I suspect this will surprise my friends, but when I was in middle school and high school, I was very reserved. When I was young I was gregarious and outgoing, but between those two points I folded on myself like a Venus Flytrap. I had trouble dealing with people, and mostly avoided them.
I say this may be a surprise because the pendulum has swung back the other way. I’m now very outgoing, and given a choice, I gravitate to where there are people, and I’m often one of the last people leaving a party.
When Eli was born, I wondered how he’d deal with others. I’d had such a rollercoaster ride; would he?
Last weekend I took Eli to Pump It Up, a warehouse filled with inflatable trampolines and slides that wisely has yet to partner with either Elvis Costello or Missy Elliott. One of his friends was having a birthday, and the place was filled with Eli’s four- and five-year-old friends. I had to pull him aside at one point for breaking the place’s rules and climbing over the walls of the inflatable obstacle course.
“Dad,” he said, sniffling, “it’s no fun out there without me.”
“Oh?” I said. “But are you having fun?”
“Yeah. But not when I’m alone.”
If he goes all emo on me when he’s a teenager, at least I’ll know that that phase won’t necessarily last.