You'd think after 3 years I'd stop finding stuff that surprised me about being a widower (I still can't believe that is an adjective that can be used to describe me). I just realized that I am not involved, in the least, at DJ's school. I guess I'm not really involved in Stephanie and Michelle's school either. But because I know a lot of folks there, I sort of feel like I have an in to what's going on. But with DJ, I am clueless.
Lisa did that. Although she worked, she also helped with the PTA, assisted in the kids' classrooms, gave the teachers a break at lunch, and sometimes drove for field trips. In the process, she met other parents. Those relationships led to connections for me. She did the same thing at the swim club - she volunteered for swim meets. She met other moms. She signed me up to be a timer or a kid-pusher. I felt a part - because of her.
Last week I cancelled our pool membership. We never go anymore. I don't know anyone there. I just found myself sitting on a lawn chair reading a magazine, missing Lisa. Why pay $200 a month for that? I can miss her in my own yard for free.
Lisa controlled our social calendar. "We're going out on Friday with the Smiths. Wear khaki's and your navy jacket."
"Who are the Smiths? Do I know them?"
"You'll recognize them when we get there. He's bald - first name is Jack. You manned the mechanical bull at the school carnival with him last year."
"Oh yea. The time you signed me up for a two-hour shift without my permission."
"They needed help. I knew you'd just be standing there. Didn't hurt you did it? And, you made a new friend."
"Oh. Yeah. Jack."
Yes - she volunteered, built our relationships, set our social calendar and even told me what to wear. Now I have to sign up - I hate to sign up! And what's worse is now I have to do it on-line through some "sign up genie." By the time I get around to volunteering, there's nothing left but taking out the garbage after the event is over - a one man job no doubt. No friend there.
I can see me going into St. Mary's and meeting someone, "Hello, my name is Bruce Ham. You look cool. Would you and your wife like to go to dinner with me?"
The school functions stink without a spouse. She was always there for me. I always had someone to talk to. Now if the conversation ends with the person I'm talking to, I'm alone. My crutch is gone. I have to seek out some other poor soul or hover around the ham biscuits like I haven't eaten all day. "Sure am hungry. No time to talk. Gonna hit the food table... AGAIN." I'd rather have a root canal than attend a school party without Lisa.
And yet, my kids miss out too. My lack of involvement hurts their ability to get connected to other families. My desire to avoid the social crowds keeps them from the family events - you know, the ones where you all pull up together and then your kids leave you until it's time to go home.
I have to do better. I need a committee. Maybe lawn beautification or something. I need to find another single soul at school who needs some company too. Maybe we can hit the carnival in tandem. Serve punch together or something.
I can do it. But I sure do prefer married.