The Mama Posse Rides Again

Posted: August 6th, 2008 | Author: | Filed under: Friends and Strangers, Mama Posse, Misc Neuroses | No Comments »

It’s good to have a group of Mama friends who you can say nearly anything in front of and they’ll not only not be horrified, they’ll suggest a great solution, rush to console you, or tell you they’ve been through the same thing–only nine times more gruesome and harrowing. You walk away either armed with answers, relieved that it’s not as bad as it could be, or both.

I mean, how can you go wrong with that kind of support? If high school friendships were like that we’d all be so secure and functional most therapists would be out of business.

A couple weeks ago I was out for dinner and a movie with my Mama posse. After downing our pre-theater beers like frat boys on a bender (even sans kids we’re efficient), we settled into chatting and got to the topic of babies. Specifically if any of us would be having more.

One friend’s a strong ‘maybe.’ She’s definitely getting that twinkle in her uterus, but she’s not sure whether it’s just her body telling her it’s that time again, or if it really makes sense for her family. Another woman was more clear-cut. “Uh, no. We are done.” And the third has already taken physiological steps to close down the factory, as it were. Though that’s not stopping her from sometimes daydreaming about adding yet another to their party of five.

As for me? Well, I can understand everyone’s position. I nod in hearty agreement with whatever reasons each of them share for wanting what they want–or what they don’t want, as it were. Which is to say, I enjoy indulging myself on all angles of the issue, even though I know it’s nearly certain that our ball-bouncing days are gone around here.

Anyway, at one point in this chatting-while-speed-eating-and-drinking meal, in some non-explicit way one friend made a comment alluding to something that I didn’t catch at all. And it sparked the ‘We Are Done’ Mama to say, “Oh, totally! I mean even I think of having another one for that reason.” Then the mother of three chimes in that even with three already, she’s had that thought too.

And I’m sitting there, having totally lost the train of conversation within a matter of seconds, and lamenting why I always miss the good parts. I’m the one cleaning condensation off my snorkel mask when all the sea turtles swim by, or up getting popcorn during the scene when the two women kiss. So I guess I should be used to it.

What’s weird is they’re all fervently–but also kind of abashedly–agreeing to something. And when I ask what it is, they all turn to me, but still can’t seem to make themselves articulate what it is. And this is a group of women with whom I’ve discussed constipation, condoms, and other issues of a fecal, sexual, and personal nature, without batting an eye. Oh, and we talk about reality TV, too.

So finally, one friend skirts the issue in an attempt to explain it to me. “You know,” she says, “If you have three,” emphasizing the three, “then if something were to…” She still can’t bear to spit it out, but as it clicks in my brain I,of course, call out loudly, “Oh! What you’re saying is if one dies, you’ll still have two other ones?,” causing the older Latino server behind the counter to snap his head in my direction and catch eyes with me. And likely causing my friends to want to take me out too. (Since, there would still be three of them left…)

More than anything I was surprised that I’d never had this thought myself. Generally I think my Mama brain has explored every possible potential horror story, wacky scenario, and what-if situation related to family, children, and marriage. That’s what you do in the many collective hours of nursing a baby in the middle of the night. In case you were wondering.

And I would like to make it perfectly clear that these mothers are adoring, devoted, and utterly first-rate at this motherhood thing. It’s not that they’re doing Britneys, driving recklessly with un-carseated kids and thinking to themselves, “Who cares if I crash? I have back-up children!” No, no, no. That’s not it at all.

This idea that they admit is, um, offbeat–though their very unwillingness to so much as say it out loud–is actually the kind of thinking that comes out of mad mad Mama love. That comes from the desperate place that you don’t want to go to but you force yourself to, which is to think of what your life would be like if suddenly you were without one of your beloved babies. And since you’ve made yourself go there, then like all practical problem-solving mothers, you need to figure out what happens next in that most unthinkable scenario. And as much as you fear that even having these thoughts might make any of them more likely (God forbid) to come to pass, the only consolation you can provide yourself is that at least you would still have another child–or children–to love.
See? It’s all rather bleak, but I totally get it. And I’m truly shocked that I hadn’t ever had the thought myself.

From there our conversation veered off to other morbid and mundane topics. And we shoveled down more barbeque, swilled beer, intermittently reminded each other the movie was about to start, and felt grateful that we were Mamas of sweet healthy children who were home safely with their fathers as we enjoyed a rare and blissful night out.

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