Friday, July 17, 2009

Old Feelings

Over the years, I have enjoyed coordinating and planning activities for my children and our friends and acquaintances. Most recently, I coordinated a 4 day Scandinavian Heritage Camp at our Sons of Norway lodge. The number of children varied each day but at any given time there were between 12 and 16 children ranging in age from 3-8 years. Only one parent stayed to assist their child when necessary. There were a few children that I didn't know previously and who turned out to be less than attentive, to put it mildly.

As a result, there were times when I started to question my goal in coordinating the camp to begin with. I felt a little like a glorified babysitter. I charged a nominal fee to cover the cost of materials but otherwise, there was no financial gain on my part. I wanted to teach my children about our heritage and as I would be planning activities and gathering materials for my two, it was just as easy to include others. As we homeschool, it was an opportunity for my children to experience learning in a group setting.

When parents arrived to drop-off or pick-up their children, they would mingle with one another, sharing tales of their summer activities, and make plans for playdates or excursions together. We weren't included. Even my children noticed and upon our drive home asked, "Why doesn't anyone ride with us?" "Are we going to go to the playdate, too?"

I explained to the kids that everyone has circles of friends. Some are small - friends with whom we are closest and have the most in common. We see one another frequently. Other circles are large - friends of friends. Those we see only occasionally.

While this explanation worked for them... I was still troubled. My circle of friends has always been small. I don't have many close friends. Those I am closest to, with the exception of two, are not geographically close and this thereby prevents us from seeing one another frequently. Seeing the moms this week, whose friendship is obviously intimate, made me feel a little twinge of jealousy. I felt old feelings from junior high resurface. I felt unsure of myself.

Later that evening, I expressed my observations to DH and shared that we had felt left out. He then questioned why I bother to plan all these activities (Heritage Camp, Art Camp in Aug, Roots & Shoots Club, etc.) if it isn't reciprocated. "They are taking advantage of you." I hope that isn't true. I wonder though, if it comes across as though I am trying to 'buy their friendship'. If I didn't plan these activities and invite them, I wouldn't see them otherwise.


  1. I am very much the same way. Short of my bloggy friends, who I adore by the way, I have always been able to count my closest friends on one, maybe two fingers.

    Bottom line?! If you aren't doing these kinds of things for you, then why are you doing them? Selfish? Not really. Including other peoples children brings you some sense of satisfaction, and I ask. Why do you need anything in return?

    Do what makes you happy. That may be a bit selfish, but it is certainly not being taken advantage of :-)

  2. I am right there with Wes... counting my closest friends on one hand, and not all are any where near me.

    Don't doubt your purpose in putting these activities together. You know deep down inside it is benficial for the kids and you, whether you are close to othe other moms or not.


  3. You're not alone, E. I have just a few truly close, trusted friends but they don't live close by. I tried to branch out and meet new friends and even joined a mom's club. I found out that it was not as supportive as they made it out to be and I quit the club in less than a year. I felt kind of like a fish out of water with them. Other than our children, there wasn't much else we had in common.

    Thankfully there was also the running club through which I have made some very good, lifelong friends.

    What you are doing for the KIDS is really great! Keep it up. They will remember you and all the nice things you did for them, forever! And I bet their moms will, too.

  4. Thank you so much everyone. You totally helped put it all into perspective for me. I ♥ you all!

    GB ~ I've lost your email & your blog URL and thus can't post comments on your posts anymore. I still get the RSS feed via FeedBlitz. Can you please email me if you see this...

  5. Ditto everyone has said. Self satisfaction is your reward.

  6. It's all about the kids...some of them will see what you did, and campare to what they saw the other parents do, and maybe turn out more like you. And your kids already noticed the difference, although I thought your explanation was masterful. A road less traveled is all, but well worth the journey.

  7. Just sending some love your way! Abby wants to have a play date next time you are over this way. :)


  8. I can relate to what you are saying too. I only have a couple of friends that are what I call "true friends", no matter the distance, no matter how long it has been since we have had contact, I know I can always count on them.
    I find I don't usually fit in with groups, or it's only on the surface, just aquaintances (sp?). I have tried to explain the difference to my kids too.
    You are not alone.


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