I live across the street from a cul-de-sac. We all bought our homes at the same time, moved in the same time, and many of us added more kids to our broods around the same time.
On weekends, we stood around in tight circles, clutching our new babies and our glasses of wine while our husbands smoked their rare cigars off to the side. We brought food and stories to share. During the week we passed each other by in our vehicles and waved to everyone.
The neighborhood grew up and the kids did, too.
Two-and-a-half years ago my husband moved out of the neighborhood. I stayed in the house because our youngest was still in high school.
Initially I was still invited to everything and then nothing. It was as if everyone forgot about me. I saw the families getting closer and closer but not with me. They had more parties. I saw one friend crossing the cul de sac to see another friend.
It hurt. A lot.
The final straw was one early evening when I was outside explaining to my ex why I thought the gutters were needing repair. I noticed a lot of movement and activity on the cul de sac so I looked to see what was happening. This one neighbor looked me square in the eye and didn't say anything.
My ex looked over as well. She looked at him, too. And then when I looked a second time, the same gal looked at me but didn't say a word. She made no indication that either one of us should come over and join the fun.
I stayed indoors that night while the neighbors had a great time. They ended the evening sitting around the firepit talking late into the night. I didn't know this until I was getting ready for bed and happened to catch a glance while I was closing my shutters. And that's when I felt the sting. The sting of being left out.
It was like being in freaking high school all over again with the cool kids keeping the uncool ones out. I was so hurt. I thought that we were friends.
Like I said, initially I was hurt. Then I was angry. And then I felt nothing even when there were other events I wasn't invited to. At some point, not only did I accept the fact that I was out of the inner circle, I was happy. I no longer have to wonder/worry that I being talked about behind my back--if I am at this point, it's from old information and I no longer care.
Like you, I am reserved and a little shy but I let these people deep into my life. One of them came to stay at my house when I went into labor with my third child. They attended my childrens' birthday parties. We've laughed together, cried together, lost parents and even two young neighbors together, but the moment I was alone and needed as much support as a woman in a disintegrating 25 1/2 year marriage, I had nothing--not a single text, nor an email, not even a SnapChat or Instagram shoutout.
In less than a month, I'm leaving this house of 23 years and I haven't told a single cul de sac soul. "I just didn't fit in with the neighborhood moms. And I wasn't sad about it."