I was a very shy child. Pathologically shy. In fact, my mother once told me she probably should have brought me to see a psychologist when I was younger, but back in those days, you just didn’t do that. Besides, I was the 4th kid. I feel lucky to actually have a page in the photo album, even though it is a short and blurred view into my early years.
I carry around the emotional baggage of having been the kid who sat alone on the playground every day. I did not have friends, I did not know how to interact with other kids and I was painfully lonely and sad every day at school. In 2nd grade I missed somewhere around 45 days of school because I was “sick.” I was not sick, I just hated school and having to be around all those people I just didn’t want to associate with. Every day that involved putting on a school uniform and interacting with kids my age and teachers was akin to having my teeth removed, one by one, without anesthesia.
Equally painful was any activity outside of school that involved interacting with kids my age or really, any one. I took dancing each year at the local playground, but wanted to quit after the first class. I signed up for Brownies, but found the constant interaction with the other Brownies to be emotionally exhausting. I went to one gymnastics class and when one of the kids in the class said I was too fat to pull myself up on the bar, I quit going all together. My sister says Mom’s one rule was that you could not, under any circumstances, quit dancing. But I remember her allowing us to quit anything else we did not like. Of course, I was really, really stubborn so that may have just been my perspective.
Now, I am a parent of a somewhat shy 4 year old. He is loathe to talk to other kids he does not know. He will not just go up to kids and start playing. Still, when my sister suggested I sign him up for T-Ball so we could all be out at the ball field together all summer, I thought it was a good idea. Instead, it has turned into my own personal nightmare of emotionally charged flashbacks to my own youth. It is about as fun as electro shock therapy.
We are not on the same team as my sister’s son, so I am at the stifling hot ball field alone with my son. I feel insecure and unsure of what to do. Max says he likes playing, but he does not actively participate in the games. He spends a lot of time staring at the sky, chewing his finger nails, and singing to himself. When the coaches grab him and tell him to “run here” or “come hit the ball” he goes, but, with a tiny tinge of reluctance.
I sat in the bleachers last night, baking in the late afternoon sun, hiding tear-brimmed eyes behind big sun glasses. I don’t know how to be objective about this. He seems to not enjoy playing ball at all. He does not pay any attention, he does not talk to the other kids, he bites his nails the whole time, but I think I might be projecting my own childhood angst onto his tiny little body out there. I want to run onto the field, grab him and tell all the other little wretched fuckers to fuck off and move the fuck out of the way.
“My child is not some mindless drone who chases a little white ball trying to catch it with a ridiculously oversized mitt! No, my child is creative and clever and sweet and has greater things on this mind that this bullshit, boring-ass, mother fucking hot sport.”
Of course, that seems a bit extreme and intense. No doubt it would leave an impression on 14 stunned 4 year olds, but that is not really my intention. My desire is to do the right thing, and frankly, I don’t know what that is.
Choice A: Make Max stay in T-Ball. Theoretically, this would provide him with a sense of commitment and provide him with opportunity to be involved in a team sport, blah, blah…But, it also means many, many nights spent at a ball field that is hotter than the surface of the sun, watching my child roll around in the dirt on home plate while the other kids and coaches get annoyed with him.
Choice B: Take him out of T-Ball. Sure, this would be easier on me. I could skip frying in the bleachers, but what is that teaching him? That it is ok to quit? And what if he does actually like it and is just really adept at hiding it? Maybe something will click inside of him. Maybe. Or maybe I will have skin cancer by July for no reason other than to torture my son and scar him emotionally.
This is not a huge issue, but my deep-seeded emotional crap is surfacing and clouding my rational judgment. This is a big and painful issue for me and I would cut off my right arm to save my one and only child that same pain. Seriously, I would take a hack saw to my shoulder blade. That is how fucking painful my childhood angst was. I should say here, this WAS NOT my parents’ fault. I DO NOT blame them for my emotional issues at all. Which begs the question, could they have done something differently to help me? I don’t know, maybe, but like Mom said, it just wasn’t done back then when I was a kid…and dinosaurs roamed the land. I wish my Mom was here to tell me what to do, or at the bery least, what not to do.
So chime in, leave a comment or two. If you post something mean anonymously, I will assume you are a coward asshole, which likely you are. If you want to say something mean, grow a pair and use your real name. I have gotten over my shyness. It was replaced with a caustic mean streak.