The pride I feel as I watch my children running around the McDonald’s playground giggling with a room full of kids, beams right from the depths of me. The fears I carried with me that they would inherit my shyness gene dissipates with each squeal I hear coming from within those bright yellow tube slides.
I’m a little in awe, to be honest, at how easily they make friends. Wherever we go, within minutes my two little guys have scoped out the place for kids and have, without hesitating, approached at least one of them to play. Before I even settle in Ms. J is usually holding hands with a little girl she’s just met and I hear the sound of kids yelling Mr. T’s name.
I have to admit that at first I had a concern in the back of my heart that my children, like myself, would be timid.
As a kid I was painfully shy. I mean the kind of kid who hid behind her mother’s legs. In school I tried my best to just blend into the crowd. Typically I was the one who waited in the corner for someone to approach me and I still will not just walk up to a stranger and chat them up. I was always trying to find my place, trying to find a label that fit me. For some reason I felt like if I found that one label that was me, I would find my place and would magically become assertive. I spent most of my youth searching for this label that didn’t even exist.
As I grew older my shyness showed itself in strange ways. I was uncomfortable with silence. It made me feel as though I was being judged so I just talked through any silent moments and had a tendency to just blabber on ridiculously. I started to avoid certain situations that made me anxious especially when new people were involved.
I never had a problem making friends so I’m not particularly sure where these anxieties stemmed from. I just knew that I didn’t want my children to spend their lives avoiding situations where they may have to walk into a room of people they didn’t know.
From almost birth I took both Mr. T. and Ms. J to playgroups, mom and baby yoga and aquafit classes both in hopes that surrounding them with a lot of kids would help them be comfortable around other children as well as surrounding myself with other mums would help me feel a little less abnormal.
There is no way of ever knowing if their friendly personalities are just who they are or if it’s a result of all the groups they were involved in from so early on. Regardless of the reason, it warms my heart as I watch them race around a room with a bunch of kids they just met. It makes me feel better as I watch them invite others to play with them and I know they aren’t hiding behind my legs.
I had always wondered how I would handle it if my children were struggling to make friends in school but instead when I do get calls from the teacher she always mentions how social Mr. T. is and how all the little boys in class love to play with him.
With every worry that I carry with me all day long this is just one worry I can fold away for now. I know that, as they grow up, they are both going to have to find their own places and determine their own paths. Going through that part of life is so much easier if you aren’t wasting your energy just trying not to be noticed.
I hope making friends continues to be this easy for Mr. T. and Ms. J, I have a feeling it will. For now I will enjoy watching them putter around the neighborhood surrounded by kids. I will revel in the laughter and imagination. I will pause a moment and watch as they delight, without a care in the world, in their own childhood.