Today I'm excited to be linking up with the wonderful women at Incourage. We are linking up and sharing stories about “How do we stop hiding from and open ourselves up to community?”
The first week of Pre-K was a little overwhelming. So many new faces and already little groups were forming. Emotions were on the brink of overflow. My daughter didn’t know the other kids; I didn’t know the other moms. You could tell by looking at her little face that daughter felt out of place, so did I. My oldest daughter was going off to school for the first time. I was excited and nervous for her but at the same time I was overwhelmed with my feelings of being the new girl in high school all over again.
I felt really uncomfortable. I wanted to cry.
We had lived in our small town for a little over four years but I really had not had the chance to meet many people yet. I’d had my hands full with my daughter (4), a toddler (2) and a newborn. The few friends I had lived in other towns and, I wouldn’t be seeing them on playground. My husband would give me pep talks about how important it was to socialize our daughter. We both knew that once she made some connections she would feel more comfortable at school. During those first few weeks of school I knew I had to take the risk and meet some new people but how was I supposed to do that?
It would have been so easy to hide, to stay to myself, to not risk the rejection but I craved community both for my daughter and myself.
It took everything within me and trusting in God to step out of my comfort zone. I made up a set of mommy cards with my contact information and start asking others to come over for lunch or to meet us at the park. It was hard. I brought meals to two of the women in my daughter’s class that had just had a baby. None of this came easy. My desire for my daughter to make friends trumped the fear of putting myself out there.
How was I going to encourage my little girl to make new friends on the playground if I wasn’t willing to do it myself? I needed to model community.
By the end of the year I worked my way through the entire class list and Ava had had at least one play date every child in her class, even the boys. Looking back I can see where I was a little over zealous but it was necessary. It didn’t take long to become a part of our community. I was able to get to know the moms, the caregivers and the kids.
I committed to making friends. I committed not to hide.
Fast forward 5 years and I am still friends with many women I met that year. Many of them are now dear friends who have been there for me in a bind…last minute pickups, carpooling etc. Those women I was nervous about making meals for, they are some of my favorite people to spend time with in town and their little boys have become best buds with my son. While every friendship has not “stuck” and it’s hurt to watch families move way I am grateful for the risks I took. There will always be new class lists, new people to meet and new risks to take but I have learned not to hide as I model community in my home, to my children and others around me.
How can you come out of hiding and connect with community?