The car motor hummed as we drove towards our new ward (church congregation). I fidgeted slightly in my seat but tried to appear calm and happy for the kid's sake. All the while my stomach did a little dance. We walked in to the mostly empty chapel, I was so thankful my kids were cooperative and we were early that day.
"Are you visiting?" someone almost immediately asked.
"No, we are new, we just moved in."
"Oh yea! New people!" the excited sister said quickly inviting several others over to meet us.
So far, so good.
I flipped through the program and discovered a calendar with activities for families listed almost every single day- I was floored and so incredibly happy.
The rest of the church day went smoothly and my stomach settled as the meeting went on.
On Tuesday we went to the first of the activities for that week, a pool day at one of the member's homes. Due to Ryder's nap and a last minute trip to Target for a swim vest (as Alex's is missing somewhere in the mountain of unopened boxes) - we made it for just the last hour.
Once again everyone was friendly, with the usual questions: where did you move from, how many kids did you have... One lady asked for my phone number and quickly entered it in her phone.
I was delighted that night when I got a text from her inviting me to go to Pump It Up the next day with a bunch of people from church.
We arrived at Pump it Up and went into the play area. Several faces seemed familiar but no one I knew for sure. The kids began playing and I stood looking around hoping for a familiar face. It will be fine, I told myself as chaos swirled around me. I was thankful for the distraction of watching my kids. I smiled at those who passed, looking again towards those who looked like they were probably from my church.
Soon someone was approaching me with an upset child in tow.
"Is your son wearing a tan tank top?" she asked.
"No, no he is not"-grateful that it was not my child causing the trouble.
The kids headed into the next room and I followed. I stood there watching them play desperately wishing I could recognize someone.
"Aren't you new in the ward?" a smiling face asked.
"Yes! Yes, I am."
She quickly introduced me to others that were there from our church. Soon the lady that texted me arrived and continued the introductions. They were all so friendly, smiling and talking but they were also all so beautiful. You know, perfectly-even blonde hair*, make-up perfected in a way I am yet to figure out, stylishly dressed but not overly done or inappropriate for our location. I looked down at my own capris and purple shirt with the frayed ruffles. I said I silent thank you, grateful I picked one of my nicer shirts to wear today and vowing to get rid of half of my wardrobe when I got home.
They were all so kind and nice but I felt like the ugly one. Every group seems to have the ugly girl-the one that you wonder how she got in with that group.
Our kids continued to play and have fun; the group of us talked, sometimes wandering off to join in the play or to check on the kids. I joined in some conversations and was openly invited in- but sometimes I stayed back unsure of how much I should interrupt-not wanting to be the over bearing in-your-face new girl. I would be grateful-grateful for the day when this newness, this anxiety, these questions would fade with familiarity and friendships.
The morning ended successfully, with a future invite for our family to come over to dinner but once again it happened.
Once again**, I am the new girl.
I've gotten pretty good at this role....
but sometimes, well sometimes I wish I didn't have to be.
*they did not all have blonde hair-but the majority did
** I began my blog a little over 2 1/2 years ago right as we were moving from Arizona to California and was the new girl.