I think if you have a child who has a hard time socially you can probably understand how I am feeling right now, Left out! I could care less that my life is not conducive to meeting other families for dinner at a restaurant, or getting together on the weekends after sporting events, or meeting at the beach in the summer for a day of fun while the kids hang together and the parents socialize but I think Trinity is feeling sad about it.
Where I live, as I am sure in most towns around the United States, parents are connected through their children’s friends. You child makes a friend at school, that kid comes over for a play date, the Moms start talking and next thing you know you are BBQing together and the parents become friends and now you have a social network dictated by who plays with who. Well, this doesn’t exist in our home for several reasons. One, I have never quite understood this concept of becoming friends with someone because our children play together. I guess it was because when Tabitha was little, Lou and I were working so hard, we never had free time or money. Any time we spent outside of work or school was with my parents, my sister or my grandparents. As a result I never tried out this concept until Tabitha was in grade school.
Side bar: a funny story…
The first time I invited a few couples over for dinner with their kids, I had no idea who I was dealing with. Tabitha was a student at Carden Hall and lots of the families were very wealthy but I never really thought about it much. I have never been impressed by financial wealth, only wealth of character. Well, this one couple seemed over the top nice all the time but when they entered our tract home they seemed a bit horrified. I am so laughing right now, as I remember this woman’s face. I was really proud of our home on Santa Ana Avenue in Costa Mesa but she just kept looking around rather scared and saying “Oh, it is very quaint.” Haha, I finally understood I was way below her social status when Tiara started throwing tortilla chips onto the ground and running over them with her shoes. I had slate floors at the time, so it was really no big deal. Her eyes were so bugged out, she was having a hard time carrying on with the conversation. As soon as dinner was done, they quickly left and the next year when our daughters were no longer friends she cut me off her Christmas card list. I was shocked and finally understood that we were never really friends but only acquaintances because of our children. Funny enough, 2 years later the girls were friends again and guess what? She sent us a Christmas card that year. How crazy is that? I was always still nice to her, because I can’t deal with that kind of phoney baloney crap and she so wasn’t worth getting angry over.
Because I don’t like hanging with fake people, I decided I would no longer form friendships with other mothers unless I wanted to be friends with them regardless of how our children felt about one another. Despite that one weird couple, I met a few other really great families at Carden Hall and we are still friends today even though our girls hardly ever see each other.
Back to the post at hand. The second and most obvious reason we are not able to socialize like other families is merely because of Tiara. She doesn’t do “well” or rather will refuse to stay any where she isn’t totally engaged or feels comfortable. When she was little I could take her anywhere but now she will run off or lay on the ground in a tantrum if she doesn’t want to be there. Seeing a 150 pound child with a huge afro laying on the ground screaming isn’t usually a good way for Trinity to impress her friends and get more invites. It tends to scare the crap out of other kids.
The other issue is that many of these families operate on “hey I will take your kid home and just pick them up later.” And so they switch off helping each other out and taking turns. Many people offer to help me and once in a while I accept their kind offers, but because I am unable to reciprocate I tend to deny most offers. I can’t take other people’s children because what if Tiara won’t get out of the car, what if she throws a shoe at their head, what if she grabs their neck and hurts them? All these are real possibilities but under controlled circumstances within her routine I can minimize most of these possibilities and keep the friends safe but not during transportation or in the community. Another thing is that most of the kids don’t “get it”. If we are out in the community and I say “we have to go now!” Trinity knows to MOVE OR ELSE something bad is about to happen. Her friends tend to doddle because they don’t realize the urgency of the situation and because they aren’t my own child I am not likely to yell “get your but moving, now!”
So the reason I even started on this topic is because I was discussing Halloween today with a family member. Every year we spend the holiday together at her house. TT and I pass out candy and her hubby takes all the kids trick or treating and lots of people stop by for a drink. This year Lou is working and her children have been invited to trick or treat in another neighborhood with all their school friends. Because the kids don’t go to the same school, they have different friends and she was worried about what we would do on Halloween if we switched up the tradition. I think we figured it out, and I appreciate her worrying about me, but the whole thing made me feel bummed for Trinity that she can’t have a more “normal” social life with her family.
Why does everything seem like it was simpler when I was a kid?
Have a wonderful Tuesday and I am excited to present my new sponsor, Prasad Photography, you will hear more about them and their amazing work on Friday!