What I learned in 2nd grade

Tonight was Elle’s class play.  Every 2nd grader and their mother was there (no, really).  Even some fathers and some grandparents and some aunts and uncles and big brothers and little sisters and babies.  (Oh my god, the poor woman.  Two babies.  And one wouldn’t stop screaming.  So to hear the little 2nd graders sing off-key and on some whacked-out rhythm was an audible delight to my precious little ears.  ANYTHING TO MAKE BABIES STOP SCREAMING!!!) 

I knew a few people there.  People I’ve attended these sorts of things with for 3 years now.  We see each other and we wave.  We stop each other in the hall and we say hello.  We sit across from each other on those hard lunchroom table benches (so what if my ass has expanded a bit – it doesn’t make those benches any more bearable) and marvel at how crazy our kids’ 2nd grade year has been and how much the other’s daughter has grown and Can you believe these girls have known each other since kindergarten??

I know.  I know.

And things kind of went like this for about 20 minutes.  Other members of their families strolled in and everyone hugged each other and complained about the traffic from the Beaches or the Intracoastal or from Regency to the Northside.  They shared some laughs and patted the other siblings on the back and invited each other to so-and-so’s house for a barbecue on Saturday and Hey, Dena. Would you mind holding our seats?  We’ll be right back.

Sure.

I’ll just sit here.  By myself.  Because that’s what I do.

So I noticed, for the first time, that I am almost always at these things by myself:  the Girl Scouts awards ceremony, the kindergarten awards, the kindergarten play, the 1st  grade awards, the 1st  grade play, the 2nd grade play, and, I’m sure, I’ll be by myself at the 2nd grade awards.  Because I am always by my-freakin’-self.   And I don’t even have a screaming baby with me!

So what gives?

Do I give off some kind of bitch-vibe?  Do I scold people with my eyes or something, before they’ve even done anything wrong?  I promised myself the other night, yes – that night, that I would really try to be more forgiving of people, to try to practice a little compassion for others even when things aren’t exactly going my way or even when I can’t stand the other person.  Because, in all honesty, I know that people are good at heart but I’ve always told myself that people are awful, evil creatures who will take the first opportunity they get to make you feel bad about yourself…

Okay, World.  I’m only gonna say it once (but it’s going to be forever etched into the deep, dark Internet lair so there is no need to bring it up again because it’s in Internet-ForeverLand). I am wrong.

There.  Shut up. I said it.

While this might not sound like it has anything to do with a cafeteria full of adorable 2nd graders singing about how proud they are to be American, it has everything to do with it.  Everything.  Because I was by myself. Completely alone.  With me.  And me alone.  All lonely and shit.  And I hate feeling like that.

So what does this mean?  Nothing, really.  Just that I realized how truly closed-off I am around people.  I mean, just the other day I felt pretty darn good about sticking up for myself and pretty darn bad about what my friend pointed out about me.  It took a lot for you to even get that close to someone because we all know how you tend to shut down.

I know.  I know.   And it’s something I’ve got to fix unless I want to attend Elle’s college graduation all by my-freakin’-self.  And that would be a big, fat NO.

Well…hmm, I really have no way to close this post other than to show you some very cute 2nd graders. 

(See, I told you there were cute.)

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About Dena

I'm a suburban Clevelander by way of Oklahoma City, by way of North Florida, by way of Southern Maryland, by way of Upper Michigan, by way of Northern Italy, by way of Lower Michigan, by way of Texas. Because of living in so many places, I have something in common with almost everyone I meet. I love reading, writing, and American history (especially reading or writing about American history). I'm interested in culture of place, historical trauma, and writing about the kinds of histories most people don't know about.
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