A traumatizing thing happened at House McGill this week.
Brody invited strangers over.
Now, I guess they weren’t technically strangers since they were kids that he has at least observed at school. But since they just showed up on a random Thursday afternoon with no warning whatsoever and I have never seen them before, I count them as strangers. Strangers that I become responsible for the minute they step off the city sidewalk and into my yard. Oy.
Of course, I’m also guessing many of you wouldn’t consider neighborhood children strangers at all. You are cut from a fuzzier cloth than I am. Congrats.
Before I paint myself in too unflattering of a light (oh, it’s coming), let me clarify that I have no issue with Brody wanting to have friends over. But I would like a contact number or to at least know that the kid’s parents aren’t at the police station filing a missing persons report. And 24 hours notice. At a minimum. These days, this just seems like good sense to me.
However, my child has never met a stranger. He’s as genuinely social as they come. When he asks about your pets and their birthdays, he really wants to know that information. He clearly does not get this from his parents, but I have a few grandparents and great grandparents that fingers can easily be pointed to.
His social tendencies make small town life a perfect fit for him. That’s great. However, even though I happily choose to live here, it’s never been that perfect of a fit for me. I’m not good with unplanned social interaction. And this is where you end up with a grown ass woman breaking into a cold sweat because there’s a couple of kids she doesn’t know playing in her yard.
I’ve always been told a story about my grandfather when he was a young boy growing up in this very house. (Not sure if it’s true, but it works for my point so I’m saying it is.) Other town children would come over to the house to see if he wanted to play, he would respond by sitting on the porch reading and ignoring them while they played in the yard. This is the mentality I inherited. And basically the exact action I took when town children would try to stop by this same house and ask to play. The other kids were fine, nice kids, but I kind of just wanted to be left alone at my home. I’m still stuck in that mindset.
Now, I actually do like people. (Well… most people. Well… some. Okay, so I like some people.) But after working in customer service all day, generally the last thing I’m equipped to do is talk to more people I don’t know when I get home. (I know can’t be the only one.)
I’m a person who has to work up my nerve to order a pizza over the phone. When I pull into my driveway, I’m officially off duty. I have to recharge so I can attempt to be somewhat normal all over again the next day. I can handle talking to the husband, child and pets – that’s about it. And even then, I do occasionally have to hide in the bathroom.
Oddly enough, I really do love hosting people. As long as I know about a week ahead of time so I can prepare. And attempt to clean my house. I have maybe two friends that can stop by unannounced that I’ll let in the door. One practically grew up in this house and the other shared two college homes with me. And once you’ve had to wash your dishes in the bathtub because they will no longer fit in the sink with someone, I think they lose the opportunity to judge your housecleaning skills.
So, now I have to decide whether to fight all my instincts and embrace my child’s “stop on by” philosophy or to burn that welcome mat on my front porch. If I’m honest, I’m totally leaning in the latter’s direction.