Sharing our lives is powerful. And I mean really sharing. Like not mopping the kitchen floor before your friends and their kids come over for dinner. Like telling them you really don’t feel well when you don’t. Like asking for help when you’re overwhelmed. Like ignoring to pile of dishes in the sink to sit down talk with someone you love.
Community is about letting people in. It’s about knowing you’re not alone. But sometimes that’s means having hard conversations. Often it means sharing meals, planning playdates and just being near. I think about the meals people brought me after each of our adoptions and the way people cared for us physically and emotionally after my father-in-law died unexpectedly and I know the power of community.
And I believe technology can help foster community.
Having phone conversations when, like me, my closest friends have small children in their homes, and probably at their feet, is hard. Texting and emailing to schedule times together often works because we can go about our lives — getting preschoolers ready for the day, packing lunches, filling sippy cups, changing diapers, washing clothes, doing dishes, reading books, playing Memory, sweeping up crumbs from breakfast — and make plans and check on each other while doing so.
Facebook makes the world smaller. And it makes community come together as moms encourage each other, ask for advice and warn of trials that could come. It’s a place we can share wisdom we’ve read and songs we’ve heard and then plan parties for our families.
But just because we text and email and Facebook doesn’t mean we shouldn’t hang out. Being intentional about meeting at the park or the restaurant with the ball pit is also important to living in community. While the kids run together, us mommas can talk and bond, even if it’s interrupted. And it will be interrupted. But ’tis the season for us to multi-task to take care of everyone near us.
And in community these same people take care of me.
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