Wednesday, March 25, 2009

My idea of fun.

Earlier this week, I was sitting on a friend's front porch watching our kids run around the yard, lamenting about the moms' group picnic in the park I had reluctantly RSVPd to attend the following day. I was telling her that shy and introverted people like me are not really into group activities or meeting people or even leaving the house if we don't have to. "I am so not a joiner. You know what I mean?"

To my surprise, she did not know what I meant. In fact, she started calling me all kinds of crazy things like friendly and outgoing and social. I was sitting there like, Do you have any idea who you're talking to? I'm shy! But the more we talked the more ridiculous it seemed to defend something I had so obviously left in the past.

Shy people don't sign up for neighborhood moms' groups with mandatory monthly attendance. Or stalk say hi to the hip hop teacher when she shows up for Saturday morning Zumba. Or give themselves a much needed curfew to reel in the late night socializing. Shy people don't go out of their way to ask potential strangers who kinda look familiar if they happened to take a hula hoop class a year and a half ago. Or give awkward hugs to mere acquaintances they are really excited to see.

I may have been shy for most of my life but it appears that ship had sailed.

It's weird to think that something that was a part of me for so long is just...gone. But, I suppose it was bound to happen. I mean, how could I go from lying spread eagle on the delivery table in a room full of strangers, screaming at the nurse to "get over here NOW!" (and by here I meant my totally naked hoo ha) back to so much as a shadow of my former self?

It's just like that commercial says - having a baby changes everything.

Maybe that's why moms' groups are so popular. Meeting up with a bunch of strangers in the park is a piece of piss after the dignity stripping initiation that comes with bearing a child. I mean, once you've put yourself out there like that (sooo literally), what the heck else could possibly be intimidating?

Still, joining a group that required actual physical attendance at least once a month was somewhat outside my comfort zone. I am all for offering support or striking up a friendship from the comfort of my own laptop but the idea of dragging myself and my reluctant child out the door for some good old fashioned socializing sounded about as fun as picking up dog poo.

I am not a big fan of being told what to do (and where to go and who to talk to at the park), but especially not when it involves my child. Liam is not one of those super mobile, go wherever I want him to go, bloom where he's planted kind of kids. And he's quite opinionated about what is fun and what is not. Once he gets to know you he is wonderfully sweet and delightful but you don't always get that from a first impression. I hate feeling like I'm making excuses for him (He just takes a little while to warm up to new people, Thanks for asking but he's not really into playing on the playground equipment, Oh that? It's just his notebook...) but that's sometimes how I feel around people who don't know us.

If you knew us, you'd know that we're sweet as can be but need to be coaxed out of our shells on a regular basis. It's not that we don't like talking to or being with others, because we really do. But we're just as happy being tucked away in our little home, alone or with each other. If the outside world never came a-calling, we might totally forget it was there. We could have given that Swiss Family Robinson a run for their money. Shipwrecked all alone in a beautiful remote location? Sounds good to me. If it hadn't been for those darn pirates, that would have been the perfect family vacation.

Oh, and the moms' group? It was fun. Even for a couple of introverts like us.

Liam even played with another child! I like to think that the more I push myself to be social, the more he will realize that it can actually be quite fun.

After all the other mommies left, Liam and I sat together on a swing, quietly taking it all in. I think he must have been pretty worn out from all the socializing because after a few moments he rested his sweet, sun-warmed head on my lap and kept it there while we swung back and forth, back and forth.

Now that's what I call a perfect play date in the park.


LClaire said...

Being a mom just sounds so . . . WOW, I don't know happy, fulfilling, exciting, sweet, and simple when you write about it - Love it

CelinaQ said...

I have to say, Maggie, I've never thought of you as a shy person.
But I know what you mean about being "shy"--I always described myself that way until one day I realized that I was not only ok with--but actually liked--introducing myself and talking to complete strangers. From that day on, I knew I could no longer call myself shy.
And remember what Eckhart Tolle says about being shy...