I've run into this realization a few times this week.
First, we had some forms come home from school that required us to fill in the names of 3 people the school could contact in case of emergency and we weren't able to be reached. Normally, that wouldn't pose much of a challenge for me. Whenever I've done this in the past, I automatically put "Auntie Carla" down in the number one slot. She knows us. We know her. Not only that, but my kids love her and they are most definitely loved by her. It's easy. After her name, I could list many friends who know and love my kids.
This week's form filling out process posed a challenge. We don't know anyone. I may know some names and faces, but certainly wouldn't feel comfortable having them care for my kids. Yet. So I put the following on the forms: "Since we have just relocated here we don't have any contacts. I will update when this changes."
Something else happened this morning at the Kindergarten pick-up zone. Sasha has "a new best friend" and these two girls are joined at the hip. I've spoken with Ganika's mom quite a bit in the school yard - she's been very friendly and welcoming. Today I asked her if she'd feel comfortable with me taking Ganika home for an afternoon sometime to play with Sasha. I could tell she was uneasy with this immediately. She paused, and then said she'd have to come over too to make sure Ganika was comfortable and would feel ok about staying. In other words, "I need to come check your place out and investigate whether or not you're a weird freak."
I can't say I blame her. I'd do the same thing if I didn't know a person well.
But I'm not used to this. In Winnipeg, I'm known.
In the same vein, I've been observing Ellie this week. Of all three girls, she's probably had the most challenge connecting with other friends here. That's not how I would have predicted things turning out. In Winnipeg, Ellie was surrounded by a large posse of friends. If anything, she'd sometimes complain that too many people wanted to play with her at recess and it made her feel torn in different directions.
If you know Ellie, you know she's silly. She loves to laugh and is definitely the most animated and out-going of all the girls. If I watch her here on the playground, or coming out of her classroom, I can tell she doesn't feel safe to be Ellie yet. She's cautious and guarded. She observes and watches. Amazingly, she continues to be positive about going to school each morning.
On Wednesday her buddy from school in Winnipeg called her. Within seconds, I saw Ellie emerge from her shell and light up. She knew she was known by the friend on the line. It made all the difference.
I hope Ellie finds someone here who really wants to know her.