“I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.” ~Dr. Maya Angelou
Chaperoning a middle school field trip is not everyone’s idea of a fun day, but I didn’t mind. I enjoyed spending time with my daughter and getting to know her friends. However, my comfort level dropped during lunch.
Because we are fairly new, I didn’t know many parents on the trip. I picked up my boxed lunch and watched my daughter scurry off with her friends. The other moms and dads were deep in conversation with no available seats at their tables. As I looked around, I discovered I had no place to belong.
I was transported back to my own junior high school lunchroom, back to the days of standing by the tables with my lunch tray in hand, unsure of my place. I wasn’t one of the cool cheerleaders or athletes. I didn’t belong in the emo group. I didn’t fit in with the band kids, the shop class, or the talented show choir. Standing in the lunchroom felt like falling through a crack—a long, uncontrolled, neverending fall into isolation.
Here I stood again, in the crack. I am a middle-aged mom who couldn’t find her place. I sat on a bench alone and ate my lunch. I felt out of place, disconnected, uncool. Just across the way, another lone ranger parent ate his lunch in silence. I joined him and tried a few questions to get the conversation going. While the fun parents chatted and laughed, I labored to connect with a stranger, to find my way out of isolation.
Will our search for belonging ever end? Continue reading at The Glorious Table.
Photo credit: Jørgen Håland via Unsplash.