AddThis script

Friday, September 05, 2014

High school at 40

Apparently all it takes to slap me back into the social awkwardness of high school is a gathering of moms from my son’s school. As I walked down the hill to the wine event, there were sweaty palms and my heart pounded from under my blouse. “What if I don’t know anyone?” I asked myself. “Or what if no one talks to me?” I fretted.

Rewind 20 minutes earlier when I'd joked with my husband about a children’s story we have stacked on the shelf called “Pelican and Pelicant.” It’s about two birds, one who is confident and one who isn’t. I was feeling very Pelicant. He talked me up (as good spouses do) and pushed me out the door. “Have a good time,” he called after me.

As I entered the crowded house, another mom was stepping up the stairs behind me. “Apparently I’m not the last one,” I said to her just before introducing myself. “And there are more behind us,” she said. “I just saw some people parking.” Her name was familiar and we exchanged niceties before I went to look for the hostess. Not knowing what to bring, I had a small paper bag filled with fresh figs and plums from our garden.

She was in the kitchen pouring champagne. I said hello, and she welcomed me with a glass. From there I turned and began talking to a mom that I recognized from when C and her daughter were in the same 1st grade class. We had a good long talk about school and kids and the unexpected parts of life. It was in the conversation that I realized that probably most of the women at that party only knew a couple of other people, or maybe just one other person.

As the night went on, I ended up chatting to a bunch of women I recognize from school but had never talked to. As it turns out, they were all friendly. There were no sorority pranks. After two glasses of champagne, I may have even admitted to a few that I’d been secretly wanting to be friends with them, which is true. And then I even felt comfortable sharing how nervous I felt on my way down and how silly it was.

From there, I wished I’d had a piece of paper to share something with them I learned from one of my best friends. “Pretend my hand is a piece of paper,” I said as I held it out flat. I drew a circle on my palm. “Imagine that inside the circle I wrote the words comfort zone.” Then I pointed at another part of my palm. “Now imagine that it says magic way over here,” I said. “This is where the magic happens.” And that’s pretty much how I felt. I got out of my comfort zone and found magic.

Just like I always tell my kids, you can never have too many friends to turn to on the playground. And now I have more people to turn to while I’m standing outside the school waiting, or while I’m at back-to-school night, or at Spaghetti Bingo—our school’s annual fundraiser. My only regret—doing my little awkward dance when telling people about how nervous I’d felt before the party.

No comments:

Post a Comment