Fourth of July brings out the baby blues

It was Fourth of July. Everyone seemed to be gathered in family groups, and there I was with my dog Annie. My friends I had planned to spend the day with had suddenly gotten busy with visiting children and grandchildren, so I headed to Yachats, a small town to the south where the 1960s continue unchanged. They were having a street fair. After walking around a little bit, Annie and I settled in one of the plastic chairs near the stage where a group was performing music that seemed to be a blend of reggae, New Age and yoga chants. Annie leaned against my legs, nervous in the crowd, a little worried about the tie-die-garbed woman doing a hula hoop dance a few feet away, the lady doing henna tattoos under the canopy next to the stage, and the tiny human who kept asking if she could pet my doggie. Sure, I said and watched her pat Annie’s broad tan back.

Next to me, the little girl’s mom exposed her baby bump between her midriff top and long skirt. She had flowers henna-tattooed around and below her navel. I will not let this bother me, I told myself. I sang along with the music, I pet my dog, I stared at the blue sky and green trees rising up behind the stage. The temperature was perfect, we had nowhere else to go, nothing else to do. But there were kids and moms and dads everywhere.

The night before, watching fireworks in Waldport, I was surrounded by couples with children, little ones and big ones. I felt like I didn’t fit in. And here, watching barefoot young women in flowing dresses dance with their children, I had to wonder how I missed out on something so natural and normal. Men and women come together and make babies. Isn’t that the way it’s supposed to go? Didn’t I want that? Where did I lose my way? If I had stayed with my first husband, wouldn’t we eventually have had children? Maybe I should have married someone else. But I was 22. I didn’t know anything. I didn’t know this could happen to me.

Annie was getting hot and restless. I was getting sad. “Come on,” I said, and we went home to our big house and big yard with no children and no mothers.

Sorry. I’m feeling down today. You know how that goes. I hate holidays. They bring out the blues. Don’t you find that’s true? How was Fourth of July for you?

Starting Sunday afternoon, I’m going to be offline most of the time for a week or so. If I don’t get to your comments or post something new, please be patient. I will seek out wi-fi as often as I can. Have a great week.

One thought on “Fourth of July brings out the baby blues

  1. So sorry the holiday got you down. I'm sort of there with you. I'm able to muddle through because I've got my husband around. I don't often think of what it would be like without him. I probably should.We spent the actual 4th with friends and their kids. Not a fun day. It wasn't so much our absence of children but the addition of theirs. I've become an armchair parent, watching others manage their children and silently thinking of how I'd handle the same situation. Of course I can't really know what it's like to be in their shoes & for that I feel guilty for silently judging them.Husband and I make concessions all the time because we know that not having children at our age is unusual. We're usually happy to accommodate children so we can see friends and of course know the children. Sometimes it would be great to socialize without kids. We'd never suggest that our friends leave their kids home with a sitter while we go out and watch fireworks (we're not jerks, for crying out loud). I guess this year it was more of an issue of WHO we spent our day with. We ate dinner at a place that was kid-friendly (if we had our choice it would have been at a bar and grill with a patio). Because it rained and we couldn't go to the festival, we had to come up with a plan B. Choice 1 was a kids movie. Choice 2 was a kid-friendly bar/grill with a great arcade area. We let our friends choose. The father decided to go the arcade route so that the kids could play and we could have a few drinks and adult conversation. Well, the mother decided that her children, who are comfortably older, could NOT be out of her eyesight. We picked a table right next to the arcade (which was fine), but that wasn't enough. The mother literally wouldn't let her kids leave her point of vision for even the length of a game. I found it ridiculous that the mother couldn't let her kids run a little in this super safe, kid-friendly, non-crowded place that was designed specifically for families.The times she was actually sitting with us she was watching the kids and constantly commenting on how cute they looked. Then she coached from the table on how to throw the ball and control the games. Other people we know would have doled out the game tokens and said “have fun.” Unfortunately for us, it was not to be.Then after that, it was a trip to the ice cream place. Which included whines. Kids are kids, but these kids were brats. There, I said it. This whole day was catered to THEM and they were annoying brats. They were rude to us, their parents and each other. I understand that kids at most ages are selfish because they don't yet have the capacity to understand that adults don't want what they want. I get that. But it was frustrating to watch these parents not take advantage of opportunities to teach their kids how to be respectful, independent and nice.Husband and I have decided that we're not interested in spending time with this family any longer. We'd love to keep the friendships and find a happy place, but we struggle with finding a nice way to say, “Hey, we think your kids are consistently bratty and you are helicopter parents who cater to their every complaint.” Not sure how we're going to proceed. It's tough because it's not like we have tons of childless couples to spend time with. And let's face it, those with kids do tend to enjoy their time with other parents so we're not always included into their world. We can't afford to be too selective because at the end of the road (as you, Sue, are now experiencing), one of us will be alone. And we don't want to be totally alone.Hang in there – you are not alone.Anon S


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