Freedom Friday– every [ok, not really every lately] Friday I free myself from a burden, either an old embarrassing story, a secret phobia, a lie I told and got away with, a fear I can’t win, or something else to be determined. I want to free myself from secrets to end those nagging moments when I can’t sleep at night, or those random thoughts that pop in my head for no reason other than their need to get expelled from my psyche. We all need to free ourselves from self-recrimination, to open ourselves up and face our fears. Freedom Friday is my attempt to do that, and in turn take ownership of my guilt so it doesn’t eat me alive anymore.
Do you know what it feels like to have your first grader tell you they had to make up a new imaginary friend because at least that friend would play with her on the playground? I hope you never hear those words. Take my word for it that it is soul crushing.
I am about as graceful at social situations as a greased up turtle is at climbing out of a bathtub. I am obviously not the right mom for Twinkle Toes, a kid who needs help in the socializing department. How am I, awkward turtle extraordinaire, going to teach my brilliant, gregarious and insanely intelligent daughter how to make school friends? She has a lovely neighbor girl that she gets along with very well and a few really good friends we met through church, but no one in first grade in her school gives her the time of day.
We all learn by example, right? And if her example of appropriate social engagement and communication is me then the poor kid was set up to not understand the importance of social boundaries, or avoiding topics of discomfort to others, or small talk.Twinkle is amazing and people do like her for who she is, but I am such a crappy socializer that it is my fault she doesn’t make more friends. I have doomed my kids to taking the circuitous route to friendship, full of awkward pauses and faux pas, simply by being me.
There is nothing quite like parenting to make you feel like a failure.
I know I sound hard on myself. It is amazing, though, that every week I come out of my shell and post a confession I stop beating myself about the topic at hand soon after. I do know there are benefits to being socially awkward. The kids watch me dance uninhibited in public, sing loud and off-key whenever I want to, and never stop to think about what something looks like before I jump in and have fun. I just want them to feel popular. And perfect. And smart. And every possible positive thing about themselves. I never want them to rely on a pretend friend because they can’t summon a real one out of their 30 person classroom of peers.