I didn’t know. I hadn’t planned anything.
His excited and happy eyes waited expectantly, and my mind flipped frantically through the rolodex of ideas fueled by Pinterest and “Last Day of School!” blog posts and my own goals as a Mom.
We ended up at Rita’s, cooling off with Alex’s Lemonade Italian Ices. He was excited, happy, satisfied. This was a Treat!
“I love the last day of school, Mama. Thank you for bringing me here.”
We laughed and talked about school and what the summer would bring. It was perfect. We were excited, happy, satisfied.
Then, after the kids were in bed. After the scolding about toothbrushing and not hitting your sister and please just be quiet had faded. I saw other people’s Last Day of School photos. And those people were with other people, and those people’s kids were with other people’s kids.
Photos of groups of four and six and seven smiling faces at the playground and at the pool and in someone’s backyard taunted me. “We’re social!” they screamed. “Our kids love to hang out!” they teased. “My kid is much happier than yours is. And he’ll always be more happy!” they flaunted.
That it hadn’t even occurred to me to make plans before the Last Day of School was evidence of my failings. That I had taken my excited and expectant little boy to get an Italian Ice instead of doing something social, something with other people, reminded me of my selfish nature. I know I could be a better Mom, at least when it comes to being social. But I’m tired. And I’m shy. And I judge. And I know that I am judged.
Mostly it’s because I’m tired and shy. Since I have a hard time getting the energy up to be social, it affects my exuberant and friendly son’s social life. And that’s not fair. It would be different if he didn’t want to be social for Last Day of School. It would be different if I had a better excuse than laziness for my anti-social choices. It would be different if I didn’t feel so miserable when confronted with the social animals all around us. It would be different if I didn’t care.
Resolved: This summer will be different. I will not err on the side of ease and convenience. I will “get out” more with the kids. I will stop using the “We moved to the suburbs for a backyard, so that’s where they’ll play” excuse. I will face my fear of rejection and awkward encounters in favor of healthy social relationships for my children.
And if it doesn’t work out, there’s always Rita’s Italian Ice.