There’s this thing I deal with on a daily basis.
Being stupidly self conscious.
It’s true – and when I say stupidly, I truly mean stupidly. Today I went to Logan’s school and had lunch with him. This may not seem like a momentous thing to you, but it was the first time in Logan’s school career that I have done this. To somewhat defend myself, I will say that up until this year I have been a single mom who worked full time and logistically couldn’t make something like this happen (at least not easily). But if I’m brutally honest with myself – and you – I will tell you I avoid situations like these.
I don’t know really. I struggle with feelings of self worth, with feelings of inadequacy, with the fear that I will do/say or act in ways that are stupid or wrong and so I tend to avoid situations (namely and shamefully situations involving other children and their mothers). I told my Life Group this semester that being a single mom felt a lot to me like walking around with a scarlet letter on my chest. It was to me, a cloud that hung over my head – a label I was ashamed and embarrassed of – and the last thing I wanted to do was mingle with the married folk. The ones who drove nice cars and lived in nice houses and had 2 income families. The ones who had other married folk friends and socialized and weren’t thinking about what happens if/when the power gets cut off or how to pay the rent this month.
I didn’t want to answer the questions about my non existent husband, my 15 year old car, my inability to do what “normal” families do. So I avoided any opportunity that might end up with conversations like these. And then I struggled with guilt over not sucking it up and pushing myself into uncomfortable moments so that my son could have more friends, or see positive family role models. But I often felt paralyzed with inability to get out of my own way.
When Logan asked me to have lunch with him this week in the school cafeteria, all those feelings resurfaced. I. was. petrified. But, I couldn’t think of any good reason NOT to, especially when he claimed I was the ONLY parent who hadn’t done so yet. When sharing my fears with my husband he just looked at me and said (lovingly), “Miranda, this isn’t about you. It’s about Logan. None of those parents or teachers will even be thinking about you, so get over it and do it.”
Talk about words that pierced my heart – and in the best kind of way. If you know Todd, you know he can be blunt at times but he is usually dead on. He was right. This had nothing to do with me. So today, I punched fear and self consciousness in the throat and had lunch with my son. Everyone was really nice. And Logan grinned from ear to ear the entire time, and I realized how precious these moments are – because pretty soon he’ll be too old to want me around. He will be mortified at the thought of his mother (especially 9 months pregnant) showing up at his school, waving to his friends and sharing lunch with him.
I am grateful today for a change in life circumstances that allowed me to take a step I have never taken, to give time to my son that I have never been able to give before. That, my friends, is a good, good day. Lesson learned – it’s not about me. A good thing to remind myself of often.