I feel like Jane Goodall, but I'm observing baby nerds. Ten year old boys in their natural habitat, building with Legos and discussing computer games. Old enough to care about impressing each other, but not cool enough to succeed.
These are my son's peers in every way. This is the first time I am on hand to witness him "fitting in". Their social aggressiveness is painting him as the quiet one (HA!!).
Build and socialize and savor this moment of being perfectly matched. Their conflicts arise and dissipate so naturally. Like tiny waves of testosrone breaking, most often, on a shore of laughter. Delightfully discovering commonalities among a group of uncommons.
It makes me wonder when the first time I felt socially matched was. My first impulse is to say the drama office backstage in high school. Honestly, I probably did "fit" better there than anywhere else at that time, but I think the place where I felt the euphoric sense of being with people who understood me (and part of me hates to admit it!) was the teen lounge in the orthopedic hospital where I "grew up."
Don't get me wrong I'm not opting for the segregation of the disabled (although I could probably make a compelling case for teenagers!). I've always been quite at ease around the non-gimpy population. There's just so much pressure in adolescence. It was nice to find myself around people who "get it." That old elephant got to take some time off. We just existed in our microcosm without stares, tiresome explanations or being told how "brave" we were. There was a peace. We had drama over boys, broke rules and stayed up late.
When the slumber party ended I went back to being the "one" who walks funny and that was ok. I remember feeling at home with my nerdy video store "family" later and much later with my mommy group, but nothing touches the lounge. Perhaps it resonates louder in these days when the changes in my kids make my path a place full of opportunities again. What kindred spirits will line the road on the next leg of my adventure?