Friday, October 29, 2010

The Taste of Community

I'm really glad Sasha is in Kindergarten this year. Sasha goes to school from 9-11:30. The girl's school is an old building, and is like one of those schools you've seen on a movie or a US television show. There are steps and doors outside to each classroom, and the students enter and exit right to their own room. Every day, the parents stand outside the door and the roomful of 19 students run out to greet their waiting parents. Because it's kindergarten, each parent waits - and with waiting comes talking. Once you start talking and listening, relationship isn't far behind.

And that's why I'm thankful I'm a momma to a Kindergarten student.

When there is a day without rain, Sasha and I stay and play. There are four other moms and their kids who almost always stay and play too. It is amazing how relationships form. You know nothing about these people and their lives except that their kids are in your daughter's kindergarten class.

Soon you are pushing their kids on the swings and asking questions about your new city. You are learning names and listening for clues about their lives. One day you are brave enough to invite all four women and their kids to your house for lunch. Stories are told and layers are peeled back. You like what you see under the layers. It's vivid, colorful and real. You want to know more. You might even be willing for them to know more of you.

And that's where I find myself. We were invited to a family Halloween party tonight at the home of one of the four moms who stays around after school along with the others. There is something about going to someone's home that takes you to a new level of knowing someone. It's vulnerable to expose yourself to people in your own home. You are putting who you are or who you are perceived to be on display. As it so often is in life, vulnerability is rewarded.

We arrived with husbands in tow, having told them how much they'd like each other. We brought delicious food and shared a meal and a brew together. We stood around the kitchen counter and helped to get each other's kids plates ready. We listened to our kids laugh and play together and build relationship the way kids do. After being "just us" for much of the last four months, the sound of our kids enjoying friends in someone's home was a beautiful thing.

There was such richness in that home tonight. Authentic community is something I crave. I've craved it in so many areas of my life - and a few times I've been fortunate enough to find it. When you find it, you know. You just do. I had a taste of it tonight. I had nearly forgotten how good its flavour is.