Some Thoughts About Jack

I’ve been doing some thinking about my Summertime Ennui and what seems to be an almost pathological resistance on my part to doing anything about it. Honestly, I think one of the big reasons that I am not planning activities for Sam and Quinn is that I feel bad about doing fun things without Jack. It feels wrong.

But today a friend of mine said in response to my Ennui, “But Jack is getting what he needs.”

She’s right. Sure, Jack could benefit from the things I want to plan, but he is benefiting MORE from his Camp Awesome. It is okay to enrich Sam and Quinn with my oh so wondrous Camp Stimey plans and let Jack benefit from his even oh so more wonderful Camp Awesome.

Okay. I feel better. Thanks, Friend H.


On Friday when I took Jack to camp, some of the kids ran up to Jack to say hi to him. Awesome. Love. Wonderful. Except that Jack just walked right past them. Lame. Sad. The worst.

I started to say something to the girls and they said, “He’s shy,” which is a good enough explanation for them because it gives a reason for his actions and doesn’t make them feel bad. I was completely okay with them saying and thinking that.

But it got me to thinking about Jack and the concept of shyness. *I* am shy. I always have been. I have social anxiety and social awkwardness and when I was a kid and did what Jack did that morning, “She’s shy” would have probably been a good description of me.

Here is the thing about Jack. He is NOT shy. In fact, Jack is pretty fearless. Jack has always been the kid who will walk up to a strange man sitting by himself at a rest stop and engage him in conversation. This, of course, brings up a whole host of other issues, but shyness is not among them.

My guess is that Jack had a goal in mind (get inside the door to the building) that didn’t include stopping to mingle with his classmates. Changing course midway between the car and the door wasn’t in his plans.

Jack may not yet have internalized how to engage with people in what society has determined is the “correct” way, but if he wants to, he will come up to you and get your attention, no bones about it.

All this is said, of course, with the knowledge that I do not actually know what is going on inside Jack’s head. Maybe if I could be inside there (and you have NO IDEA how much I would pay to get to spend a day inside Jack’s brain), I would find that there actually is shyness and that I just can’t recognize it the way he puts it out there. But I don’t think so.

It’s funny how an off hand comment by a kid can make you plumb the depths of what you think you know about your kid. The thing that makes it hard is that I don’t know that Jack can put these concepts into words well enough to tell me what he’s feeling in those situations. Maybe someday. I hope.

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