Sunday, May 18, 2008

Jerusha's still fat

I was relieved to see that official gym membership hasn't really done all that much for Jerusha's figure. I shlepped out to the suburbs after the birthday party, where the kids surprised me with homemade graduation cards and an ice cream cake that read "Congrats Aunt Ayelt." (Close enough.) The renovated kitchen is bigger than my studio apartment and obscenely well-appointed, with two dishwashers, four sinks, two ovens, roughly 7 million cabinets, and a refrigerator that could take you to Narnia. Nice to have a husband who makes bank.

The birthday party was fun, but it was hard to be the only single person there, not counting Shuli's widowed mother-in-law. Harriet, who was there with all three kids, was a bit surprised to see me lifting Baruch out of the snap-n-go after he awoke from his nap.

"Oh, Ayelet loves holding babies," said Shuli, with what I felt was a trace of condescension.

"That's right," I said, "make fun of the childless woman."

I spent a good part of the party hanging out with Harriet and her husband, David, when I wasn't helping Shuli and Avner. They're very nice people, great conversationalists, impressed with my degrees, internships, etc. But I couldn't summon empathy for Harriet, who has two daughters under the age of five and a baby boy and feels like she doesn't have enough time for herself. She asked me, "Do you feel completely free -- like no one needs anything from you and you can just do whatever you want?"

"It's a lot lonelier than you think," I replied. I didn't add that I only have enough money to pay my rent through July -- forget about groceries -- and that another birthday as an old maid is staring me in the face. Seeing all those happy parents with their happy kids was painful. I realize you never know what goes on behind closed doors, but everyone there was married with kids. and I am neither. And I don't think any of them are worried about eviction or not having health insurance after August. (Remember, we're in Manhattan.)

Honestly, I wish I had Harriet's problems. She complained that even with the babysitter around, her kids actually expect her to spend time with them. I don't doubt her life is demanding, but it's nowhere near as stressful as mine. At least she didn't complain about her husband.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

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