Nothing like a night out with friends to recharge your batteries. Me and some gal pals went down to the local pub, obstensibly for book club, but really to socialize because book club seems to be fading fast. We're not into the books as much anymore, and it is getting hard for all of us, of which there are only eight, to get together and have a night as being us. Not so much moms, doctors, vets, lawyers, nurses, historians, teachers, office managers or writers. We do talk about our kids, but we also talk about community, a little gossip about our work lives and spend the time learning about each other as we tell stories of our past. I enjoy this little group of friends, and though book club may not be what we need, I think we do need time together, separate from our kids, husbands and work obligations.
So I woke up this morning, thinking about how I got the opinions from one friend on the youth sports programs in our town. She's probably more knowledgeable about that stuff. I wouldn't know if the high school was winning or losing. I'm not one to care about winners and losers in sports, just how they play the game. Yes, it is great to win, but I'd rather they focus on team work and skill building, especially at a young age. I was also thinking about how we compared notes on sending daughters to dance, and our thoughts on local Cub Scouts. Most of us walked, but some drove to the local pub to meet. It's so cozy to be just blocks from your downtown businesses. I walked in the warm fall air to meet up with one friend on the way to walk the rest of the way to the pub.
This is the community that you wonder about when you move away from home. It's not very big, but it's part of the larger town landscape. It's the friends and neighbors that give you their advice and opinions, invite you over for backyard parties and pumpkin carvings, take pictures of your kids in Halloween costumes, debate with you and accept your differences, share cookies and holiday recipes, invite you over in the winter storms for coffee cake and hot beverages while your children play and argue together. It can be found. But it does take work.
I now understand how hard it is to move. It's not just hard on your children, it's hard on the grown ups leaving their social groups behind. That next job somewhere else needs to be pretty spectacular to make you want to uproot your whole sense of being as self, as a couple, as a family. We did move once before as a whole family and we were pretty strong in our convictions that we wanted a smaller town life for our children. The uprooting was deemed worthy of the goal we were looking for. We had our very good friends in our city suburban life and we miss them dearly, but it was a much smaller group of people we knew compared to how we've branched out. The only thing that would make living here better is if we could have brought them with us. But each family has to weigh that decision. For us, the move to the small town was a mystery that we couldn't be sure it would be totally right, but turned into a great thing. It could have turned out different, but for that fateful day my then stay-at-home husband took our then two year old to the library and the librarian said, "Oh, are you here for the playgroup?" He wasn't, but it seemed like a good idea and somehow a group of similar minded parents met each other, let their little children play, and eventually grew to bond in different ways.
The "new" job maybe has faded in its previous expectations, but we have something we value so much more, the community that we live in is something that makes our lives full, balancing any of the difficult challenges that we face.