Forty percent of the world's people are shy, and Teri and I are to varying degrees among this population. It's an endearing quality in a little kid. Yet it's less appealing in a 50-something person. Living several hundred miles away from my mom's, and working at a newspaper with limited time off for holidays, I was happy to have a new family to share Thanksgiving 2008 with. Still, I worried about meeting new people. I worried if I would make a good impression and get a thumb's up for continuing to share space with their daughter, sister and friend.
As we drove up to brother Stuart's country home, my apprehensiveness over crowd dynamics was palpable. Where would I sit, or would I need to mingle? Who would I talk to? Who would talk to me? Would I have to go out to a field and shoot targets to prove my manliness? Would there be drinking? Dancing? Irrational exuberance?
Their welcome was warm and comfortable. As it turned out I had nothing to fear but my own phobias.
Still, for every hour with people, the rule of thumb for shy people goes, we need to spend two hours alone or in quiet company decompressing. We need to recharge our batteries. I have learned, as Kahlil Gibran advised, to put spaces in our togetherness, so that Teri and I both have enough quiet moments to recover.
We love family and are dedicated to them, and at that First Thanksgiving I felt fortunate to be welcomed into the fold.