Monday, October 19, 2009

Living Life Backwards?

If you've either read the short story The Curious Case of Benjamin Button by F. Scott Fitzgerald or seen the movie starring Brad Pitt(which is loosely based on the story) you will know that the character ages in reverse. Over the weekend while visiting my younger sister I felt a little like Benjamin Button and it's not the first time I've felt that sometimes I'm living my life backwards.

I visited my younger sister and her family in Denver for an extended weekend to celebrate her daughter's 1st birthday. My niece Lily is a charming and happy baby whose parents surround her with love and comfort. Being born and raised in the Chicago area my sister moved to Denver around the same time that her closest friends from high school also relocated there. My sister and her friends are now in their early 30's, married and raising young families. At Lily's birthday party this weekend she happily played with her little friends, the daughters and sons of my sister's life long friends. It was quite lovely to see this extended group of women who have known each other since they were children now raising their own children together. It's during events like these that I have my "Benjamin Button" moments.

When I had my son I was a very young woman and the first of my friends to have a child. My friends were still working on their educations, starting their careers and getting married so by the time they began their own families my child was already a teenager. I never commiserated with my best friends over our baby's sleeping habits or feeding schedules, potty training or preschool. The children who attended my son's birthday parties were not the children of my friends but his little friends from school or the children of older parents like my boss or my neighbors. Now when I attend the birthday parties of my friend's children I am one of the only parents without a small child on my hip and while they talk about their choices for kindergarten I talk about my son getting into college. Now as my friends are home on Saturday nights with their sleeping babies, I'm often enjoying a late night dinner at a trendy new restaurant or planning a vacation that doesn't involve Mickey Mouse or water parks. These are my Benjamin Button moments.

While I may not be aging in reverse (unfortunately) I definitely chose a life that society may seem as backwards...raising a baby before you really had a life. I've enjoyed every minute of my rather unconventional adulthood and have proudly raised an exceptional young man. While I may wistfully view my sister and her friends happily sharing every milestone of their childrens development together, it wasn't the life for me and I'm thrilled to live my life backwards.

1 comment:

rebecca said...

Very insightful, Shannon. I enjoyed reading this!