I've realized something lately.
A little background: When Eric and I got married, I was apprehensive about leaving my singles ward, where I felt like we were all in the same boat, accepting of one another, more prone to look upon a person's heart than a person's appearance, etc., etc. I fretted that as I went from that very safe (if very labor-intensive) environment to the more typical environment of a regular (a/k/a a "family") ward, I would find myself the proverbial square peg trying to fit into a round hole.
To put it a little more bluntly, the fact is, in rural Utah there just aren't a whole lot of forty-one year old Mormon women who have been married for only five years, and have one child who is a preschooler.
I remember one day when Heather just a baby, reading on Facebook. We had just started solid foods the day before. It was spring, and one of my high school classmates was posting about her daughter's graduation from high school. Another posted about her son receiving his mission call. I chuckled to myself as I imagined our posts side by side.
Jeanette: I'm so proud of my little boy. He's off to serve a mission for the Lord! It seems like just yesterday he was a little baby, crawling around the floor.*
Me: I'm so proud of my little girl. Today she started eating rice cereal! I seems like just yesterday she was just a little baby, cooing and gurgling away. Oh wait. It was just yesterday. And today.
I still laugh at that memory, but the truth of the matter is that for quite a while, I felt like I didn't fit in anywhere. I was no longer single, so my previous niche seemed suddenly closed to me. As to the LDS marrieds/mothers, I was too old to hang out with the other mothers of toddlers and preschoolers, but I didn't have enough kids (or kids the right age) to hang out with most of the women of my own "era", so to speak. Furthermore, with the way that being a Mormon tends to be more a way of life than a simple religious choice, I felt that I couldn't possibly have enough in common with the local women (of other faiths) who like me, had married later and had their children later and in lesser numbers.
Fortunately, as I recently took stock of my life and my circle of friends, I've found that just the opposite has turned out to be true. To my surprise, I've found that the glorious flip side of not having nearly everything in common with one group of people is that I generally have something in common with almost every group of people. I'd forgotten the critical fact that when all is said and done, people are pretty much people. I've found that I can still remember/relate with my single friends, and with the other women my age I can laugh about how we're all slowly but surely turning into our own mothers. With the other young mothers (which I define as "mothers of young kids", since I don't think I can honestly classify myself as "young" anymore) I can trade crock pot recipes and playdates, and laugh about the time that little Clayton took a brand new roll of aluminum foil and wallpapered the kitchen with it.
Perhaps most gloriously of all, I've found a wealth of wisdom, laughter, and understanding with the friends I've made who are in my same situation with regard to age and children, but are in a different situation with regard to the details of faith.
In short, it's worked out well for me. As is often the case, what I thought was an inconvenience or a burden originally has turned out to be nothing less than a blessing, the means of giving me a richer, more interesting, more enjoyable life than I probably would have had otherwise. Lucky. That's me.
*Not her real post. Not my real post either, come to that.