This morning, I had to drop Marc off at work for eight and then bring Jess to camp. (Which, on a side note - let me just state again for the record how incredibly glad I am to be a SAHM, poor Sammy was so tired and sobbed most of the way to bulbs.com where Marc works - I'm so lucky to not have to get him up, dressed, and out the door for day care every morning). We got to camp around eight fifteen, and her regular counsellors aren't there until eight thirty or so. We walked into the extended day room (where kids who get dropped off early go) and she first started to hug Sam and kind of flutter over him (which he did not enjoy, by the way). Both Lilli and Sarah were there, but they were busy with their friends and after coming over to give us a quick hug, danced back to where they were building friendship bracelets. So I gave Jess a kiss and tried to leave, and she attached herself to my leg and her eyes filled up with tears and I just couldn't do it. I know that I could have left her, she was safe, her sisters were there, she really does love camp - but none of her friends were there, the girls who usually run her classroom weren't there yet, and she was totally freaked about being left there alone.
I took her back to the lobby and sat for fifteen minutes until one of her room teachers got there. At which point, she was happy to go, kissed me goodbye and left without a backwards glance. But I was thinking, as I sat there in the lobby with Sam laying on me, and Jessie sitting as close as she could, that she really reacted just like I do. In strange settings, where I feel uncomfortable (i.e. family parties with the ex wife) I become super attentive to my kids (which is easy to do, as they have been little and demanding, and always willing to soak up any and all of my attention). Because I feel most confident being needed - and if I feel insecure, the quickest way to alleviate it is to focus entirely on someone else's needs. I recognized that in Jessie. Because I wouldn't want to go into a crowded room with nobody I knew standing with me, at least not when I was a little girl. I'm a lot more confident now, and a lot more secure about who I am... but there's an inherent shyness that I've got and Jessie is the same way.
I hate being shy - it makes things harder, I think. I've always envied the easy confidence that other people have - and while I've made my peace with it, I worry that Jess has got those same qualities. It took me a LONG time to get to the point where I'm happy with that aspect of my personality, to realize that there were quiet perks to it, I'm easy to talk to, people trust me, kids love me... and I've become more confident and better able to not feel as though I'm desperate to hide in big crowded social settings. Jess is so much like me, and even in the things that I wish she wasn't. She just is a shy girl at first, needs time to warm up, and isn't comfortable around strangers. It might be genetic, at least that's what I'm hoping, because now I feel guilty that she's watched me and learned that this is how you should feel - based on the past six years of parties with the ex :-(. That's really the only situation now where I feel shy and like I'd rather hide. And Marc - he's super friendly, in that he's never not totally thrilled to be surrounded by people. I wish she'd picked up on that instead - I think she'd have an easier time of it.