Yesterday was the first day of school in Australia and we find ourselves at a new school again,
and we find ourselves as the new parents at the new school.
Our children are in classes where the others know each other and my boys don't know any names.
I scan the playground for friendly faces.
I hope for children to include my boys - knowing how hard it is to risk rejection and ask if you can join a game with children who seem to have known each other forever.
As an adult I find myself standing on the edges, watching, having those laboured new conversations where you are trying to be a combination of witty and engaging as well as interested and appealing (however you do that), which are so much less fun than the thoughtless conversations where the words tumble out and fly about like they do with a proper friend.
I am an extrovert, happy in the company of many, energised by people and conversation and friends and yet I stand on the edges and try to work out the appropriate level of forward friendliness without coming across like a desperate stalker who will dominate your life and call you every day.... and I think sheesh! this must be so much more difficult for the introvert, the newly arrived from another country, the second language speaker, the nervous one, the exhausted and harried one.....
I think to myself how often do we wear and invisible badge that shouts in neon - like me! like my children! - as we silently smile and nod and make appropriate responses to awkward sort-of-checking-you-out-in-a-non-romantic-way-conversations.
It's amazing how much of a difference someone inviting you in to a conversation can make.
That's one of the things I want to take away from these new starts - inclusion is a powerful and delightful gift.
I actually like changes and I love the excitement of new situations and opportunities to meet new people and all those things and yet it is tiring.
Before long I am confident we will find our groove and have new people to add to our wee collection of friends but for now we perform that complicated dance of advancing in friendship and hoping for reciprocation.
Is there someone you could include today?
love you more than being right in the centre where the noise is xxxx
(the photos are something we have started doing on the first day of school - what job I want to do when I grow up)