Our son started kindergarten this year (as I’ve talked about) and this is a first for him as far as being able to really make friends. He was around 2.5 or 3 when the pandemic started so he missed his first year of pre-k entirely and then he was only part time last year. But this year—he has gone all out. He NEEDED this outlet and this relationship with a peer. The interesting thing about making friends in this day and age is that the parents learn to make friends as well. I don’t know how social some of you are, but making friends as an adult is weird. Like, we have all of our individual nuances in our lives where we are comfortable in who we are and we don’t care what people think, but we know we need other people. So…do we show ourselves in all of our weirdness? Absolutely. The beautiful thing about making friends as adults is being able to fully express who you are and knowing/recognizing authenticity off the bat. Granted we don’t HAVE to be friends with our kid’s friends’ parents, but it is nice.
So we had my son’s friend and his family over yesterday night and it was beautiful. This was one instance I didn’t feel nerves when it came to having people over and I didn’t feel like I needed to put on a show or anything. That was a good sign. Like our kids, we start on wobbly legs trying to find our comfort zone with each other but as soon as I opened the door, we hugged. There was no hesitation at all. For me, that’s an immediate ice breaker. I noticed that the closeness of our sons made it easier from the beginning. The fact that these boys had so much fun together from day one of Kindergarten Readiness Camp made me recognize there were similarities in us as well. Not just in our parenting, but in our history. I believe in being open with everyone and allowing people to be who they are, but we have a different type of bond with people when we have a shared experience. And the only way we know about shared experience is if we talk about it.
Again adulting is weird and we get set in these patterns and it’s amazing how some of us think we have to show ourselves a certain way with certain people. It’s the energy we give off, truly. I totally understand some people are more closed off and reserved—I’m usually one of them until I get to know you. But whether we believe in it or not, we all pick up on energy and we can tell by the environment we walk into what someone believes in and who they are. It doesn’t matter what they say, it’s the energy they give off. I have created an environment of what I try to think of as organized chaos thinly veiled with some fun decorations and a lot of my son’s toys around. Some people in our age group are in a different boat than that. We found some parents who are exactly where we are.
I want to be clear on the latter point about finding people where we are: this isn’t about comfort zone. These are people we just met so this is more about relational experience versus finding someone in the same emotional state. Now, after spending an amazing evening with them, I do see we have a lot in common as far as where we are emotionally, but it didn’t start that way. It started with common ground from where we were—literally. We went OUT of our comfort zone to create a new relationship with people we only met a few months ago. Ok, I know for some of you this isn’t anything major, I’m just talking about life here. But for those of us working multiple jobs, working more than full time, raising young kids, helping aging parents, and all of the other things life brings our way, taking a moment to step out of that chaos and to be SEEN and HEARD and MET where you are is a beautiful thing. It’s about feeling safe in who you are and allowing others to be seen as well. So we took the example from our son and allowed some vulnerability through—and it opened a gateway to something valuable for all of us.