I was never a popular child or youth. Well, not in the common use of the word “popular.” I didn’t have girls wishing to be me or be my friend, I didn’t have guys competing over me or lining up to take me out on dates. I was “well known,” but I didn’t know that until after high school. To this day I am still surprised when someone recognizes me from school and I draw a big blank, swearing in my head that I’ve never met that person before. But that’s not the point.
My point is, I wasn’t popular and I knew it. I never ran for any student office, though I was voted into some positions (class secretary because I didn’t mind writing and you could actually read my notes). I never had a huge gaggle of friends who rushed to me during recess or break. And I didn’t care. I
was am an introvert. Not shy necessarily. I’m just not a big “people person.” Big groups of people wear me out faster than two back-to-back Zumba classes.
“Em” is an extrovert. She is energized by attention (though she doesn’t always seek it, and can sometimes feel embarrassed by it like her mom does) and big groups of people. In the past 2 years of school she’s had a couple boy-friends, boys who like to give her flowers or little gifts. We’ve had the discussion about relationships and how any physical relationship at her age is completely inappropriate, and she’s embarrassed every time a boy gives her something, but she doesn’t reciprocate either the boys’ feelings or gift-giving.
Em always has a lot of friends of every gender and her upbringing at home, with my parents and in our church has given her a sense of compassion/who-cares when it comes to kids being different. Em knows that I think it’s ok to bend the gender rules (as evidenced by her choosing to be Darth Vader for Halloween last year) and so it came as no surprise to me that she has a really good friend at school who prefers Barbie dolls over monster trucks. She thinks he’s just fun regardless and doesn’t think it’s a big deal, or a “deal” at all.
Em’s personality and charm seem to keep her surrounded by many different types of people, kids and grown-ups alike. So, really, it shouldn’t have come as any surprise to me that today she was elected “Classroom President” in her 2nd grade class.
Every child had their name on the ballot, they made campaign “buttons” for themselves last week and they all voted today. There are 32 children in that classroom. The teacher instructed them to vote for anyone they wanted, even themselves.
Em voted for her friend “Laura.”
23 other children in her classroom voted for Em.
Had it been me that had been elected Classroom President, I know that my cheeks would have been as red as cabernet sauvignon and I likely would have turned it down.
But Em? Em’s beaming!
And while the duties of Classroom President are very light (filling in for the student of the day when absent or just away from the room at the moment), it’s a big, BIG moment for Em.
And I’m left wondering…
Am I going to be up late nights helping Em finish campaign posters in high school? Do I need to buy myself a shotgun to keep the boys away?
Are there any Disciples convents in the United States?
Em’s extroverted life is going to end up shoving ME out of my comfortable, introverted bubble.
P.S. WAY TO GO, EM!! WHILE I CAN’T IMAGINE BEING IN YOUR SHOES FOR EVEN A SECOND, I’M SO, SO VERY PROUD OF YOU!