on community (& why i sometimes suck at it.)

yesterday andy needed to deliver shirts cross-country to osceola where we used to live, so we tagged along to catch the field trip & hang out with friends.  one of the giant privileges of the homeschool life is spontaneous field trips, which i love.  certainly one of the multitudinous reasons we do homeschool.  one of the giant “costs” of all these great field trips is the thick, oozy layer at the botton of our van.  which i don’t love.


andy dropped us off at my dear friend beth’s house, just down the road from our old house.  beth & her husband jud are amazing hobby farmers, & every time i am at their place, i am filled up with happy envy at all the cool projects they’ve got going on.  they raise sheep & chickens, have an enormous garden & a bee hive.  who has a beehive?  they do!!  they also have a zipline for adults in their backyard.  cool cool cool.

this time of year, the newest thing on their farm is spring lambs.  we got to snuggle them, which my children loved.  [duh.]

beth, patiently helping leif feed “runt”.  leif loveloveloved the sheep & lambs.  he kept meowing at them.

oh, the cutie cuteness!  also, jud in the background, explaining maple syrupping to andy.  because they do that, too.  uh.maze.

we had a great afternoon, the kids romping around, getting their barn experience, beth & i comparing notes on chronicling our children’s lives & all things mothering.

one of my favorite things about community is all the sharing that inevitability happens.  i brought beth a pile of clothes for her & her daughter opal; she sent me home with a giant ziploc of gluten-free cookie dough mix, & quail & chicken eggs.  (my trades are always so lame.  plus, who gets to eat quail eggs?  me!  woot, woot!)  we get to hang out with baby sheep;  she gets to hang out with baby toddlers.  (again, where is the fairness?)

after beth’s house, we went in to osceola to see some more friends, andrew & kait & their three lovely children.  under the age of 3.  all of them!  anyway, the kids played “chutes & ladders,” we adored the baby & brought little kid presents, & andrew told us if we need a place to park our [future-maybe-possibly] bus, we could use his driveway.  fantastic.  we told him we’d not forget that goodness, might we need to call on it.

swap & share, swap & share.

my sweet sister-in-law elizabeth posted this on facebook last week:

“everyone you will ever meet knows something you don’t.”  bill nye, the science guy said that.  i would add that everyone you will ever meet can contribute something amazing to your life, whether it’s quail eggs, heartfelt conversation, or a bus parking spot, if you invite them in.

when we got home last night, our friend dave came over to talk t-shirts with andy.  andy & dave made the appointment on our way home, which meant we didn’t do any clean-up beforehand.  (or we just neglected to do it.  you pick.)  as dave stepped over whoknowswhat, andy said to him, “don’t mind the mess.”

“i absolutely don’t mind,” dave said,  & you could tell he wasn’t just being polite.  he came to be with us in all our chaos & give us his business, if for only a few minutes.  grace given.  (that & the great beard he has going on.  kieran, sitting beside him at the table, said, “you should be hagrid for halloween.”)

by last night, i felt so filled up on people & warm connection.  i felt loved & supported;  i felt understood & inspired to be more of me.  plus i had cookie mix.

& this is the part i have to remind myself.  i need people, when i’d rather just be my independent self over in the corner.  i need to have regular people speaking truth into my life, about myself & what i’m doing.  i can’t be an awesome mom all by myself.  i can’t homeschool well without other people’s ideas, & a hand once in awhile.

i can’t thrive alone.

in a couple hours, we’ll load the kids into the encrusted mini van & head off to art club.  we’ll bring two thermoses of coffee, one regular & one decaf.  our friend jaime will bring the cups & spoons.  my other friend named beth & her husband henry will bring their current goods to swap, & we will, too.  snow boots & magazines, sharpies & dress shoes.  while the kids paint & color, we’ll drink coffee & pick through brown paper bags & each other’s business.

because we need to.  we need people.  all of them.  all of you, who each, individually let us know we’re okay & loved, that the bus maybe isn’t too stupid (or is, but you still love us), that our place in this world is secure & our seat is saved.

this place, here, in our vast & far-flung community.


4 thoughts on “on community (& why i sometimes suck at it.)

  1. awesome. we DO need people; each other. we all do have something to offer! and we all do need to be reminded. i find that i drift off as an independent island sometimes in the busy-ness of my wife-ing and mother-ing and this, this post is a superb reminder of why it is so important not to drift … rather, to travel with purpose. a purpose as small (or truly huge-as it may be) as simply to connect. love every single one of your posts and thanks, yet again, for sharing. no, inspiring!

  2. Jill ! So fun to have read all your blogs. What a beautiful family you have . I loved seeing that dining table in photos, I remember the day you guys came to get it. What joy I feel reading your thoughts , it was a blessing to me this morning.

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