Friday, September 12, 2008

Our Town

All of a sudden, the whole last year of posts where I wrote about how I didn’t feel like I belonged in our new town—about how moving is so hard and how I’m the only mama around nursing a preschooler and I’m such a big hippy dippy parent—seem just silly. Because a sense of being settled, of this community becoming my own, has crept up on me. How does that happen? I think, for me, it has something to do with a critical mass of people that I must know before I feel as though I belong. And it isn’t that they all have to be like me. I just need to feel as though I have allies scattered around the neighborhood.

I have been getting to know more of the parents at Luke’s school, and I have begun to socialize with a few of them. And I have recently met and hung out with (both pre-arranged and accidentally) two people from my town whose blogs I have been reading, American Family and ThatPatti.

And there’s Milkweed, who I became friends with at the end of my graduate school career but was out of touch with for the whole six years that I was in Chicago, who lives ten minutes down the road from me now and who is a kindred spirit. She is a member of the book club that I belong to, another member of which is a different graduate school friend who has her own Henry, who gets along smashingly with my Henry.

I’m also getting to know some of the parents at Henry’s school, now that he is a big preschooler. His school is just a couple of blocks from our house and is named St. John’s, as was my parochial nursery and elementary school in Alaska. Craig, I have to say, hasn’t been helping much with first impressions there. He went with me to pick Henry up yesterday, and he wore a T-Shirt that says, in huge letters, EAT ME. Underneath EAT ME are tiny little letters, probably a tenth of the size of the larger letters, that say “closet,” because the “eat me closet” was a fundraiser for the dorm in which we were house parents for four years in Chicago. It was a closet full of snacks that the kids would sell for house profit. But anyway, Craig wore this shirt to preschool pick up, and I was a little embarrassed, Craig meeting the director of the school in such a shirt, but we have a long history of conflict over his semi-offensive T-shirts, and I decided to let this one go.

Last night, after a lovely afternoon of meeting up with a new acquaintance and her boys, just the ages of my boys, at the park—where we also randomly met up with my blog-turned-real friend of American Family—the boys and I sat on the porch eating strawberry sorbet cones. The evening was warm and the cicadas buzzed, and I waved at neighbors out for their evening strolls. The boys were humming some random, made-up song, creating harmony for music neither of them knew to begin with. I was just beginning to feel the bliss of the moment, when all of a sudden, after a long pause, both boys came in at the exact same time with the exact same note.

And this place felt like home.


paige maddex said...

I love this post - point well taken - you have to get to know people. Thanks for reminding me that it just takes a little time.

Mara said...

I love that last paragraph. And I will be a part of that soon! Yay!


Beck said...

What a content, happy post.
My husband also has a history of wearing offensive t-shirts, some of which he designed. He doesn't anymore - I think it was crossing a certain age hump that did it.... or maybe they just all wore out. Either way.

Anonymous said...

i really love our little community...i've lived here forever, but it's nice for it to finally feel like my community instead of just hte place where I grew up...