My two oldest daughters make friends everywhere they go.
I’m pretty sure my five year old makes a new best friend every day. She continues to talk about them for months to come, despite the fact that she never even learned their name. I have no idea why God blessed a couple of introverts with extroverted children, but I frequently feel like He’s just looking down at us and laughing.
For example, I frequently go to Aldi. My thought process going into Aldi is, “Shop quickly. Talk to no one.” My girls’ thought process is, “Speak to absolutely everyone we pass. If they don’t answer, continue talking louder and louder until they acknowledge us.”
It is for this reason that when we got started planning a birthday party for these two girls, we decided to go to Bender Pool. The wonderful thing about Bender Pool is that it’s a reasonable price and you rent the whole pool for up to 120 people.
Now I’m almost embarrassed to say how many people I let my daughters invite to their birthday party. I just sort of had the theory, “We can fit up to 120 people, so we might as well just let them invite whoever they want.” They invited 70 children. SEVENTY CHILDREN. Most of these were ages 5 or under, which meant they had to have a parent with them. That means we invited approximately 140 people.
Do you know what’s stressful for an introvert with social anxiety?
Getting ready for a party with potentially over 100 people. I have just been a giant mess of stress for about the last month as I prepared. Thank goodness for Bender, because I can’t even imagine if I had to actually PLAN anything for that many people. Instead I was able to just bring cupcakes for everyone and let the kids spend 2 hours swimming. It really should have been pretty stress-free if I was a person who could handle large groups.
We didn’t end up having 120 people at the party.
As is always the case there were many who couldn’t make it, so we ended up with about 35 kids and about 60 people all together. That relieved a fair amount of my stress. I reminded my oldest repeatedly to be sure to spend some time with each of her friends. I wanted them to all feel included; that was the biggest stress-inducer for me. I’m not sure she met that goal 100%, but she did pretty well. I’m just going to trust that the friends she didn’t play with as much still had fun since they got to swim and eat cupcakes.
All in all I’m just glad that I have another year before I have to worry about a large party. I’m sure I’ll have plenty of small ones to manage in the meantime. My oldest likes to walk around the neighborhood and hand out invitations for a “hot chocolate party” or a “friend feast.” In fact, just today she cried for 30 minutes straight because, and I quote, “I want to play with my friends! I haven’t seen them in two days!” Her birthday party was yesterday.
I’m glad that my kids love people and want to play with all of the kids they meet.
It is in fact important to me that they include people and treat others kindly, so their friendliness makes my heart happy. Hopefully all of this practice I’m getting at talking to strangers I otherwise wouldn’t have a reason to talk to is helping me grow as an individual, and eventually I will be comfortable enough to make a new friend every day just like my daughter does.
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