At each stage of life, we live with chasms between us and people who are not in the same stage that we are. For instance, when you move from high school to college, it’s hard to relate to the kids back in high school who may only be a year younger than you and who you may have called your best friends just 6 months prior. You feel like you live in a different world than they and, really, you do.
Andy and I were a couple for about 6 years before we got married. The chasm between us and our married friends was unnoticeable most of the time. We got married in 2001 and enjoyed our “dink” (dual-income, no kids) lifestyle and watched our friends have kids. We never planned for there to be a chasm between us and our friends with kids but it happened - we saw less of those friends socially and didn’t have as much to talk about when we did get together because we had little in common at that point. We tried to be really interested in their kids’ lives and we were to a point, but there was a limit.
Last year we decided to take the plunge and start a family and we vowed not to talk incessantly about our children and to still spend as much (or as little) time with our friends who don’t have kids as we did before. Alas, three and a half months into our parenting adventure, we barely recognize our childless friends. We don’t see them much and when we do, it’s hard to find things to talk about. We still try not to talk incessantly about our kid but it’s hard not to when he’s what takes up 99.999% of our thoughts and resources. But in trying not to talk about him too much, the chasm between us and people without kids grows ever deeper and wider. We try to throw sand and cement in there to fill it up, but they are temporary measures.
I truly hope that the chasm never grows so large that we can’t still jump across it to meet people on the other side. And I hope that although it feels like a tug-of-war in my soul, we never forget how it feels to be on the other side of the chasm.