Fifth wheel

As a divorced woman it’s not unusual for me to feel like an interloper when surrounded by families. 

Swim meets are full of cheering moms and dads. My babies only have me there so I’ve learned to cheer loud (okay VERY loud) so they don’t feel like less. 

School functions…important events…I am usually a party of one. The first time I had an empty chair beside me at an event it broke my heart. Now I’ve gotten used to it. It twinges now and than but it doesn’t break me any longer. 

I am their biggest and loudest fan. They will always see me there, smiling in glee or sobbing in pride, but always there. 

Yesterday I had the wonderful experience of feeling like a fifth wheel. An old fifth wheel. To add insult to injury I was the old, fifth wheel to my children and their beaus.

After a wildly successful championship sweet meet I offered to feed my fella, his gal; my gal and her fella. I shamelessly wanted to be part of their celebration. They let me go. I am pretending it was because they wanted me to be part of the celebration too. 

On all likelihood they just wanted me to pay. 

We loaded up on my little be-beep-hi car. Fella and his girl in the front. Me and the other 2 in the back. They played their music…and I use that term very loosely…while I sat in the back and pretended to be cool. Hard to do with my ears bleeding. I even gave a gallant effort of rapping a few words to Eninem’s tune. I failed but I tried. They seemed to give me an A for effort. 

Off to Olive Garden we went. I didn’t even gag (aloud anyway) when they selected the place. I can be a good sport when I have to be!

The lovebirds in front held hands. The lovebirds in training sitting in back with me held hands. I held my yeti.  Hey, I love my yeti. It worked.

The cuties up front giggled and laughed. The younger cuties in back did too. I looked out the window. 

At one point the little friend in back leaned over my girl and asked,”Do you feel like a fifth wheel?”

Damn. Way to lose some brownie points dude. I did but having it pointed out that I was one stung just a bit. 

We arrived. Big fella and his love peeled off to sit with their crew. So much for bonding. My girl and her little friend grabbed a booth. They seemed to have a genuine good time. They laughed and talked and included me in their antics. 

After dinner the couples decided to go see a movie. I argued it would be cheaper if they rented one and came home to watch it. They were polite about dismissing that idea. 

I even hinted that I’d be willing to see a movie. They simply pretended not to hear that part. Guess there are limits to how much you have to endure when the fifth wheel is your mom. 

They dropped me off at home and off they went…my 2 babies on a double date. 

I curled up with an old movie, a book and the 2 dogs. 

I’d planned to serve wine at my little pity party. But in the end, I didn’t have a pity party. So I was a fifth wheel? My fella and my girl were happy. They’d not denounced relationships after seeing the mistakes of their mom. They’d met nice young kids that made them laugh, that made their heart beat a little faster and brought them happiness. Hard to lament about your lack of love when your little ones are falling in love. 

And…though they didn’t have much choice…they’d seemed very willing to have me tag along. At one point, after his friends had left, my little guy slid into the booth with me and laid his head on my shoulder. My girl effusively thanked me for attending the meet and buying dinner. All 4 made conversation with me. All 4 seemed content to be there…with me…even though I was a fifth wheel. 

Riding home on the dark I had a sudden glimpse that this could be my future. Me, alone, until my children and their friends/spouses Converged upon me and swept me up in their company. 

But who cares? As long as they come around, as long as they let me share their company…well…being a fifth wheel isn’t so bad. At least I get to be at the party with the people I love the most!


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