Thursday, 28 April 2011

Making Daisy Chains in the Sun

More and more, I'm finding that I care less and less what other people think.

When NP was in nursery I felt a strange obligation to fit in with the other parents, but, being the reserved and socially inept individual that I am, I would stand alone instead of striking up conversation at the gate. I think this is partly down to the co-incidence of all having had a child within the appropriate 12 month period, but having absolutely *nothing else* in common. But, if I'm going to be truly honest, it's due to the fact I have no idea what to talk to them about. Especially when all they have to give in return are one word answers and (if they're feeling generous) an awkward smile.

Today felt different. I was in the same place, at the same time, collecting NP from a different setting. I arrive first and parked my bum on the grass to enjoy the sunshine. We've been quite into daisy chains lately, so I started making one for NP as a 'hello!' gift (she does love her incentives to get home). The mums, dads and grandparents gathered like a tribe of penguins, tightly packing together under the all-weather awning, talking sh*t and being boring.

I felt relaxed and carefree, poking daisy stems and threading them together. When "Reece!" wouldn't stand still and got a gob full from his mother I didn't even 'tut' disapprovingly. (Poor old "Reece!" he couldn't look at anything a two year old might find interesting whilst his mother was waiting for "Jack!" and grumbling at "Matthew!'s" Mum.)

It was surreal, sitting there, apart, and not wanting to be any closer. Not thinking that I *ought* to *try* getting to know those people. Maybe I could get along with many of them, perhaps one of them could be a good friend. That would be cool. But, right there, at that moment in time, I was so happy to be me, doing what *I* felt happy doing. I was not standing alone in a crowd, masquerading as a part of something, I was sitting alone, feeling comfortable with the decision to be different.

As I've been writing this, I've been wondering what my point is. Why should it matter where I stand when I'm collecting my kid from playgroup? And my answer is this: it's not about the physical reality. It's about the feeling: the realisation, in my mental space, that I'm happy not to be a part of the cohort. I'm happy that I don't have local gossip to share and a place in the pecking order. I'm happy to wait for my girl, and make daisy chains in the sun.