This evening I am having dinner with a group of women. None of us has children. On this particular occasion, it was planned that way, but the dinner came about because we’d all recently attended a barbeque hosted by a mutual friend and realized that being childless was the one single thing that all the women present had in common.
If you asked me, I’d tell you that “most of my friends have children,” because that’s how it feels to me, but when I take a closer look, I see that’s not exactly true. While I have many friends who have children, the people I see most often don’t. Of the group of five women I run with several times a week, only one has children. The same ratio applies to my closest neighbors and my writing group. I have two friends from high school who I’ve stayed in touch with over the years. Neither of them has children either. And if I decided to throw a dinner party for ten people, most of the people at the top of my guest list would have either no children or grown children.
“Yes,” I’d argue, “but most of my oldest and very best friends have children.”
That’s true, but these days my oldest and very best friends are the ones I see the least. Maybe it’s because my friends with children don’t get to go to dinner or out to see a play on a whim. Or maybe that now I won’t be a parent I find that I’m gravitating towards birds of a similar feather.