Mom, Are We Normal?!

Some days I wonder if my family is “normal” … I mean, we are absolutely FINE when we are among ourselves.  It’s our own world we live in – and we like each other here.  But then I find we don’t always connect well with the “outside” world.   Even at church or among our peers.  Are we really THAT different and hard to get to know??

Personally, that’s ok with me!  I’ve come to grips with myself – I enjoy conversations in my own head with myself!  As a friend said recently, she is becoming more introverted as she gets older.  ME TOO!!  I’m ok with my very small circle of trusted people; I don’t have time for other people’s drama.  My husband is ok with that … and even our son seems to be a homebody, introverted, introspective kid.

But what do I with my extroverted, social daughter who so desperately wants friendship with someone her own age.   Last night yet again, we had the conversation – with many tears on her part – that we’ve had over and over for several years now, “It’s not fair!”  …  Why doesn’t she fit in anywhere when she really is a cheerful, happy- hearted person who likes to have fun, too?

Recently, twice, she’s been told to “go away … we’re talking” by girls in her class.  My reaction is “who needs them??”  But she says “I do, Mom.  I just want a friend, a real friend.”  *sigh*

Of course, as mama bear, I want to pull her out of school and homeschool – but as we discovered when we did that her 7th grade year, that just isolated us even more.   We don’t really belong in either place.  And I’m not really sure why.

I told my daughter to talk to her guidance counselor at school and also another trusted teacher there.  And they both told her exactly the same thing, “You just haven’t found your people yet.”  One of them went on to tell her that her classmates there really have had easy lives comparatively to what Annie-Belle has gone through – and they just can’t understand where she’s come from.  Those kids have lived in the same town all their lives, surrounded by their extended families, growing up with the same kids who are also in the same situation.  Their views and needs are very narrow.  Those kids – as the teacher said – are just craving “junk food” right now (as in easy lives, fun, entertainment, surface relationships) – but some day, they may find that they are sick of junk food and will want meat-and-potatoes (a more nourishing relationship that goes deep to the heart) and then Annie-Belle will be there.  We laughed – but it kind of makes sense!  And even if it isn’t THIS crowd from school in particular, it will be a meat-and-potatoes friend somewhere else.

I’m not saying our family is any more experienced or spiritual due to the situations we’ve had to face … but somehow it has affected how we live and see the world.  And that’s really it too:  the WORLD doesn’t mean as much to us anymore.  Sure, there are things “in the world” that are interesting – we’d love to travel again or see a new movie that might come out or shop for cute clothes … but as far as most modern entertainment, we are clueless.

My daughter said she was kind of teased when the kids in her class (Christian school) were discussing an episode of some recent TV show, and Anna told them she spent the evening watching “Little House on the Prairie”.  I guess the catch phrase is “…. and then there’s Ann[ie-Belle].”  Which I told her makes her special – of course, to the others, it might make her the “goody-two-shoes” … but that is OK!!   And who knows, their TV show might not even be “bad” … but it just doesn’t appeal to us (besides, who has time or energy to waste on TV!!?!).

The thing is, Annie-Belle is perfectly happy in her little world too … she said she has zero interest in the shows and trends that her friends sometimes talk about.  BUT she still has a lot to say.  She is finding out that a friend she thought was so “spiritual” – and who is often lauded as the school’s Christian character example – isn’t so spiritual after all (not that we’re claiming any dibs on the spiritual prize either!!).  It’s disappointing … and it is just the beginning of the disappointments we have in PEOPLE.

It’s hard, though, to see your child cry … and kind of see her losing the joy that she usually has.  Even her brother remarked to me the other day that she seemed “not herself” lately.  So, what do I do??   Of course, her dad in all his logical, man-thinking, says “it’s a phase … she’ll be fine.  She just needs to focus on school.”  And I agree … but SOCIAL LIFE is a part of school – and you’d think in a CHRISTIAN school, it might be a little more tolerable than other places.  But people are people.  And she just needs to find her “people.”

So, say a prayer for us as we seek wisdom – and perhaps another outlet for her.  We had a balanced (by our definition) youth group when we came to AR, but our YG leader left and now it has fizzled … we are still praying about changing churches this summer …  But, I keep reminding A-B that right now her family is her friends … and she has a really good attitude about that.  She shares a room with her little sister and is willing to color, play dolls, or sing silly songs with her; she and I try to go out together, just the two of us and do something fun together.  BUT I get it that she longs for a bosom-friend (a la Anne of Green Gables and Diana!) with someone her own age.  I am thankful I’ve had that experience in my life, and I wish it for her … someone trusted who you can talk about everything with.

