The schools I attended were small private Christian schools. I don’t remember having trouble making friends, but I was not popular. I’m pretty sure that I tried to remain as anonymous as possible. I participated in three activities: choir, cheerleading, and journalism. I have a strange combination of interests, so I never felt like I belonged in any of the cliques that formed. It was nice not to be pigeonholed, but it was a little lonely. I felt (still feel) guilty for preferring to be by myself, and I wish I cared to be more outgoing.
I am sandwiched between two of the most beautiful sisters imaginable. Seriously, they are models. I have always been admiringly jealous of both of them. (Is ‘admiringly’ even a proper word? I don’t know. I mean to say, I wish I were like them but from a place of love instead of malice.) I remember being the only ten-year-old at a sleepover with my older sister and her teenage friends. I felt out of place in a room with so many pretty girls. She never treated me like a burden or like I was stupid. I was included in everything they did (We watched Night of the Living Dead and now I hate zombie everything – sorry, not sorry). My older sister took me under her wing during my first pregnancy, and I will always be grateful for all of her help.
My younger sister is the one who dragged me out of my comfort zone kicking and screaming. She made me go to two concerts and all sorts of clubs. (Alicia Keys was incredible, but the Hot Boys concert was a harrowing experience.) She has always been the “IT” girl. Shopping with her made me realize how boring I am. (She once talked me into buying shredded jeans and stiletto sneakers, of all things. Carolina blue and white.) No matter how crazy I thought her combinations would be, she always looked perfect. Now she’s using her gift to help other women feel beautiful.
And then there’s me. I don’t really keep up with popular culture, so I never know what’s cool. I’ve worn my hair in the same bun since I had The Genius in 2007, so I guess that makes me accidentally stylish. My favorite place, besides home, is the library. I also enjoy trips to Target by myself. Fortunately, I married one of the coolest men on the planet. Our children get their “it” factor from him. They get their love of Doctor Who from me.
I feel like I have done one of my children a disservice. Soon after I had him, my husband and I separated. I had to go back to work after being a stay at home mom for four years. I was still nursing. I had to put my boys in day care. I agonized over all this.
I am blessed to have had a lot of people support me and come through for me during that difficult time. My sister kept my boys for me. My mother welcomed me (plus two!) back into my childhood home. My former supervisor found a place for me with the company he worked for at that time. Everything seemed to be working out. My husband and I even began the process of reconciliation.
In the back of my mind, I still feel as if I failed my son. When I have talked with people about this, I am told, “Hey, you did the best you could!” Did I? I was only able to nurse him for about nine months compared to the eighteen months I nursed my firstborn (and the two children I had after him). He is the pickiest eater I have ever met! He was at day care all day almost every day. Was anyone talking to him? Am I responsible for his speech delay because I was not there to talk to him like I did with my other children? When he grows up, will he resent his name because it doesn’t begin with an A like his siblings?
Perhaps my worries are unfounded. My son, Ricochet (like the cartoon rabbit), has bounced off of all those early challenges. He is now a straight A student in first grade. He is the most fun-loving, care-free, responsible child we have – even if he loathes vegetables and dinner entrees. He loves Spider-Man, watching sports with his dad, and running. Lots and lots of running. I can’t believe he sits still in school. His teacher had to send me a photo to prove it.
While it is still a battle to get him to try new foods, Ricochet seems to have suffered no ill effects from my perceived failures as a mother. I’m beginning to cut myself a little slack.
I’ve always felt like a weirdo. Throughout my school years, I was not interested in what was popular with my friends. My girl friends were into boys, make-up, fashion, and a certain type of music. I tried to be interested, I really did. It just didn’t work. I was thrilled to be invited to parties, but I never knew what to do with myself once I got there. I longed to be a part of the group, but I struggled to care what most people thought. Fortunately, I managed to make a few good friends who accepted me and my weirdness.
I was introduced to the concept of personality types my sophomore year of college during a small group exercise. After answering the questions, I was categorized as an introverted intuitive thinking judge (INTJ), which is a rare personality type. The description helped me see why I never seemed to fit in. I had several friends tell me that they thought I was stuck up until they got to know me. Honestly, I hardly considered what people thought of me. I was too busy trying to be incognito and watch everyone else live life.
I know for a fact that my husband is an extrovert. We drive each other crazy at times. He is the life of the party and I prefer not to party. No middle ground there. He likes to go do nothing with a whole group of people and I like doing nothing all by myself. Although he is my favorite person, I still need him to go away periodically and understand that I need time alone. Not alone with the children. That’s not alone. That’s me plus gang of demanding small people.
I’m waiting for my husband to take the personality test so I can see how we match up. As a matter of fact, I would be interested to see how all of my friends are categorized. If you would like to take the test, you may do so here. Comment your results!