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A minor character

I’m a writer and a reader so I tend to think of life as a book. Or plays, or poems, or whatever. I notice repeated imagery, pay attention is symbolism, look for predictable plot twits, that sort of thing.

And, as the leading character in the internally narrated novel that is my life, I’ve always considered my story pretty interesting. There were the turbulent but formative sexual exploits of my high school and college careers. The single-gal about town of my early twenties and then a sort of romantic-comedy aspect to early married life. I’ve jumped out of airplanes, been to Europe plenty of times, I have a 32 on the Purity Test, I read books and meet really fascinating people, I often wind up in comic situations… yeah, I’d read a book about me.

Until lately. Lately, I’m… dull. I’ve been suddenly relegated to a supporting role. Everyone else is doing interesting things: The BFF is getting a divorce and moving out of her house and getting a masters and that’s a little sad, but also hugely interesting. A great opening for a Jennifer Crusie novel. One of my friends in NYC just took the Bar and she’s got a job with a six-figure salary, and wasn’t that the whole premise of a TV show last year? My friend M is getting poetry published and getting a new security clearance at her scientific top-secret work! What a great indy film! J is getting her PhD in an obscure and pointless field — calling Richard Russo! S is getting his PhD in an exploding, important, potentially lucrative field — calling Tom Clancy! Even my darling husband is wrangling a complicated office situation, fielding job interviews, and hanging out with Republicans.

Me? I’m a walk-on, one-episode character in a sub-sub plot from Desperate Housewives. And it’s not even a sub-plot about me. It’s about The Child, in all of her adorable blonde perkiness, and I’m just the overweight mom who shows up with cookies and clever bon mots.

I’m not moping. Well, sometimes, maybe a little. But I knew this was the role I was taking on when I decided to be a mom. Not just that, a stay-at-home mom. It’s just… strange. I met some friends of the BFF this weekend. Guy friends. And while they were lovely people, nice to chat with, it was very strange to realize that not one of them even glanced at me in a sexual manner. I was just The BFF’s BFF. I was the sidekick.

It’s a bit weird to be a sidekick in your own novel.

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Categories: books, motherhood
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