Yesterday, Daughter and I went to see a production of Les Misérables with some longtime friends. L and I met at prenatal classes in the summer of 1975 before we gave birth to our daughters. In a group of very young expectant couples, somehow my first husband and I and L and her husband "hit it off".
L and her husband were newly arrived from England without family or friends so, when we found ourselves new homeowners living close to each other in an outlying area, we were delighted. The 1970's were a great time to be young mothers. We could survive on one income because our needs were not great. I bought all of my "baby equipment" second-hand and sold it again when it was no longer necessary. As most families in my neighbourhood (distant, undeveloped suburb) had only one car; mums and toddlers shared rides, activities and baby-sitting. There were free story times at the public library, community centre programmes and Mum and Tots playgroup at each other's homes. It was a wonderful time to be a young family!
But, with time, all things change. Our new friends moved further out in order to live on acreage with their growing family and No. 1 and I moved closer in to the city in order to attend classes. Our priorities changed in the 1980's. With daughter in school, I found a part-time job as a library assistant and No. 1 became an auditor and travelled quite a bit. We had more money but we were much less content. We seldom saw our friends who were now a family of six. When my marriage ended, I didn't drive and L doesn't drive on freeways, our friendship became almost impossible.
Our daughters found each other on Facebook a few years ago. Although my daughter is single and her friend is married with teen-agers, they have resumed their friendship and laugh at how alike their mums are. Maybe it's a 70's thing! But now instead of talking about toddlers, L and I were talking about the recent loss of our parents, blood pressure tablets and dementia. L's family has grown over the years and I got to meet her younger daughter and we remembered each others' families from long ago birthday parties.
In some ways, I mourn the loss of those happy family times. Monsieur has no children and we will never be grandparents. Although we are financially comfortable and free to pursue our individual interests, happiness seems more elusive than during those far off years. Could it be nostalgia, the "road not taken" or just plain ageing?