Tuesday, August 10, 2010

New Friends

So I survived my first day! And not just of thinking positively, but older child's first day of school. I'll admit, I was a little misty-eyed as I dropped him off, and I may have woken up in the middle of the night having an anxiety dream -- that every kid had the same school bag as older child (a school bag I specifically ordered online to be different so he wouldn't confuse his lunch with a peanut butter filled one). But I did not wake up and allow myself to obsess over whether or not that could actually happen. Instead, I told myself that everything would be fine, that older child would find his own lunch, be happy, make friends. And as I got ready to leave him in his classroom for the first day, I stood back and watched him.

He looked a little nervous at first, but then I saw him walk up to another kid, introduce himself, ask the kid what his name is, and shake his hand! Then the two of them sat down and started working on a puzzle together. Just like that.

The second part of the positivity regimen in that article I mentioned yesterday is to see the good in other people. I actually do feel I do that to some degree already, as I'm usually the one willing to give people I know the benefit of the doubt. But sometimes, I am quick to judge people I don't know, and I realized, watching older child make a new friend, that I don't do it to the degree I should, or, to the the degree he does. I must have been different once, when I was older child's age, when I first met my best friend as I wrote about yesterday.

It's not that I don't have friends now, because I am fortunate to have some good ones. But I will also admit that I don't always try hard enough to make new ones. There were some parents I saw last year every single day at older child's preschool and never had an actual conversation with.

So yesterday, I kissed older child goodbye, and then I stood outside the classroom for a few minutes, watching, to make sure he was really okay. Next to me was a woman, a stranger, who I realized was doing the same. If older child could make a new friend, just like that, then could I?

I did something that I normally would not have: I introduced myself, and then we started talking, each pointing out our children to the other, chatting about our feelings about leaving them there for the first day, and what that was going to mean for both of us. I learned that she had done this before, that this was her youngest, not her oldest child, and somehow, that made me feel better. As I walked away, I felt good, not sad. I felt older child would be fine, and I would be just fine.

On the way home I thought about the way I see other people and the way they might see me. And I thought about how older child had taught me something, that connecting with people we don't know is easier than we think it is. That seeing the good in people doesn't only mean giving them the benefit of the doubt, but also opening yourself up to new friendships without hesitation.


  1. When it comes to trying to creating new friendships, I'm the same way. I'm more of a shy person so it's hard for me to just start talking to someone. I'm not great at small talk and usually end up standing there feeling dumb. But as they say, practice makes perfect, right? This is something I need to work on and will make an effort to. :)

  2. Stacy, I'm a shy person, too, or definitely more of an introvert, so this was kind of a big deal for me yesterday. If I can do it, you can do it :-)

  3. Yes, introvert - that's the word I need to use. Saying I'm shy makes me feel like I'm back in grade school. :)

  4. In real life I am a shy person, if I go anywhere where I don't know anyone but the people I went with I'll either stick close to them or hide in a corner until it's time to leave. But online I'm a social butterfly.