The Cheese Stands Alone

Another school event is approaching. One of those for parents to attend to learn more information about something or other. I dread these events.

I know a lot of parents, through my sons sports programs and other school events. However, there are none that I would consider my friend. I really don't have that much trouble in social situations, I can approach a stranger and strike up a conversation with them (or put out their cigarette!), however, I always feel like a third wheel at the school functions. The couples inevitably talk to each other or to other couples. It seems as if a lot of the parents are friends with other parents--in that married way that happens. And then there's me. Almost like an outcast, but not quite...I'm accepted, I'm just not made to feel very welcomed.

For instance, last time I went to one of these functions, I sat down with a couple who my son has been friends with for the last two years. We all said hello and gave big smiles to each other. We did the typical "how are things going" small talk and then the burden rested on me to keep myself in the conversation. If I do not say another word, normally what happens is that they will talk to each other and I will sit quietly, wishing it was appropriate to bring my MP3 player (and it would have been a blessing to have during the band concerts!). I'm great at asking other peoples questions or making comments that might lead into a conversation, but I DO feel as if the burden is on me to keep myself in their world while I'm nearby them. Maybe it's just the area I live in, but it seems as if people are very insular. The parents of the kids that my son hangs out with never make an effort to talk to me, even when the kids are making plans, we don't talk. I am not looking for a new best friend, but some kind of a friendship would be nice, and very welcome. I think if I never even said hello, they wouldn't bother to go out of their way to do so. Maybe I'll try that sometime.

I see the same parents every week for about 9 months out of the year at sporting events. I bet there is not one of them who know anything at all about me that they didn't learn by just looking at me. No one has ever made an effort to ask about anything, not about me and not about my son, and not about school, or sports, etc. Maybe I'm asking too much. I just think that when you see someone on a somewhat regular basis, it is a natural thing to be somewhat connected to them, and I have no connection with 99% of them. (Though I do highly enjoy that other 1%!)

There is something that makes me very sad at these things. I think the biggest factor is that I do not have anyone to share in my joy/horror/love/fear of having a teenager. At band concerts, I was the sole proud parent of the solo trumpet player. At school conferences, I was the only one to share in the joy of having each teacher tell me "he's doing just great! keep up the good work!" I miss the companionship of having someone care about this wonderful little "creature" that I'm raising...

It's a great adventure being a single mom, one that I feel like I AM strong enough for....but nonetheless, that does not prevent me from dreading the school events.



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