to watch my spot as I grabbed some whole grain crackers. I came back and he asked me for the same favor, except he forgot his salad dressing. We both shared a chuckle at our mutual forgetfulness. As the cashier rang up my order, and still seeing that he was within ear shot packing his own grocery bags, I asked her to also add a NYT to my order. The newspaper of the NYC intelligentsia. I thought his last impression of our semi-flirtatious encounter should involve the clichéd connotations of the NYT. Maybe sometime soon I would share that situation with a guy who I knew more intimately than just safeguarding each other’s spots on line. Instead we would help each other carry groceries home, both hurriedly walking back to the apartment to devour the breakfast in the plastic bags and then the Times on my couch.

The man on line finished paying for his groceries as the cashier began to ring mine up. We parted ways.

Yesterday my sister Kay, my brother Mike and his fiancé Nancy came to my apartment. Our interaction resembling a cross between a happy-family sitcom and my six year old girl fantasies of what being a grown up must be like. My sister talking about the breakfast she made them when they came over, complete with describing how she laid the food out on a glass plate. Mike and his fiancé filling my sister and me on wedding details. Half jokingly, Nancy and Kay make a pact, “let’s try to get pregnant around the same time, you know, so our kids’ll have cousins to grow up with.”

I stood in my living room feeling incredibly out of place. Simultaneously realizing my own mortality and fertility while coming to an understanding how I have a reputation in the family is being the eccentric one. With my outlandish behavior, will my siblings and their spouses restrict visitations with my future nieces and nephews?! Especially, being realistic, my younger siblings will surely have children before I do. Only my actions and drunken rants on this blog giving them insight into my character whether I would make a good babysitter, as opposed to actual experience with my own children.

Standing next to Kay, Mike and his future wife, I was hit with their maturity. No longer are my siblings the same kids who used to play with worms outside our house on Cedar Street. My sister graduates college and embarks upon her career in the next few months. My brother graduates the police academy and becomes a police officer, responsible for other people’s lives. And his high school girl friend becomes his wife and member of our family next June.

I compare their paths to my own. Working in advertising, living with a gay roommate whose relationship with me is more child-mother than friend. Never having a serious relationship in my twenty-four years of life for reasons I have yet to explore in therapy. A desire to make it big somehow in some way that I haven’t decided upon yet.

And I enter into the clutches of this fear. Compounded by the article I read in the NY Times today of single women who decide to use any means to have children—including artificial insemination using the sperm of anonymous donors. I begin to reflect upon my life again. There is a very good chance as my siblings enter this stage of their lives, embracing their responsibility as I run from mine that we may be left with even less things in common.

Our relationship further shifting. My role as the older sister holding less importance as they embark upon the lives they’re forging for themselves.

That’s the problem with having younger siblings so close in age. I knew the day would come when they would reach life’s landmarks first, knocking me off of my perch as the know-it-all. I just didn’t imagine it was going to happen so soon.


At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Martin said...

Marriage and children aren't the only landmarks in life. You're still free to pursue whatever.

I missed your blog!
- Martin

At 11:32 PM, Blogger mc uzbek said...

i read that article too about artificial inseminations and single mothers on nyt.
i was amazed because i myself am thinking about adopting a kid in the future. unfortunalely it is much more complicated for single fathers.

thanks for writing, i've gotten more insight into a new york girl's mind in the last 20 minutes than i have since moving here in august.


At 12:53 PM, Anonymous katie said...

shannon, you got gawkered, and now i am here. i kinda want to be your friend b/c i think we might be the same person. weird. i passed on the link to a bunch of friends. keep it up i need something to do while i am at work but not working.


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