Sheltered: For the last three years, coddled, pampered, and downright sheltered.
Two years of pre-k and one year of kindergarten at a place that provided outstanding teachers, security, comfort. Small classes. Familiar faces. Friends you could count on in a time of need. And, released at noon every day to go and enjoy a lunch/playdate at Chick-fil-a. Maybe even catch an after school movie. Pretty day? The nearest park was always a sure go-to. It was the life of luxury.
But those days are over. And, now I’m feeling nervous. Ok. Nervous is an understatement. I’m downright scared. I’m not too fond of change. I don’t want to go to a new school and a big kid school at that. It gives me sweaty palms just thinking about it.
No getting out of school at noon here. And, getting up in the morning while it’s still dark outside is brutal! Having to be somewhere at 7:15 am when you use not to have to be somewhere until 8:30 am makes a world of difference.
And, the size of it all. Wow! Big kid school compared to a private preschool establishment where you used to spend most of your days well, it’s a MAJOR game changer. How will I ever know how to maneuver these halls? It’s a maze! Before, I just had to decide where to turn. Right or left. That was it. So simple. So friendly. So nice.
But, what I miss the most about my old school is the people. They had a way of making you feel so comfortable. So secure. So at home. I left at noon every day with the assurance that I had friends that I could talk to, count on, laugh with. These same friends embraced me with warm welcomes when I was the new kid. I miss them. I want to find more of them. But being the new kid at a small school vs. being the new kid at a big school, it’s like night and day.
Now that I’ve been going to this new big kid school, I can’t even count the number of times I’ve left feeling a bit lost, overwhelmed, and even a little sad. I’ve never done well with cliques. Yet, around me, I see lots of them, and I have to admit I kind of wish they’d see me. It blows to be the newbie. The outsider. The clueless one who doesn’t know the school gym from the cafeteria. I want my mommy. Maybe next time, one of them will ask me to sit with them at the next room mom meeting. I’m a good friend to have. And I can be pretty funny.
Oh, you thought I was a FIRST GRADER going to a brand new big kid school? Nah. I’m just her mom. But, you know us moms, we can get anxiety over new experiences too. And, sometimes, all it would take is a welcoming smile, an introduction, an “OMG! Our girls have the same backpack!” Real friendships have been made that way, you know? I’m not asking for a welcome wagon or a meal train, just a sign that shows, “We are in this together. Climb aboard.”
So, next time you see the mama in a new place, the mama who looks a little flustered, a tad bit scared, and unsure of herself be the first to pat her on the back and tell her, “You are welcome here!” I promise she’ll thank you for it, and if she’s like me, she’ll buy you a latte from Starbucks.
Besides, if we aren’t open to meeting new people and making new friends, how will our children learn to be inclusive and accepting of those that are new and those that are different? That right there is enough reason to welcome the outsider with open arms. You might form a real friendship from doing so. And, you will show your children to be accepting human beings who are open to new experiences and making new friends.
Parenthood is hard enough. The more we have in our tribe, the better off we will be. So be that mama, the “You can sit with us,” mama. I promise you there’s someone out there that will be so grateful for you. You can make a huge difference!
As a mother, have YOU ever felt like an outsider?