Shy or just reserved?

There he stood, leaning against a tree. He watched the other boys playing but didn’t approach them. I knew he wanted to, but he still held back and watched. Ea he hung out in the pool alone while the other boys dove off the diving board. It wasn’t fear of the diving board that kept Jase away. It was the awkward shyness of not knowing how to join his friend who is playing with other boys he doesn’t know or doesn’t know well.

This was the scene recently at a birthday pool party that Jase, Lexie and I attended. It was a joint celebration for Jase’s friend Aidan and for Aidan’s sister, Morgan, who is Lexie’s friend. While Lexie had no problem running off with some girls, it was Jase I knew who might struggle at the party.

Last year, his best friend Noah also came to the party, so he was fine that Aidan was hanging with his cousins who Jase doesn’t know. However, this year Noah didn’t make it to the party. This left Jase feeling very left out. I encouraged him to join the other boys who I am sure were not excluding him on purpose.

But this reserved boy has always been a worrier. He is more likely to sit back and observe before joining in. He is hesitant to join a big group and does better with one-on-one interactions in small groups. He is me.

I remember these feelings and problems from my own childhood. Even as an adult I sometimes struggle with feeling like I fit in. But even though I know what he is going through, I don’t know what to tell him to make it better. Maybe he just has to find his own way.

Three years ago, I wrote about Jase being shy and a worrier. I had hoped he would grow out of it. But it doesn’t look like that has happened.

But the funny thing is that he isn’t consistent with his shyness. He has performed in the school talent show. His teacher told me he was always participating in class and even about him dancing in front of his classmates. Of course, this was at the February parent-teacher conference, and maybe that is him half the year to feel comfortable to do those things.

At the recent pool party, he spent the first hour and a half either by himself or watching the other boys. I don’t know what happened but then all of a sudden he was with the group doing crazy dives off the diving board. I saw him talking to a boy he didn’t know and popping balloons with him. Suddenly, he was fitting in and not ready to leave when the party was over.

Maybe this is just how Jase is. Maybe he needs that time to access a situation before joining in.


Bumps in the Road: This year’s new PTA regime

When I registered Jase for kindergarten, there was a sheet asking people to sign up if they were interested in the PTA. I knew nothing about joining the parent-teacher association but wanted to be involved in Jase’s school, so I signed up.

The next day, I received a call from the president of the PTA, and all of a sudden I was in charge of doing the student directory the following year. It is six years later, and I am on my third year as a PTA officer.

Two years ago, I became Treasurer and one of six officers. We attended a Leadership conference in Houston before school began that year. I think that is one of the things that helped us bond as a group of leaders. We were away from home, and it allowed us to spend a lot of time together.

I feel that group of ladies worked hard together despite our differences. However, you can only hold a position for two years so of course everything had to end. Our second VP in charge of fundraising was going to become president, and the president was going to move down to the second VP spot. And I was moving from Treasurer to first VP.

Then a month after the election, everything fell apart in terms keeping our group together. Our newly elected president was moving. Luckily, someone else stepped up to take on the role of president. It is not a position that I want, and I originally had feared I might have to take over since I was the vice president.

Now each president does things differently and has their own priorities. And our new president is a by-the-books, rule-follower type. She took one look at how we were doing things and decided that our procedures are too lax if not flat-out wrong.

rough-road-aheadTo say my transition from Treasurer and active officer to my new position has been bumpy would be an understatement. The woman who was to be president but moved away and I had known each other for a few years and would have worked well together. I would have known where I stand with her and what was expected. Not so with the new pres.

I don’t know if it is because conference was not in another city requiring us to travel and stay together in a hotel, or if I just shouldn’t expect to feel the same camaraderie as I did with the last group but something is off this year. (Leadership conference was in San Antonio, and since we didn’t travel, it allowed more board members to attend so there was that as a plus.)

I hate the feeling of not knowing what my position entails and what is expected of me. I don’t like not knowing what is going on. I have the distinct impression that the new president doesn’t like me, though she is nice to me whenever we meet. (There was a blow up last spring before she came president, and we were on opposite sides of the issue. I think she holds this against me.)

I don’t know what it is about this year, but PTA doesn’t seem fun. It is stressing me out, and the kids are noticing. I have even considered just quitting, but we haven’t got to that point just yet. Part of me knows I may just have to accept she is only going to tolerate me, and that I will never be as involved or as connected as I was in the past two years. Only time will tell.