Little Girl, Little Guy, Tiny Dog and I were all walking up the street to the playground when we passed an apartment building with a bunch of kids outside. My heart started racing as my daughter stopped, waved and said hello to the bunch of girls playing near the sidewalk. They weren’t zombie children, and I wasn’t afraid of “Hunger Games” role-playing. I realized, as I wiped off my sweaty palms, that I was dreadfully nervous about meeting their parents.
Since that event, I have been trying to analyze my fear of meeting new people. I don’t even know when it started. I have always been a bit of a wallflower; not a dejected/rejected wallflower, but content to stand by and observe. I like people, and Meyers-Briggs tests frequently peg me as an ENFP (though I’m on the cusp of being introverted). Why, then, am I terrified of introducing myself to other moms? Is rejection really that terrible?
However, after talking for five minutes, I realized that all of my fears were completely bogus. I didn’t have to explain to these women why my daughter’s shoes were on the wrong feet and her face smeared with jelly. Their daughters’ knotty ponytails and half-eaten peanut butter sandwiches (crusts discarded, naturally) told me that we are all going through the same thing: parenthood. We all had different parenting styles and different children, but coming together with a common ground made it almost as easy to talk to them as it was for our children to talk to each other. What a great stage of life!