Losing mileage in milestones
My little brother is getting married. In terms of milestones, I’d say this is right up there with that time I found out all four of my best friends got pregnant at the same time. Instead of being happy for them, I was devastated.Cara was the first to go. She’d fallen for a Brit and announced she was moving to London permanently. London. This, coming from a girl who got cold living in San Diego and dreamed of settling in the tropics, a girl who cranked the heat and wore a wool beanie in the middle of August whenever she drove her Jeep with the top down.”I can’t believe Cara is moving to London,” I said over french toast monte cristos and upside down pineapple pancakes one morning at the Beach Grass Café, one of our favorite restaurants. We’d always go there and order so much food I always got the feeling it made our waiter uncomfortable. This was Southern California after all, where girls aren’t supposed to eat. Everything on the menu was so good we’d order a bunch of stuff and share everything, not at all uncomfortable with dipping our forks into each other’s plates. We were like sisters, the West coast/surfer girl version of the Sex and the City girls.”I think we should all go there for a visit and just whoop it up in London and then maybe take the train under the channel to Paris. I’ve always wanted to do that,” I continued, feeling my mood lighten as a poured maple syrup over the hodgepodge of items on my plate, even the spicy egg dishes.”Um, I have something to tell you …” Ashley said.”Me too,” said Risa.One by one they broke the news of their pregnancies and impending weddings (none of the babies were planned but all of them wanted) as I sat there in awe and eventually started to cry.”You’re supposed to be happy for me,” Ashely said.”I am happy for you,” I replied, lying down on the leather booth seat to hide my face.”Then why are you crying?” Risa asked.”Tears of joy,” I said. “Tears of joy.”I had sort of forgotten what that feels like, even though all those milestones have sort of surpassed me, left me in the dust like all those mountain bike races I entered and lost in college. One by one, these women in their slick sponsor jerseys and matching shorts with those Smith slider sunglasses would blow by me, splattering me with mud, caking my eyes with dirt.That’s how it was when all my friends got into ivy league schools and I took an extra year at an overpriced boarding school to try to get my grades up (don’t even ask how that turned out). That’s how it was during the Wedding Era when all my friends got engaged, flashed their big rocks and bragged about their expensive designer dresses and had elaborate weddings on opposite coasts every other weekend. That’s how it was when all my friends got pregnant and then got pregnant again precisely two years later, sending those horrendous online photo albums that are always unedited. You know what I’m talking about, those endless slideshows with like 500 versions of the same photo, of the toddler holding their amoeba-looking newborn like they might strangle the new baby by accident any second.Still the years keep flying by and still these milestones escape me, or maybe I’ve escaped them, it’s hard to tell. Last night I had that recurring wedding dream when I decide on the day of my wedding that I want to cancel, usually because I can’t find anything to wear. In last night’s dream, the only dress I could find was a gray sequin evening gown with a fox fur collar. (I know, I know: Save it for your shrink). I know – I’m so deep and complicated.Still everyone keeps telling me, “It can happen overnight. You meet the right guy and boom – your life changes just like that.”So it’s kind of weird that my little brother, who is seven years younger than me is getting married first. It’s a little strange that he’s marrying a girl who is only 20 years old, a girl I’ve never met, a girl who doesn’t speak English and couldn’t be more different than me.We’re also talking about my baby brother here – the kid whose diapers I changed, the kid who I taught to drive, the kid who did his first bong hit and drank his first beer with my creepy friends from college (since my parents will never let me forget it, I thought I’d mention it again here).The thing is, the kid is so happy. He’s also been on his best behavior ever since he met this girl, making it clear to everyone that she brings out the best in him.He’s also very clear about what he wants, making sure he has everything she’ll need in place when she eventually comes to the States, including a condo he bought just for her that’s within walking distance to his office in Dillon and to the bus, so she can commute to her new job in Breckenridge, which he’s also set up.I have to admit I’ve learned a few things from him, like, how a girl is supposed to be treated when a guy has the right intentions. (If you couldn’t gather from my last column, that’s not how it’s been going for me lately. I’ve managed to surround myself with enough dysfunctional men that, even when you put them all together, they still don’t add up to one complete person. And yes, I’m including my dog in that equation).Now that my baby brother is all grown up, maybe I should follow his lead. Except then I might have to grow up too.The Princess needs salsa dancing lessons. Send your loving email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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My first step onto the natural lake ice is tentative as I launch off on a thin, stainless-steel blade. Will the ice support me? Will I go plummeting through into a hypothermic bath?