Bug and I met V and Essie at the aquarium this morning, and all four of us had a blast. I particularly loved referring to them as "the girls," as in, "Will you keep an eye on the girls for a second?" It felt so...natural? Adorable? We were just running around looking at fish/sharks/penguins/jellyfish/turtles/etc with our kids. Best of all, I think it might become a Wednesday morning tradition - the playdates, not always the aquarium.
It emphasized a frustration I've been having lately, though. Nannying usually fills my kid quota, and while I want one, I at least get to spend time with some. The past week has been different. Each time I'm with a kid who's not mine, or who's only mine in that I've borrowed him or her for a bit, it rubs me the wrong way. It's so close to being right without being right. It's the fact that I have to take them home, that I have to leave the house, that I never would've given him that haircut, that I wouldn't make her eat all that, that I don't get to make the endless decisions and share the endless moments of a parent.
I know I've talked about this before. And I know we aren't ready. I was thinking earlier about how we want to go to a local amusement park this summer, and it crossed my mind to be grateful that we didn't have a baby, so we could go on rides together. That's just the little stuff. But at the same time, I'm so ready. I'm ready to be invested in the kid(s) I'm with. To be fully present, fully involved. I know this counts, and I know I'm involved in the kids' lives. But there's still part of me that wants the real deal. As if this isn't real. But...it's not. In a way, I'm still just playing Mommy. I've been doing that since I was four. When can I grow up?