Yesterday I was at the wedding of an old schoolfriend. I'll not dwell on what a lovely ceremony it was, or what a lovely location, or how it reminded me of my own wedding (even though they are all very much true). Or even how we won the table top quiz during the wedding breakfast (two sections - one on the bride and groom and the other on general knowledge- with points awarded for the correct, or most amusing, answers).
It was wonderful to meet up with my old schoolfriends who were once so close but whom I now rarely see (rapidly moving towards the old cliche of weddings and funerals - well, just one funeral so far but that's one too many). That the old 'gang' is now 5 rather than 6 gave a poignancy to our meeting, but sad feelings didn't last long at such a happy occasion.
Our lives have changed so much since school - then we shared experiences of going to see gigs, going to clubs, joys and traumas of first relationships, what were we going to be 'when we grew up'. Now - on the whole - we are settled with partners, with careers, with children. In many ways we are very different from who we were. Yet, once we'd caught up on lifechanges, the years just fell away. Conversation flowed, topics came and went, reminiscences and plans for the future were shared. There was no competition about whose house was biggest, who earnt more, whose children were brightest. We just were, together as friends. I really wish I saw them all more often. But it doesn't matter that I don't. They will still be my friends when next we meet.
On a related note, Stuntmother has posted about why she believes children should be included in weddings. The bride and groom had taken the decision to only invite children who were related to them. I can't disagree with this decision, as I did exactly the same at my wedding, yet I will admit to being sad that I would have to leave Ellie and that she would not be able to share the occasion. Yet when I got there I felt quite differently. Meeting up with my old schoolfriends was such a chance to be myself; to remember that I had my own life before being a mother, that I still do have a life separate to my child (and work). Of course I talked about Ellie, of course I showed pictures of her. Not having Ellie there, competing for my attention and needing her needs to be put first, meant that I could immerse myself in the event and in conversations with friends. I needed that. I needed time to be me.
It was the first night I've ever spent away from her. My mother and sister came over to look after her. She was fine (of course). I'd looked forward to not being woken at 5am - particularly since it is my birthday today! But of course old habits die hard and I awoke even without her. I appreciate her even more for being separated for a little while - and I will give her a very big hug at 5am tomorrow.
PS. Sorry this post is a little disjointed - it was a very merry wedding by the end!