Over the past few months, and even more so over the past few days, I've been thinking a lot about community and how important it is.
For the first time in years I'm starting to feel sort of more okay with the way things are in my life right now. I still really, really miss teaching and if the right opportunity presented itself I would take it without too much reservation,but there would be some reservation. A big part of my reservation would come from the fact that I would have to take a step back from how involved I've become in our local community.
I love that I've gotten to know all the administration and staff at the kids' school. I've become close friends with several of the other parents. I feel like I am being useful when I go in to volunteer to prepare snacks or help the grade ones with their reading. I've had parents reach out to me when their in a bind and need someone to pick up their kid from school and watch them for a little while until they're available, I've been able to be a resources to parents who's kids are struggling academically and socially. I also take comfort in knowing that there are people who would happily do their best to help me out if I needed it. People who I can talk to when I'm frustrated, or unsure of what to do, or when my kids are just being so sweet that I want to share it with someone.
Similarly, I'm really thankful for the time I've been able to spend volunteering at the kids' programs at the community environmental centre. Spending time outdoors is hands down one of my favourite things. Getting to nurture the same thing in kids... it's just the best.
There's also this blog community. It's changed over the years as many of us have gotten busier, worried about privacy, moved things on to other social media sites, etc. But still, I've found it so reassuring to be able to catch glimpses into the lives of other families like our own. To know that there are parents out there who have the same concerns and struggle with the same issues. (BTW, I miss all of you who've moved on!) I've made wonderful friends who I would have likely never met otherwise. I never expected to build relationships like the ones I have when I first started out here nearly seven years ago.
And finally, the community I've been thinking about the most these past oh, say, six days, the other feminists who have worked so passionately to gain equal rights for all people. How exhausting it can be, how frustrating, but also how rewarding it is to come together and recognize each other. To see how far things have come and to encourage each other to keep momentum. To say I am disappointed in the current political situation in the United States is an understatement, but seeing these huge groups of people worldwide organize themselves, to stand united and say, "We are not okay with this!" I've found it moving.
Together we are stronger.