Tuesday, July 22, 2014

It Ought To Take A Village

Its impressive, nay, well-on amazing what my hands can find to do when there is distasteful work to be done.  I've got 1, maaaaybe 2 slides left to make.  That's all.  And then finis.  Finished.  Over.  Done.  Kaput.  Except not kaput because kaput, despite sounding awesome to say (and going on my "need to teach my child to say this" list) has a connotation of forfeiture, of giving up.  I'm not giving up, I've just actually reached the end.  

What I'm trying to say is that I should not be writing to you dear people right now, I should be finishing up my presentation so that in exactly 12 hours and 9 minutes, I can defend my Ph. D. (Where the heck do those periods go?  Should I ask that tomorrow?) dissertation.  I will have reached what is known in academia as a terminal degree.  There is no where else to go.  The end.  Done.

It doesn't quite seem like I've found the right word for it yet.  Feel free to submit suggestions.

But I don't want to work on it anymore tonight (cough*or ever*cough).  I want to tell you about an article I read regarding Missing The Villiage.  And they're not talking about the creepy movie.  The fact that they did not feel the need to qualify that further enforces the reality that everyone is different and people aren't all like me, and its those people, the ones not like me, that I want in my village.  I'll take some that are like me, too, I'm just saying - equal opportunity village staffer here, folks.

The article (which you should totes take the opportunity to read) made me yearn both for the Laura Ingalls lifestyle that I have always felt robbed of, as well as the community that used to surround raising a family.  The working side-by-side with others in common tasks, mothering each others children, taking up slack when someone needed a break and being given that break when you needed it.  

Of knowing and being known.

Why is that so hard now?  Blah blah blah technology and expectations and media and rejection and stranger danger and yada yada yada.  I've got neighbors.  Several of them have children.  But we've never gotten past the "say hello in the driveway while on a walk" relationship, and I don't know why.  I am known to be aggressively friendly, and yet a "how about you and yours come over for dinner this Friday?" never passed my lips.  

I don't know why, although if I had to pick one, it would be a fear of rejection.  Ultimately, insecurity.  "They probably have friends they like to hang out with, and would shoot me down".  That lie rambles through my head.  Plus, I just can't seem to find a place to get the words in, because it always seems like we're both being so busy to be friendly and yet keep a barrier, a safe distance.  

Someone else to love on this big sweaty headed girl?
Yes please, I'll take all I can get!
I was just thinking today that it is important to make a community within (wait for it) your community.  That you actual neighbors ought be some of your best allies.  They may not be the ones you call with the heartbreaking news or tell all of your secrets to, but when baby has already gone to bed and you realized you don't have milk for the morning?  Perhaps they could pop in and sit while you run to the store.  The only real requirement is that they grab the child while running out the door, should the house catch on fire.  Its really not too much to ask.  Would you mind?  If a neighbor called and needed a warm body to hold down the fort, would you begrudge it?  Would you ask for it yourself?

Here's what I know - I wouldn't mind.  I am rarely more happy than making new friends and helping out people that I like, that I interact with.  I don't know that its true, I have no empirical evidence, but I have to think, particularly with the outpouring of "I miss the village too!" that I've seen/felt/heard, that others wouldn't mind either.  That most people are just as nice as you or me.

I read once that one of the best ways to cement a new friendship is to ask for a favor.  When someone does something for another person, they feel invested in that person, and will work harder to continue the friendship for the pure motive of getting a good return on their investment.  I'm not saying ask them to keep your 10-week-old baby puppy while you're out of town for two weeks, but why not see if they have the 2 eggs you need before you run to the store?  Ask if they'll pick up your mail while you're out of town for the weekend.  Just a small thing, possibly even something you don't really need help with or (as is my husband's modus operandi) that you could pay someone to do.  

Maybe you need to borrow a baby bath.
Or their sink.
Here's the crux of what I'm trying to say.  I want to know others and be known.  Other people feel the same way.  Almost all of them (stinkin' sociopaths making it impossible to write in absolutes...) long for community, just as you and I do.  So go know somebody.  Go invite or ask.  

In 3 weeks *insert mix of feelings here* we will be moving to a new place, a new neighborhood, and getting a whole slew of new neighbors.  I'm gonna know them, by golly.  I am.  I don't know if I'll take them baked goods (doubter voice says: What about allergies?  What if they are doing gluten free?) or just be sure to introduce myself with name and handshake and everything when we pass along the street (doubter voice says: What if they're germaphobes?  What if they have sweaty hands?) or what, but I'm going to find a way to know them, because life passes too fast to wait for it to magically happen.  You no longer get a community, a village, by simply moving into a place or being in the same life stage as others.  You have to work for it.  So work for it, my dear friend, because its important.

Have you done this?  Have you built a village?  Do you know, really know, as in have shared a meal with and have phone numbers for, your neighbors?  Please tell me your secrets, I know I'm going to be bumbling and you'll likely save my future neighbors several uncomfortable situations.

<3 M.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...