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Sara Eisen

Sara Eisen

Sara is a journalist and editor.

Two little blue lines. Not one. Two. You are going to be a Mom. How did this happen to me, you ask? Well...I don't think I need to draw you a map. OK. Time to breathe. And then it's time to think. Hard. First things first: Tell your parents (or guidance counselor, who can help you tell your parents), and tell your lover. Easier said than done, I know, but if you were grown-up enough to have sex, you are grown-up enough to face the unpleasantness of these confrontations. Next: Consider your options. First, you could decide to raise the baby. As a mother, I can tell you that this choice should not be taken lightly.

There she is. All smiles and charm and wide gestures and tilted head. Sparkling eyes, loud-ish giggle. Great clothes, great style, great posture, probably great looking. Of course, you can barely see her because she is surrounded by what looks like a bunch of Secret Service agents, but you know she's there. Everyone does. She is the popular girl. And while you may make fun of her, you and your best friend, when you are sure no one can hear you - how shallow or petty or fake she is, I'll bet that for at least five minutes every day, you wish you were her. Or at least, her best friend. Someone who slept at her house sometimes, tried on her clothes.

Some time just past childhood and before adulthood, our peers become our central focus: who likes us, who we like, who we dress the same as, who we wouldn't be caught dead with. It's like the whole world suddenly revolves around our friends. But what really makes a peer a friend? How can you tell if you are in it for the perks, or if you also love the quirks? Is it the person or her closet full of clothes and popular friends? The person or his awesome CD collection? Are you just thrown together by circumstance, or is this a bud worth seeing also outside of chemistry class? Does it matter? Of course it does. Here's why: True friendship, the kind where beyond having interests in common, you also like who is inside, is the only kind that lasts.
I recently asked an 18-year-old guy if he believed in platonic relationships between guys and girls. His answer was interesting: "Only if there's a barrier," he said, "like if she's dating your friend or if she's your cousin. But generally - I'd say no." After years of field research on the subject (hey, someone has to do it) I have found this to be true. "We're only friends" is a cop-out: it means you don't know each other that well, that one of you feels something the other doesn't, or that you are lying to yourselves. Strike this comment if one of you is gay or attached, or if you are related. It is my feeling that when you have a close friend of the opposite sex, with whom you share everything and where no mitigating factors exist, at least one of you will be harboring deeper feelings for the other.
Invisible. That's what I was when I was with Nikki, my best friend. Ten years later and it's still with me. She had some light inside her body, or something, that drew the guys to her like insects (which isn't such a bad comparison, right?) The weird thing is, she was no prettier than I was. We were both smart, both capable, and neither of us were "easy" - - but there she was, center stage, while I hung back, kind of like her little sister, tagging along.
We have all been there: Madly crushing on someone, and trying to piece together clues like some two-bit detective. Did he mean I looked good, as in, better than yesterday when I looked stupid? Or did he mean I looked good, as in, he'd love to have a bite? Does she think I'm cool, as in, yeah, let's hang out? Or does she mean cool, like, cool enough for her? Well, how do we find out? None of us ever wants to ask for a clarification, unless we are sure what the answer will be. And there comes a point when having your best friend scout for you is pathetic.

My friend Elaine is 36 years old but she has not yet learned to sit. She can stand, occasionally, but generally, she's in motion. She is chasing her two-year-old, wiping chocolate off her four-year-old daughter's lovely face, or teaching her seven-year-old to ride a bike or her nine-year-old to jump rope. She is outside with them all afternoon, or inside, baking or doing projects. When the kids go to sleep, Elaine cleans or paints something. Thursday nights, she cooks two full meals (feasts, really) for her frequent weekend guests.

When my son was five, he looked me squarely in the eye and proclaimed me to be the meanest mommy in the whole wide world. Ever. I must admit, it was a bit of a shocker. I mean, I'm young. I remember being five. I try to be understanding, try to put myself in his shoes. But, dammit, he can not pretend to be Zorro and run down the street wielding a sharp metal pole he found in the clearing. Even if that makes me the Wicked Witch of the West. The next thought I had was terrifying.
For the past few months, while preparing for this site to re-launch, I've been hanging out on the discussion boards and reading through the questions that come in. They remind me of why a part of me is so glad I'm not a teen anymore... And why, occasionally, especially now that summer's here, I wish I could go back there.... I don't need to tell you that the thrills and the disappointments, the pain and the euphoria, are at much closer intervals - and are much more intense - during the teen years than at most other times in life.
Not too long ago, in a far away place called reality, people lived, loved and worked in private. Regular people, living in places like Bakersfield and Decatur, were dentists and flower shop owners. They read books in the evenings and went to movies on the weekends and watched TV. Nobody watched them. Movie stars lived in Hollywood, and we paid them to entertain us. Then something happened.
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