I was a shy kid growing up, evidenced by hilarious home videos at gymnastics or Easter egg hunts, where I would walk hesitantly from station to station or gingerly stroll as I collected a grand total of two eggs.
While most of the other kids were going wild, being adventurous, and jumping into the action without a care in the world, I preferred to hang near my parents. I would stick close to a comfort person while I assessed the situation and in large groups, I would rather listen than be the one to chime in. I can still be like that now as an adult (although I have, thankfully, long stopped clinging to my parents’ legs).
I still remember situations throughout childhood in which I would overhear other parents say, “Ohh, is she shy?” their voices dripping with sympathy or pity. Every part of my insides would cringe and I would want to disappear.
Fast forward to the present and I now have a two-and-a-half-year-old son who reminds me of the same child I was, clinging to my parent’s leg. He hangs out by my side at birthday parties to assess the situation before jumping in to play with the other kids. As he navigates a playground, I can see him assessing the ins and outs of each slide before taking the dive down.