This Introvert Went to Back to School Night

Photo: Sweet child of mine… Lordy.


Things I thought tonight during Back to School Night:

  1. There are too many names.
  2. There is too much going on. Can’t these children be in school for a while before I have to come in?
  3. This is such a rush and not in a fun way.
  4. Oh no, there are even more parents I have to get to know. How come they all seem to know each other?
  5. Oh great, there is that same mom I get stuck with every year. Don’t make eye contact. Why are we always together?
  6. Why does Major’s second grade teacher look just like that one 5th grade teacher I hated?
    1. Stop it. Jeez. Why thinks this?


In all seriousness: augh. I really want Back to School night to get easier, but it doesn’t. As we go through the grades and the circles get bigger, there are more faces and more stories and… Lordy… It doesn’t help that I’m horrible with names. Horrible with them. So horrible, I actually introduced myself to a mom who we’ve shared a class with now for three years, and she was like, “I am surprised you don’t remember me. We were supposed to have a playdate last Spring, but it fell through?”

Shhiiitttt….. riiiiiggghhht…yooooouuuuu…. That’s a thing I diiiiddd…. crap.

You can’t recover from that, just so you know. You just have to apologize profusely, make a terrible joke about how horrible you are, promise for a make up opportunity in the coming weeks, and then send a humble email right away upon getting home. I took down her email address like an idiot. Google mocked me, her name popping up instantly in the bar as I typed. Stupid damn phone.

She was very gracious with me when she didn’t have to be. I’m sure she had nothing but bad things to say about me when she got in the car with her husband. I earned it for sure.

I really want to explain that I live a life that spans practically 4 towns. There are too many communities, not all of them overlapping (but some). And I’m one of those people who goes for depth, you know? The shallow transience of acquaintanceship is exhausting to me. I don’t have the brain space for the people I perceive to be just passing through. Problem is, when you’re in the same elementary school for 7 years, parents start to recur and such. I’m going to have to do better and be better if I want to this to be less awful as time goes on.

Maybe I should be more social and actually go to some of these potlucks and get to know some of the other parents…

The very thought makes me want to run and hide.

I’m sitting here really wondering if this is a life-skill that has simply deteriorated over time for me, or if it’s a life-skill I never picked up and suddenly I can’t fake it anymore. Maybe it’s a combination of both. Who knows?

Here is what I do know:

  1. I’m tired.
  2. And I’m awkward.
  3. And Back to School Night is never going to get any easier.

At least I’m happily reminded that I love the school we chose for the boys. It’s thoughtfully run, it is full of teachers who really care. In just 6 school days, they’ve managed to cover the walls with art, fill the classrooms with poetry and self-portraits. The boys are making new friends and reconnecting with old ones. It feels good to be starting our third year here and feeling just as good about our decision as we did at the outset. That’s awesome.

Perhaps that’s why I’m sitting here feeling guilty and awkward. It’s as if I haven’t fully invested. I’m one foot in, one foot out… I know the teachers and the administrative staff, but haven’t really spent time with other parents. We’re only going to get out of this experience what we put into it in the first place… but Dear Reader, Lordy, I don’t have much left to put into anything, let alone relationships with yet more adults!

Ok, sorry… I just dumped all my anxiety all over the internet, didn’t I?

I’m going to have a little wine, do a little knitting and calm it all down.

It’s Wednesday, my Southern friends and family are in safe places and prepared for the storm. My children are well cared for and getting an excellent education. I am getting work done and the bottom half of my house is clean (this is a hell of a thing). All is well, and all is well… or, at least, as well as it can be right now.

How are you, Dear Reader?

Breathe into the challenges. Breathe into the nerves. Breathe into your commitment to be better, as best as you are able. Breathe into the idea that growth requires moments of discomfort, but discomfort can be a spring board. Breathe into your accomplishments and your natural talents, knowing they will help you get to where you want to be.

Breathe into the fact that you’re awesome and the week is only half way done.

Let’s finish out the week strong. Let’s prepare ourselves to be strong for our Southern neighbors. They’ll be calling for our help soon.

I’ll see you Friday for Quiet Thoughts.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Trish says:

    I love Minor’s self portrait. He even did nostrils!
    As for not recognizing that lady, oh well. You have your energy in many places, knowing all the other parents doesn’t have to be one of them. Of course you could have said something about all white people looking alike, but that would probably have been bad. Yes, you certainly would have been talked about then.
    So I leave you with one of my favorite kid songs.

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      So… I don’t need another earworm (a la babyshark)… if I click on this thing, is going to be stuck in my head FOREVER?

  2. Miriam Joy says:

    I am also appalling at names. To the extent where I forget my own name sometimes. I’m instantly suspicious of anyone who is *too* good with names, because seriously, how.

    1. K.C. Wise says:

      This is a truth. What’s up with people who get names so quickly? It’s gotta be dark magic, right. RIGHT!?

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