Okay, I’ll confess: I am NOT a Playdate Parent. I vowed early on in my parenting career (gack, nearly 19 years ago!) that I would not schedule the abomination known as The Playdate.
So, um, we had three playdates this week.
Yeah. I also swore I’d never be in the PTA, and now I’m the secretary of the SEPTA (Special Education PTA) in our district. My husband finds great amusement in seeing me do the Things I Said I’d Never Do. Hey, maybe that should be my book title!
The point is, as we get older and wiser, we discover that by avoiding certain things we might just be missing out. I’m not all that good at social settings unless I know someone, but on the flip side I’m LONELY. I want friends. My kids need friends. And like the vegans in our lives, I’ve spent an abundant amount of time talking exclusively about the subject that is the focus of my life (autism and ADHD, in case you’re new here). And like the vegans in our lives, many of my acquaintances have just stopped listening. I am not saying this to slight vegans, I know and love many people who have made this decision for themselves and I admire it. What I am saying is that when we have a specific focus in our lives, whether it’s diet, a new favorite sport, or our children’s neurological differences, we tend to talk about it. A lot. A whole lot.
A friend recently published his book about making the incredible transition from avid carnivore to vegan, and he talks about this early on in the book. I related to much of what he said, and it helped me to see that for me, having a focus like this has been fairly isolating. It’s also been rather freeing. I mean, I’m in a still relatively new job and I have an opportunity to reinvent myself somewhat.
So there we were, finding ourselves scheduling playdates and putting parties on the calendar.
My husband and I joke a lot about not wanting to “people” (as a verb). But the fact is, I’m aching for interaction. Don’t get me wrong, he and I have an incredibly witty banter, and frankly should take our show on the road. But when we’ve become the sole audience for each other, I worry that the isolation has been caused by my own stubbornness.
So, I’m putting it out to the universe. I have a colleague who says that every time I put something out to the universe it comes true. So I will put this out there- I am making a conscious decision to be more active, to get closer to people, and to do what I’ve tried to teach the boys- talk about what other people want to talk about rather than fixate on my own topics of interest.
Which leads me to this- if you haven’t read this book yet, and need help teaching conversation skills, I highly recommend it.