Wednesday, February 01, 2006

with friends like these

Bookclub tomorrow.
I'm more anxious about the bookclub meeting than I am about my upcoming lap (scheduled for next week).

I don't really want to go but, aside from my sister and husband, this is pretty much the only social interaction I get. Pathetic huh?
I've known most of these women for years, but I am a late comer to their smug-married & fertile clique. When we first started socializing with them (joining the couples dinner party circuit) the talk of toddlers and schools and daycares didn't bother me. I just assumed I would be joining their world in a month or two. Well, we know how that turned out.

I really don't know if they have any idea of my IVF status.
They've never asked. I've never offered.

They do know that we want children and that years have gone by and we have none.
IF they were friends, wouldn't one of them have called me at some point and said "are you alright?".
But they never have.

I clearly recall a bookclub meeting we had about a year and a half ago.
I was recovering from another negative cycle, and trying to nurse my mother through chemo sessions (my father was in Europe for work). I had just found out that I was losing my job. My husband was away at a conference and I'd just had a car accident.
I arrived at bookclub and everyone was huddled around one of the women, fussing over her because (horrors) she had hurt her knee while sailing (!)*.
Everyone was so concerned about her well being. She's hurt! Look at the swelling! Isn't it awful!

And I thought, do I even want to be friends with them?
That entire evening (and in the months afterwords) never once did anyone of them care to call or email me and say "how's your mum doing?". Wouldn't you do that for your friend?
They're busy planning the next home renovation, making holiday plans, arranging summer camps, and planning birthday parties.
Aha! you say. They don't know about your IF struggles. If they did they would show some sympathy.

Well, yes and no.
They do know that I had a pretty major surgery to have my ovary removed. And early on in my marriage I had talked to them about how I wanted to have babies right away. So, shouldn't they be able to link this together?
Want babies--have none.
Ergo, something is wrong.

I'm being a bit unfair by lumping them all together.
The 'core' of the group is the smug-married-fertiles. They each have 2-3 children. They vacation together, their children go to the same school, they are always lunching together and planning dinners (far too often in my opinion).

There is one single woman, closely connected to this 'core', who adopted a girl from Serbia two years ago. Her motherhood cements her membership in their club. Another member is single and in her early 40s. Sometimes I detect a flicker of annoyance in her face when they start talking about their children and fabulous spouses, but I think she hides it much better than me. Another member is a little older. Her husband and mine are colleagues. Her children are teenagers. I like her best and sometimes think that I would like to confide in her, but it would be a little like talking to my mother.

I don't even like the books they choose most of the time, or what they say about them.
I could stop going, but my life is intertwined with their lives (because of work and spouses and the fact that this town is much too small). So I try to maintain this cordial and superficial relationship with them.

I've always loved reading and being in a bookclub encourages me to browse the bookstore shelves and scan the weekend book reviews. Just this weekend I finished reading the entire collected works of Jane Austen and found it immensely satisfying.

*Sailing, in their sailboat which they purchased while we were purchasing friggin gonal-F and repronex.
Sailing with her 2 children (10 and 8) who she managed to give birth to and raise while completing a Masters and PhD. She's my age for god's sake. In the 10 years I've known her she's managed to get a PhD, two children and a sailboat.
I've got a debit card and a container full of sharps.



At 8:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You have just described my "Poker" group, better than I could have. Maybe I'll just copy and paste this? Luckily, I'm moving away in another couple of months and I guess they're ready for that to happen, because my invite got "lost in the web," last month. I hope your surgery goes well. I'll be thinking of you.

At 11:44 AM, Blogger Lut C. said...

That band of women sounds absolutely awful. So, do you still want to be friends with them? If you want to call this friendship.

Now of course, I don't know the whole picture, so I'm being presumptious.

But is there really nowhere else you could go for contact with real live people?

I hope these women surprise you for the good tomorrow.

At 2:25 PM, Blogger zhl said...

Sounds horrible and familiar. More people in my real life asked me about my sick puppy than my sick and then dead mother. And one "friend" yesterday dared to complain that due date interfered with her wedding anniversary. Of course, she hasn't even been married as long as I've been trying.

I wish there was some way you could drop them, but I understand the small town problem.

Good luck with the lap. From my experience, the friends' problem is worse than the surgery.

At 6:17 AM, Blogger Pamplemousse said...

People don't really want to know about real pain, in my opinion. It is too uncomfortable and outside their ken.

Can you socialise more with the other childless person outside of the book club? It sounds like she might be more your kind of person.

I think I would rather not socialise than hang with these type of people but that is just me!


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