James is the new kid at preschool. The nine other kids where together last year. This didn't phase James. He is the most easy going person I know. He doesn't cling to my leg nor do I have to bribe him to get to school. Before I know all the mommy's know his name and the teacher reports that he is doing A+.
I am impressed by James' ability to parachute into a new environment without even showing a stumble. For me it's not that easy: evidence of this was as early as when I started kindergarten where I literally would hide in the morning so I wouldn't have to go. (Side note: my teacher was a nun, need I say more?) Twenty some years later I remember one of my performance reviews said I had to work on not being so aloof. I was insulted and chalked it up that my boss was an idiot.
Recently a friend told me her daughter said to her, "I think Joanne doesn't like me." I was shocked and sadden by this. I really like her daughter. Her confidence and ability to play all kinds of sports impresses me. What did I do that made her feel this way? Did I show signs of being "'unapproachable"? Was my boss' comment from years back coming back to haunt me?
James is the type of person, regardless of the color of his skin, that people will remember meeting him. Me on the hand, people forget my name. That doesn't bother me. I am by no means the life of the party. I like being on the side lines. But I don't want my quiet personality to be classified as snobbery...if that is even a word. I don't want people who are in my presence to have thoughts to themselves, "Isn't she anti-social. Obviously she isn't very friendly" or worse thinking I don't like them.
Last week at preschool I tried to be more 'open'. I said hello to one of James' classmate and than said hello to what I thought was the grandpa. "Hello! You must be Jane's grandpa." "No. I am her dad." Damn.
As I stumble to find my way to being a more open person I will take cues from my four year old, who to me, has mastered the art of being friendly without being overbearing.