I know God has a reason and a purpose for EVERYTHING … I know He is working in ways A-B doesn’t even realize right now.  I just want to be the mother who directs her in the right thinking right now.  I keep encouraging her that she’ll grow up and find “her people” outside our family someday … but that doesn’t always help with the loneliness of today.

These are the days that parenting is so hard.  I don’t like that my child is hurting … but I’m also not really sure how to fix it.   And perhaps only God can.

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6 Responses to Mom, Are We Normal?!

  1. Rebekah says:

    After reading this, I feel as if I’m reading about myself. I wasn’t the popular girl in school and I certainly didn’t fit in with the “popular” crowd. I wasn’t allowed to do half the things those kids were allowed to do. Guess that’s why I never had any friends. But that’s ok, I turned out just fine. 🙂 I will certainly add Ms A to my prayer list. Hugs to her…and you too.

  2. Amy says:

    I’m praying for a friend for your sweet girl. A real friend! As we introverts know, one true friend is worth more than a hundred shallow, small-talk friends. Sounds like she’s probably more mature where it counts than the other girls in her class. They’ll catch up one of these days!

  3. melanie says:

    Tough spot for both of you. Praying God will meet her heart’s cry — with revealing of Himself as sufficient, but hopefully also in form of a girl friend soon. Tough lessons in life include people who disappoint us. ❤

  4. angiemart says:

    So tough. My heart aches for her too! I didn’t find super close heart friends until about 5 years ago, age 42! (Although I wouldn’t tell A-B that!) I’m an introvert, so although I wanted close friends, I found time alone just fine too.

    I have a very social 13-year-old, who is struggling to make friends here in NC. She is different from the youth group crowd in that she enjoys sports, cooking/eating (true foodie!), minecraft and pinterest-little bit of tomboy meets arts and crafts! Her closest friend is going through her parent’s divorce and my daughter is being a good friend, but this girl’s influence is not always positive. So sad and frustrating.

    We go in waves on tv watching, but generally don’t watch much. My girls in the last couple of years once said that Leave It To Beaver was their fave show. None of their friends had heard about it. They told them to watch it on Netflix and then came home and said they felt sorry for their friends missing out on an oldie but goody. So different is just that-not the same. Who wants to be the same, anyway??

    It’s hard when our kid’s hearts hurt. I would encourage her to ask the Lord for a good friend and then to keep her eyes/heart open for the answer. He cares deeply about her and may want to increase her faith. May not happen until she is out of high school, but she has a strong family to fill in the friend gap until that happens. When I pray for Katie and the friend dilemma, I’ll do my best to pray for Annie-Belle too!

  5. Tanya says:

    We, too, have had some issues recently with someone who we thought as “spiritual” not being what they appeared. Unfortunately, I think that may be a “sign of the times.” I am SO sad and hurting with you both and will be praying, too.
    Guess what I have to give a talk about soon: godly friendships!! Tara and I are going to speak to a group of preteen girls. Please pray for wisdom for us as we prepare and share our hearts about this.

  6. Ruth says:

    I grew up as a missionaries kid (MK) and we moved every 5 years. I’ve lived in lots of places and never really had close friends like most of classmates who had lived in the same place all their lives and were generally all related to one another.

    My daughters had the same upbringing… moving all the time. I had a school administrator tell me that it would be important once the girls got to high school that they should be there through all 4 years at one school, so I should choose carefully. I have one daughter who is a social butterfly and another who clings to one person like glue. Thankfully the introvert got attached to another introvert and they were fast friends through high school. Annie-Belle will meet someone who feels as lost as she feels someday and they will latch onto one another. It may be another new student who comes to school… maybe someone who has had similar life experiences. It’s not important that she makes friends with all the “popular” crowd. Seeking out someone who appears to be a little lost maybe she could be a help to, this might be the answer for her. Yes, probably your family history is a little “different”, but in this day it’s not “strange”. There are lots of folks out there who have moved many times. I’m sure someone will come along eventually that needs a friend.

    I’ll be praying for your “mother’s heart”. God will provide. He knows our deepest longings.

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