I have experienced all kinds of community. School community. Church community. College Community. Mom Community. Music Community. And now, Homeschool Community. I couldn’t do this without it.
I’ve probably mentioned this before, but 20-30 years ago, when I was school-aged, I knew about four homeschoolers. Today, in just my particular Nashville neighborhood, in our homeschool group alone, there are over 60 families. There are probably more–these are just the ones I know of.
Y’all, that is insane.
A couple of times a month, our homeschool association meets together for “Open Play.” We meet at a community center and the kids utilize the gym and game rooms, or play outside on the playground or in the woods.
This week, Mr. Bond and the Science Guys came back to the community center to host a science lesson and the girls were super excited. However, Sera was still sick and I realized at the last minute that I had to find a way to get Amelie to the group and let Sera rest at home. Josh called and told me that he needed to come home anyway, so I decided to pick him up so that he could stay home with Sera.
As I hung up with Josh, I realized that I had confused the start time of the science show, and that it was beginning in just 5 minutes. I would not have time to pick up Josh before. I rushed to the community center and told Sera to wait in the car. I ran Amelie in, a bit frantic about how everything would work out.
As I walked back through the lobby I just felt total peace–because there in front of me stood about a dozen moms who I knew I could ask to keep an eye on Amelie while I was gone, and who I knew I could trust. I didn’t feel bad asking for help, because I knew I would do the same for them.
I realized in the car that I still had bright yellow cheese powder on my cheek from hastily preparing mac and cheese before we ran out the door. I laughed, and then warmed at the thought of my loving, non-judging, helpful community.
When I got back to the community center after dropping Josh and Sera off at home, I hastily took a seat in the circle of mamas sitting in the lobby and drew a deep breath. Josh and I had received some unsettling news, and when a friend asked how I was, I knew that it was a safe place to be honest–to tell this group of moms that honestly, things were kind of crappy. They listened, they offered sympathy, and then they made me laugh. I mean, the laugh-until-you-cry kind of laugh.
In the beginning of the year, I assumed that “Open Play” would be primarily for letting the girls socialize. To let them build a community of friends among themselves. I’m a bit of an introvert when it comes to meeting new people, and sometimes I wish I could wait in the car and read a book while the girls explore the woods. But as the Fridays pile up, I realize that it is not just the girls who need community, it’s me too.
And the best part? If I really needed to sit in the car and read a book (or take a nap, or use the mirror to wipe the yellow cheese powder from my cheek) I know these mamas wouldn’t judge me for a second.