Last night, I was supposed to attend the first PTO meeting of the new school year at my son’s pre-school. It probably sounds a bit strange, but I have been talking myself into becoming a PTO mom since about the time my son was born.
I’m a total introvert. In fact, the only reason I’m not a hermit, which is super appealing to me, is because I also really like home decor and handbags and J. Crew and the hermit lifestyle probably wouldn’t support those things.
Thanks to the fact that I only interact with large groups of people when forced, or by accident, I also have a flair for being incredibly socially awkward. Just the thought of strolling into a gymnasium full of women and standing to introduce myself, or raise my hand to volunteer for something, makes me feel all hive-like. Especially since my condition….Verbal Diarrhea….always revs up a notch when I’m nervous and anxious and have no idea how to be, uh….normal.
Furthermore, I suck at small talk….like, REALLY suck. Often, a totally random, off-topic factoid will pop into my mind and for some strange reason, I begin to feel like I might burst if I don’t manage to insert it somehow into the conversation.
“I really like your bag. Hey, did you know it’s impossible to lick your own elbow? You should try it….go ahead….heh….O….K….yeah.”
People who know me really well, find this to be endearing and quirky and they love me for it. But, these are the people who have known me for years and who have hung-in with me when I’ve gone radio silent for weeks or months, because I desperately need to be alone and I’m in a space where I just can’t handle the pressures and responsibilities of even the relationship basics….like returning a phone call or a text message.
It’s not because I’m depressed. It’s not a call for help. It’s because, sometimes, I just need me. So, these friends forgive me when I pop back into their lives with a “Hey, sorry for being MIA….I’ve been….busy, but let me tell you about how I referred to a guy I work with as a Douche Canoe without realizing he was in the office next door….so then I went over and was all, HEY! How are you!?….trying to feel out whether or not he heard me, only to walk away thinking, he totally heard me and he’s going to report it to my boss and I’m going to get fired, because how can you possibly explain that as an HR professional, you felt it was appropriate to refer to a co-worker as a Douche Canoe? How have you been?”
But, these friendships have been years in the making and there have been others that haven’t survived and understandably so….I’m a piece of work….I’m a Meredith Grey….so it’s hard to put myself out there.
On the other hand, I also really want to be supportive and involved in my son’s education and school community. I want my son to have the kind of mom other mom’s want to know. I don’t want him to be excluded from birthday parties or play dates, because I’m just too awkward to be around.
Also, for me, I want to be confidant enough in my ability to make new friends, that I don’t just go right ahead and fuck it up because that’s easier. Despite my hermit-like tendencies, I admit that I do need people sometimes.
I moved to the state I currently live in almost eight years ago when my now husband and I decided it was time to take our relationship to the next level by living in the same state. It was a tough move for me. I was leaving behind my small circle of friends and going to a place where I had spent very little time and knew no one.
In the years since, I’ve made exactly one friend. A former co-worker who I clicked with almost instantly and who’s friendship over the years has meant so much to me. I hope she knows that, I’m sure she does, but we don’t talk about it because she’s a Christina Yang.
Unfortunately, we live more than an hour away from each other and with kids and jobs to juggle we don’t get to see each other as often as I would like, but we stay connected through email almost every day and our conversations are often a much needed life line for me.
Our friendship is also a source of inspiration, because it means there are new friendships to be had….I just have to be willing to seek them out and I really want to. I like to believe that there is a mom out there who agrees that Bloody Mary Monday’s are a great way to ease into a new week…..who is cool with grabbing a coffee and chatting for a bit, maybe going for a walk or playing a round of golf….but doesn’t expect me to come to her Pampered Chef parties.
So, here I was, prepped and ready for PTO initiation. I was dressed in a great pair of jeans paired with a J. Crew sweater….I actually saw Meredith Grey wearing on an episode of Grey’s Anatomy after I had already purchased it….and a pair of boots….essentially, the Basic White Girl’s Fall uniform.
Apparently, the universe was trying to tell me something though, because I ended up in a pair of leggings and a sweatshirt, having never left the house.
We were just wrapping up dinner and I was saying my goodbye’s to the family, my keys in hand, when my black lab….a 15 year-old senior citizen with one foot in the grave….walked through the kitchen dropping turds in his wake. This is a relatively new occurrence and I’m not sure if he’s doing it because he literally can’t control his sphincter muscles, or if it’s because….like a lot of really old people….he just doesn’t care anymore.
Cue then, my 9 year-old Jack Russell terrier, who bolted into the room and grabbed one, because apparently, we don’t feed him enough dog food and he’s had to resort to eating crap….because I can think of no other reason why anything would want to eat crap.
So, it really shouldn’t have come as a surprise when my son then projectile vomited across the room….spraying the sleeve of my sweater and one of my boots.
Truth be told, the vomit had nothing to do with all the shit going on and everything to do with my son being overly tired, emotional, full from dinner and worked up from wrestling with his siblings.
So, I didn’t feel too bad when I thought, No big deal. I can just tend to this quickly, change my clothes and still make it to the meeting on time.
But then, my husband scooped up my son and was heading toward the kitchen sink when, BAAAARF, the little man sprayed them both….along with the countertops and kitchen floor….and I knew I was going no where in the midst of the vomit extravaganza that drove my step-daughter to dramatic tears and my step-son to make corny, annoying jokes in an attempt to lighten the mood.
Cue then both dogs who must have thought a vomit piñata had burst, because they came barreling into the room to lap it up while growling territorially at one another and I thought, What the actual shit is going on here!? Is this supposed to be some kind of celestial sign of impending PTO doom?
If so….good looking out universe….but seriously, a flat tire would have sufficed.
Also, sadly, I have no doubt that when the next meeting is announced, I’m going to go….and when I’m there, I’ll announce something like, “I’m sorry I missed the last meeting! I was all set to come and then my dog pooped on the floor and my other dog started to eat it and then my son threw-up, like everywhere, and then the dogs started to….uh, eat….that…too…um….yeah. OK. So, what class is your child in?”
It’s practically written in the stars.