The last two seasons of soccer, all the moms sat together during practices twice a week, chatting, while we watched our kids. We all got matching shirts with little sparkly soccer balls, to cheer on our kids on game days. We all sat together at games, yelling encouragements, clapping when goals were scored. We weren't besties, but we all had something in common, so we hung out. I am not normally comfortable in most social situations, but there was a consistency, a routine, that alleviated some of my anxiety. I felt as though I got along with these women, although I did do a lot of self-censoring, just in case.
But this season is different.
I am usually the first mom to arrive at practice this time, so I park my chair along the sidelines. None of the moms will sit with me this season. Where ever I put my lawn chair, the rest of the moms are not. Instead, they sit far enough away that I cannot hear what they are saying. At first I thought that it was a fluke of some sort, but it has happened three or four times now. My husband, who never notices anything, has even joked about it, asking me if I have cooties or something. I have no answer to give him.
I admit that it does look rather sad--me sitting by myself on one end of the sidelines, with a crowd of people sitting on the other end. One of the mothers has designated herself as Switzerland, of course. She will place her stuff between me and the other group, and she will walk over to me for a few minutes of conversation before she heads over to the other group, leaving me isolated once more. Somehow, that just seems to make it worse.
What did I do? Am I just a terrible soccer mom? I have thought about it, sitting by myself, all alone, on my end of the field. I bathe regularly, and I brush my teeth daily, so it's not a hygiene issue. There's no specific dress code that I have been able to discern. When it is my turn to bring snacks, I bring the good, organic snacks instead of the high-fructose corn syrupy stuff. I don't work with any of these people. I haven't talked mean to any of them, at least not intentionally(and really, if someone is mad at you for some reason, shouldn't they at least tell you what they are mad at you for, so you can apologize?).
At first, when I realized that nobody would sit with me, I was upset. My immediate reaction was to take the blame. I must have done something to displease the group in some way, my brain yelled, and I must make amends by sucking up more; something along those lines. Since I sometimes stick my foot in my mouth without realizing it, that response was not unusual. Rationality won out, for once. I could not think of a single thing to warrant this treatment. I went through a few stages of grief--anger, disbelief, etc. Okay, I even cried a little bit, but to be fair, it had been a long day, and I was out of chocolate.
I can manage this for the next month or so. I am used to this sort of treatment, after a childhood full of worse. Probably won't be the last time I see it, either. I am made of pretty sturdy stuff, and I will survive. Maybe I'll start a support group; surely I am not the only soccer mom out there who has been in this position? I am not sure what I will do next season yet, but I will cross that bridge when I get there.