Nina’s soccer season ended last night, and her coach treated the team to CiCi’s Pizza tonight. Are you familiar with CiCi’s? It’s kind of the Ponderosa of pizza places. It’s a buffet, it’s pretty cheap, you get all excited about all the options, you eat and eat, and then ugh, you don’t feel so well, and you swear it’s the last time you’ll ever be sucked in.
NO. MORE. CICI’S.
We never go to CiCi’s unless it’s the end-of-the-season soccer party. And with three girls in soccer, each playing two seasons a year, we’ve been there many MANY times over the past six years.
Tonight Nina and I went alone. The other three took a pass. And as I was walking out the door to go, I sensed God telling me, “Hey, so it’s going to be pretty tempting to just keep to yourself tonight. You don’t really know the other parents that well, do you? How about this? You make an effort to engage someone. And then you tell them your story.”
What the what?? I just don’t DO that sort of thing. Here’s the deal. I talk about “my story” online, and I talk about “my story” on the radio and at speaking engagements and to my friends. But I don’t typically start up conversations with fellow soccer moms and just blurt stuff out.
Sometimes I just like the feeling of anonymity. I don’t know you. You don’t know me. Let’s just cheer for each other’s kids, take turns bringing snacks, and leave it at that, ‘kay?
Yet, while I questioned what God was nudging, I felt a weird peace about it. Okay, whatever. I’ll engage.
We got to CiCi’s (at the same time as an entire HS football team), Nina sat with her team, I looked around. The other parents were sitting at tables. The tables were full. I sat down by myself at the last empty one.
Hmmm… how to engage??
Two minutes later, one of the moms came and sat down across from me. Her husband followed. And it’s a mom I already know (two of our older daughters were in school together). And bonus! She already knew about Gabe’s heart attack. She started right in with the questions. I engaged. I shared more of our story. Cambodia and all that. Even something that has recently come up that we’ll be sharing once we know more details.
Fifteen minutes later, they had to leave for their son’s End-of-the-Season Football Awards.
I sat alone for another two minutes. Then Nina asked me to go up with her to look at the desserts. I said okay.
Halfway there, I saw someone I hadn’t seen in ages. We went to college together. We’re Facebook friends but not the stay-in-close-touch kind. She had no idea about Gabe’s heart attack. I told her and her husband (he went to college with us too) all about everything. All the stuff. Our story.
I gushed over their stunning family of six, caught up on them and their lives, it was lovely.
And then I went back to the soccer party, small-chatted with another mom for a few, and it was time to go.
And I just shook my head smiling.