Yesterday I attended the baby shower of a life long friend. I'm still trying to work through exactly how I feel about it.
B and I have known each other our entire lives. Now that we live across the state, we don't see each other as often, but she's still my family. We went to the same schools, played sports together, sleep overs, talked boys, attended each others weddings, and more recently discussed our mutual struggles with infertility. She found out she was pregnant almost three years ago, just before my wedding. She had a missed-miscarriage a few weeks later and a chemical pregnancy about 6 months after that. We each were struggling in our own way.
Time passed and we would occasionally check in. Compare notes. Early last fall, I learn - on Facebook - that they are pregnant. I don't know if she was scared to tell me, forgot, didn't think about it, but that's how it worked out. Good ol' Facebook fills me in again. Months pass, I've sent her a private message about how truly happy I am for her and how wonderful she will be as a mother. Two weeks ago I got a card from her mother inviting me to the shower. I rsvp'd immediately and it was here before I knew it. I made the baby blanket, wrapped her other gifts, and showed up on time.
It was really great, and kind of hard, to see her pregnant. Proud of her resilience, being happy that she is so happy, rubbing the belly that holds her son. At the same time I'm sad to be left behind, again. I know that she debriefed her family because I did not get a single, 'When are you and J starting a family??' That's just her style. Again, not a bad thing to avoid, but kind of sad that people I've known my whole life may be looking at me differently then they would have otherwise. Polite questions with a dash of pity. Is it all in my head? Maybe. But I spend a lot of time in there, so to me, the feeling is all the same.
Her sister made us all cry. The mother of 5 year old twins, she read a card filled with well wishes and offerings to always be there for her - in hopes that she can be half as good an aunt as B has been to her children. ...insert waterworks here... A very sweet moment.
We hugged, made plans for me to visit when the little one arrives. Shared a big hug and I was on my way. My eyes welling once I closed my car door. I couldn't put my finger on it exactly, but I know it is my own doing. Nothing they made me feel, or said. They were lovely. Hugged me because we haven't seen each other in too long. It's about me. About feeling left behind. Even jealous. Being upset with myself about being jealous, like B and I were 7 again and she got the better 10 speed for Christmas. Or like when I was 8 and my parents got divorced and hers got to stay married. It felt childish and from another time, but the sting was still there.
Today I'm better. Better able to reconcile my happiness for my friend and to file away that tiny sting in my heart. Understanding better that the sting doesn't mean I'm not happy for my friend, just that I'm hurting a bit for me. For us. And what we wish would be.