God has a sense of humor.
After years of quiet isolation, I decided to venture into a "small group" at our very large church. As much as I enjoy sitting at home being judged only by my granddaughter, it seemed like it was time to get out of the house and allow a few other people to form their own negative opinions about me. I might not make much of a mark in this world, but I'm good for helping other people feel better about themselves.
My husband and I have tried a small group in the past, but with children in tow it never seemed to work out the way we needed. The meetings were held in members' homes, and often lasted past the girls' bedtime. Also, I hated dealing with my kids constantly coming into the room interrupting our conversation. After a few months it started to feel like a chore instead of a time to connect with other adults and grow closer to God. When I'm yelling at the kids and using bad language while driving home from Bible study, it's not a good sign.
Fast forward a few years. My now-teenage granddaughter had been asked to help with childcare for a small group on Wednesday night. My husband received an email from another small group leader asking if we'd be interested in joining them on Wednesday nights at the church. And childcare for the youngest granddaughter would be provided in the church gym. It seemed like a perfect fit.
Trying to mask my social phobia, I slapped on my best smile and walked into the room with my husband. Only a handful of people had arrived before us. After a few introductions, we took our seats and watched as everyone slowly trickled in. A disturbing pattern began to emerge. These people were young. My granddaughters are older than most of their children. Heck, strictly from a biological standpoint I could be a great-grandmother. (Note to the Princess: If you ever want to kill me, making that happen in the next few years would be an effective method.)
All these attractive young people were as nice as can be. But we're at very different stages in our lives. I've been at this for 35 years, and I've grown weary. They can't yet accept that someday far in the future their little ones will actually leave for college. I'm happily counting down, in single digits, the years left until I can kick my second set out of the nest. Right now their parenting problems revolve around toddlers who are just starting to test the word "NO!", while I'm dealing with a teenager who knows everything and imparts her wisdom with a side of attitude. I don't want to be the bitter old lady who laughs and says, "You just think you have problems now." I also don't want to be in a group where I'm described as "the older lady". As my husband astutely observed, putting me in a situation where I'm the oldest person in the room isn't good for anybody.
There was a real effort by several people at the end of the session to make this old couple feel welcome. As I was chatting with one nice young lady, I mentioned that my granddaughter was babysitting at another group meeting. "Oh, if you don't mind I'd love to get her name! My babysitter is leaving for college soon!" Reality hit like an asteroid. My granddaughter is old enough to babysitter her children.
I picked up my reading glasses and got out of there as fast as my old-lady legs could take me.