I would be a hermit...except that...well, I do have an inner need for social connection, and I need to not be a hermit for the sake of my girls. Yesterday, I went to a birthday party for my daughter's friend from dance class.
When I was a child, I had one group party and it turned out disastorously. I had one little boy who was younger than me that I played with a lot from down the street. He was the only one who showed up. All the girls my age from school didn't. I cried for a good portion of my party. Poor little friend from down the street.
When my oldest was turning one, it was like deja vu from childhood. I invited all the mom's with babies and young toddlers from church. Many said they would come. Some called and canceled. Others just didn't show. In the end, only my friend from Seattle and her family that had come down for the day and my husband's Mom and grandparents made it for that day. I haven't done a "friend" birthday party since.
I don't even believe in "birthday parties" for young kids, per se. I think all the toys that kids get leave them spoiled and consumerist...that is to say that they want more and more and often the gifts have little value to them. It's fun for the kids, but it doesn't teach value. Also, the birthday paries can put an emphasis unfairly on friends and not on family. They learn to look outward for approval.
Yet, not all influences from birthday parties are negative ones. My husband is so great for me. He reminds me that I can choose to let my daughter do a birthday party for a friend or for a few friends who seems like they would be good friends and not say yes to every single birthday party. And, I stayed there at the party and talked with the adults and saw for myself that it was a good positive place. In fact, about half of the girls that were there were homeschooled and most, if not all were from Christian families. And, I stretched myself and talked with others. It was difficult for me, it stretched me, but it was good for me.
Tomorrow I go to the dentist...the hygienist. Now, I hate the dentist for multiple reasons. The insurance we have is an HMO and it feels like we are treated like chattel when we go the dentist. The waiting room is crowded and busy...many of the employees are impatient. I hate that. I have particular distate for individuals who offer poor customer service in whatever they do.
Additionally, the dentist to me, is often a place of bad news. My teeth have weak enamel and despite a lot of attention to brushing and flossing I still get cavities. Better nutrition I think might help me, but I'm still at the place where I eat a good amount of sugar and don't eat all properly prepared soups and dairy and grains (see Sandy Fallon's book Nourishing Traditions for what I mean). I eat more veggies and whole grains and fresh fruits than the typical person I think, but I don't think that helps my teeth so much. And, poor nutrition from an early age paired with poor genetics, just means my teeth are especially susceptible as they didn't form right and my mouth chemistry doesn't help create healthy teeth.
I also don't look forward to going to the dentist because it takes so much from my day. My husband must watch all the kids, including the baby and can't get his work done for that part of the day. I'm not home and can't keep the household moving.
But, I realized tonight that it isn't the disruption of my schedule, the bad news, or the poor customer service that makes the dentist such a dreaded appointment for me. It is the socialness of the appointment. I have to sit one on one with a stranger who may be critical of me in a chair for a good fourty five minutes. And I have to be social with her. I don't like getting my hair cut for the same reason. Oh, my.
And, it's hard...Really, I know, I've heard it...push past your fears...and it opens a new world for you. But, for me social fears are like my fear of heights. I can push and I can push and it DOES get better, but the moment I stop PUSHING it gets harder and harder and harder. So, I have to keep pushing. I don't just get there to that place where I'm not "shy" anymore. Oh, well. In heaven one day. All will be made well.