I felt so left out . . . so alone in that room full of good, kind women. I was at a baby shower. It was fun--filled with women whom I admire and enjoy. In greeting me, one of them asked me how Friday night's homeschool dance went. I answered enthusiastically. Another woman asked me questions about the group that sponsored the dance, curious about what a homeschooling life is like. Somehow as I answered, I felt the first woman withdraw from me, and before I finished my sentence, she redirected the conversation and closed the door to me.
I shook it off. Perhaps I was wrong. If my friends can ask me questions about homeschooling, then certainly I can ask questions about their public school experiences. I can be just as interested in their lives as they are in mine. That's what friends do.
I listened politely to their animated discussion of the best sports teams to join, which ones to avoid, how to find the best private lessons for music/tennis/etc., which schools are worth considering, which are not and why, how to take online summer school classes through the school district so that kids have time for electives that will look good on transcripts, the pros and cons of academic vs sports scholarships, balancing sports and activities with home life . . . but there was no room for me . . . not even to ask questions or express delight at their children's successes.
And the feeling that it was intentional kept coming back.
Eventually I realized that if I offered to take their plates for them I could escape politely, so I did.
Then I asked one woman how her oldest son is doing, and I asked another about her family reunion plans, and then another asked me about my pregnancy.
The ebb and flow came back.
But on my mind ever since are questions: Do I talk too much about homeschooling? Do I offend people? Do they feel criticized or judged by me?
I hope not. I try to to show interest in others. I only talk about homeschooling if I'm asked first. I don't expect people to live the same way I do or to make the same choices I make; I'm happy with diversity. I have positive opinions about public school (I have negative ones, too, but I mostly keep them to myself--especially when I'm around moms with kids in public school). I try to express joy in others' joys and sorrow in others' sorrows.
My experience on Saturday has left me wondering if there is something I need to change in how I communicate with others. . . then again, my last post was about my uncertainty over changes in how we homeschool, so it could just be me.
But it's worth pondering.