Monday, May 7, 2012

Adult Friendship Dilemmas

Recently, I found myself seated with two other mothers who have boys who are friends at school with my son. I don't know the moms very well. But I do know that they have been nothing but nice every time I've seen them. They're on that, "I'd like to get to know you better if I had more than four days a month to schedule things I want to do with other adult people  -- which probably don't fit in with the four days a month you might have time to schedule non-family things" list.

And it made me sad. Mostly, because, X-man is fond of their children.

But then in the middle of the conversation, one of the moms, who I definitely adore, invites my son to her Vacation Bible School. It was very sweet and I thanked her. But not before I blurted out, "We're atheists."

I've never been real sure how to handle these situations. I know I'm being honest, but you never know if, when you tells someone something like that, they take it personally. Like do they think I don't like them now because I know they believe in god... and the vice versa.

Later that afternoon, I kind of felt okay about blurting it out because I was being honest. It's a big part of who I am. I don't hide it, but religion doesn't really play a role in my life (unless you count watching Castle as a religion). But I know it does in other people's. I'm not ashamed. It's just not how I normally lead conversations with when I interact with new people. And I hope I didn't make her uncomfortable.

The next day at school, I walked X-man in and I ran into her son. He looked at me very lovingly and asked, "Do you know Jesus?"

I figured that the mom must have had a talk about it with her son, so I answered as very nicely as possible, "I know of Jesus, but I've never physically met him."

One of the other parents found that to be kind of funny, and so did the child. So I let it go at that.

But later during the pledge of allegiance, X-man said that the child asked him why he didn't say the "under god" part during the pledge.

X-man said he didn't say anything for a while and then said, "My family isn't 'under god'."

The little boy was apparently very quiet. X-man said he looked like he was in disbelief.

I can see this going in a good way, and a bad way. And I really hope it goes the good way.

I talked to X-man about going to the Vacation Bible School. I explained that it's always good to learn about the different beliefs there are in the world, so that he can make his own informed decision. He said no thank you, but that he would very much like to play with his friend this summer.

Then he followed it up with, "It's okay that we're different, Mom. It's what makes us -- us. If we were all the same, life would be boring."

And that was one of those times when I just wanted to hug his little social anxiety ridden body to mine forever.


ktdid said...

I love him. I love you. I love this.

The Fearless Freak said...

Being a disbeliver myself (maybe not Atheist, since I think there is something out there, just not sure it is the Christian representation of God), this is a tough conversation to have. However, my kids go to bible school almost every summer. They really enjoy it and really do have a lot of fun, even if they have to get it with a dose of Jesus.

As for making friends, I've found proximity helps. That is part of the reason I've always walked up to pick my kids up at school. Even if it is only 10-15 minutes a day, I get to hang out and chat with other moms while we wait for the kids or while they play for a few minutes. They may not all be the best friends I've ever had but they are fun and entertaining people and it is 15 minutes of conversation. And I've made some really great friends in 15 minutes a day, so it has been worth it.

VeganLinda said...

Great post!