Saturday, April 21, 2012

Introvert Saturday: Loving Your Introvert: Thoughts from an Extroverted Mama

About the author: Kamille Scellick passionately believes that gathering around the table is where the body, mind and soul will be nourished. It's around the table where you're sure to find her on any given day...eating, talking, listening and sharing life with her husband, Ben and two girls (and others). You can find her sharing stories, hospitality, food and life with friend and stranger at her blog, Redeeming the Table.

These girls of mine couldn't be more different. As they bounce, climb and jump. Slide, bump and crash on the inflated air of plastic, with hair spun back like a weavers tapestry making conversation in their own unique way.

As I stood outside of that chain-linked wall, holding the tape recorder while looking into a sea of children, hoping for at least one friend. So she stands with her Baa Baa the lamb, enticing little girls her size into conversation. She's like a veteran captain taming the waves with her confidence and know-how of people. Her stature exudes confidence that is brilliant. When confronted with the sea of strangers, she dives in deeper.

While her older sister imbues a cautious observation. One I know. To scan the scenery before plunging forth; yet, she differs by being content on her own. I, on the other hand, scan...observe, in order to make a move.

She is a person who cannot be rushed.

Climbing methodically up the stairs as the crowd builds behind, and still...she cannot be rushed. Everything about her speaks "when I'm ready--I'll be ready," because she's a tea kettle on simmer--slow to warm.

Kindness and gentleness, her regard for others is astounding. She's my little Ferdinand protected beneath the shade, smelling flowers. Her world is right there.

Peacefully playing and bouncing with her baby doll by herself, not minding the solitude in this crazy jamboree. Meanwhile, her little sister making friends, embracing the loud by adding to it, is finding herself.

Extroversion and Introversion, I have one of each. As an extrovert, I'm seeing more and more how this world is geared toward the extrovert. How the extroverts abilities to dive right in, make friends, major in communication and open book, is seen as the greater. How in school settings the teachers or parents can worry about kids, like my oldest, not throwing themselves into the whirlpool of sociability.

But, what if these little introverts were quite content where they were. What if these little introverts didn't need us to feel sorry for them or push them to become someone they were never meant to be? What if they don't need, or even want, that many friends?

I confess that's it's hard for me to understand this and accept this about my introverted child. I have felt sad knowing that she might not have many friends, or be alone. Yet, I have to see her as she climbs the wobbly stairs, while holding tightly to that plastic hand with contentment and joy. She does not lack security or courage in that friendless side, because it's as if she knows more about this world than I think she sees.