I have to be careful with this post, because it isn’t my intention to indicate or imply that Shannon kept me from having a social life. No, I pretty much took care of that on my own. I’ve never been a very outgoing person. I’m not someone who wants to go out meeting people. I remember my first week in college, my brother and (future at the time) sister-in-law had to practically lock me out of my room to force me to walk around my hall and meet my hallmates. I just don’t like the awkward new social situations. This is one of the “I could fill a book” amount of things that made Shannon and I perfect. Shannon was also socially anxious. She didn’t like going out and meeting lots of people. We liked our friends, don’t get me wrong…but we were most comfortable staying at home, reading, watching something on TV, enjoying present company. And having kids was the PERFECT complement to this condition. You have an eternal built-in reason to avoid social gatherings (Well, unless they were kid gatherings, at which point we focus on the kids having fun with other kids and just keep to ourselves in the adult social aspects).
This weekend, my parents kept the kids. We did this for a number of reasons, really. First, the kids like having sleepovers with their cousins. Jeesh, since Noah’s knew about this, he’s been practically grilling me on why I haven’t already packed his luggage for his weekend. Which was still 6 days away when he first asked me! Second, I needed to get some home organization done. I could do this with kids if people came up here to help (Which they have! Every weekend since the Celebration of Life, we’ve had help, which I’ve been VERY thankful for). But it is a bit easier to handle if the kids are distracted somewhere else. Third, I was taking the sugar gliders down to Aimee, so I can start learning the more advanced things about caring for them. Some of you reading may not know this, but Shannon was very much a pet person, and especially loved sugar gliders. In late 2012, early 2013, she researched them and worked with Aimee to adopt a trio to take care of. They were practically therapy pets for her. The research kept her mind off treatments and side effects, and she put a lot of energy and love into caring for them. We made that move with the agreement that when she passed away, I would be okay to take care of them. Over the past year, I took over the day to day care of them, but Shannon still took care of nail trimmings, taking them out of their cage, etc. So, that’s what I need to start picking up.
One unintended thing from my parents taking the kids for the weekend…it’s gave me a chance to be social. My college roommate turned 31 on Sunday (Happy birthday Ben!), and they had people over to celebrate on Saturday. Ordinarily, this would be a case where I would say “Well, I have to take care of the kids, so I’ll have to pass”. But with the kids already cared for, it gave me an opportunity to go out and be social instead of sitting at home, alone, and wallowing in memories. And it was really fun to hang out with them. Got to see a good bit of old high school friends and got my first taste of Cards Against Humanity! In the end, we reminisced about a lot of great times from years ago, and I absolutely needed that night to get out with friends…
But, this blog post is about the feelings I got leading up to this, and my what it reminded me of. Immediately, when thinking on this, I’m reminded of senior year of high school. I dated a girl from end of freshman year through junior year. As summer after Junior year approached, she broke up with me. I’ll skip the details on why, they aren’t important to this story, which is approaching rambling length. But what I found was that, I had to start over on my social life. See, when I was dating her…we did everything together (Not everything, but every Friday was hanging out together, most weekends we tried to do things together, etc). So when we broke up, I turned to find…I couldn’t remember how to have a social life. I was just used to “Friday nights, going with my girlfriend, done and done”. So now (and then)…It’s like I have to remember how to walk again. How do you get out and be social? How do I do that with kids now? How do I do it, being that my personality is such that I don’t feel all that comfortable sticking my neck out and trying to initiate the plans…Shannon was the one who always made the plans with kid hangouts, with going out and having “adult” time without kids, with meeting up with others. I just tagged along. Now, I need to be the one to plot the course, to take the initiative, to look to friends for time and company. Awkwardly. Very, very, very, VERY…awkwardly. Because, that’s just me. I don’t think anything is going to change that.
And in that respect, it sure does feel like senior year ALLL over again.