I live in a great community. One of the things that sold us on our home here was the neighborhood. We were fortunate enough to find a home at the end of a cul de sac, and a neighborhood filled with lots of kids.
Our kids can play outside, and we know they are safe and having fun. In our old community we didn’t have any kids in the area and it was rare that someone came by and I heard “friends are here…let’s go outside.” So to hear those words all the time is such a gift.
So you would think that neighboring well would be easy….
But in all reality, for a girl like me it just isn’t.
I convinced (bullied, manipulated, forced) Dominic to let me get a table for our front yard. I loved the idea of the #TurquoiseTable movement, bringing the backyard to the front. I had wild ideas about hosting parties and making our yard THE place for people to gather.
And then my insecure, unsure self got in the way.
I hosted a little summer party for the neighborhood kids last year and we had hot dogs, cheese balls and watermelon at the table, but I never once invited the adults over. I thought about it…and then fear would set in and I just walked away from the idea.
I started to feel a bit resentful about that table in my front yard. It was a daily reminder of my inability to neighbor well.
The kids have used the table to play chess in the summer, or Pokemon, so it isn’t that it is not used at all…but all those things I encouraged others to do – I wasn’t able to do them myself.
It is a bit embarrassing really.
I guess it just comes down to the fact that I am really not comfortable being me.
I have always struggled with feeling not enough, being not good enough. I know that they are lies, but I feel this need to gain approval and sit with the reality that I just can’t meet this unrealistic standard I have in my own head.
For crying out loud, I walked out of church yesterday and left my 3 kids in the pew alone. ALONE. I was FED UP. My two youngest lovelies weren’t listening. They were laying on the ground, kicking the seats around them, talking well above a whisper, throwing things. I reminded them over and over again that they had to stop.
They didn’t stop and so I said I was leaving and they could wait for church to be over and ride home with their dad. (He was running the projector over in the sound booth and my kids are extra not behaved when he isn’t there in our row.)
The reality was I went to the bathroom. I seriously considered actually leaving. I was over the disrespect and wanted to make a point. THAT is the kind of mother and person I am. Talk about not measuring up. Ha! (I did return after several minutes….against my better judgement.)
Seriously though, churches need an adult nursery. A safe and quiet place where adults can go during the sermon with other quiet adults to be able to LISTEN to the sermon. No kids to be whining or bored or loud and unruly. Nope in adult nursery they aren’t allowed. Kids can fend for themselves. Did I just say that outloud?! Anywhoo….I digress.
So back to my neighborhood.
We have a block party once a year. Everyone brings out their tables and chairs to the center of the street and we share food and stories. The kids love it. Karlena was asking when we got to eat in the street again and last night was the night.
I didn’t want to go.
It isn’t my neighbors, they are amazing. It is just again that I don’t small talk well, and I am nervous joining a conversation. I am the proverbial wall flower. So events like this make me sweat.
We originally had plans to be out of town helping Dominic’s family, so I thought I had an out. Then those plans changed. And we were home. After church we took down our big pool in the backyard, which really did take like 3 hours. But I hadn’t planned that we would participate in the picnic. So I had nothing prepared.
I guess I thought maybe we could just hide inside. 🙁
And Dominic says something like “So we, the family with the Turquoise Table, are going to hide inside and not join the party?”
So at 4:34pm (the party started at 5pm) I was frantically running around my kitchen, making a quick salad to bring, thawing out some meat to grill…all the while our kids are cheering because they get to attend the party. Oh to have their brave hearts!
The evening was really nice. I did still feel uncomfortable at times, I probably always will. But it is ok. I want my kids to learn to neighbor well. I want to be the kind of person that people could come to if they needed something. But I also will probably always be the girl that feels scared and unsure.
I felt like I had to share this post…not because I love putting all my insecurities and faults on display, but because maybe there is someone else out there like me who desires community but is scared of it too.
I get it. I really do.
I don’t have a magical “cure” to make it easier. I just know that there are times that I will have to do something that makes me uncomfortable, and I will survive. And I may even enjoy myself in the process. So friends, if you understand this struggle, know you are not alone!!
I really do love my neighborhood, it is filled with great kids and fantastic people and I don’t want to miss out on more fun events just because of fear! Maybe this is the first step in stomping that fear right out of my life!
And if you see me in church with my lovelies, would you pray for me…clearly I need it! 😉