I've been thinking about the theme for a few days now, and I couldn't decide which of two subjects I wanted to talk to you about, so I'm going for both!
This week we are with family in our family home, and I am really enjoying how my boys are interacting with the adults around them. At the moment they are the only children in the family. These beautiful interactions have been a long time coming! Sausages has always struggled with the attention of other people, but this year he seems to have grown up so much, and is really enjoying spending time with his grandparents, aunties and uncles. They have been doing all sorts of things together! My sister Wooodle has created a detailed story for him every day, culminating in a tea-aged treasure map on Easter Sunday, leading him to the inevitable chocolate treats, and a few pirate books. A year ago he would have struggled to let himself get engaged with this. The irrepressible Bob is absolutely devoted to my mum, and has followed her around all week. I feel so happy that they have these relationships in their lives. Imagine me beaming and beaming!
On the other hand, having moved to a new area where I don't know anyone, I have had to make a real effort to interact with other people and find a new community. I am not good at this - I guess it wasn't from the wind that Sausages got it. I am shy. I really really struggle to get out and surround myself with strangers. But I know that if I don't meet some people I will be sad and lonely, and my boys need other children to play with. So what have I done? I have joined a local group of mothers who identify themselves as "natural parents," who have both an online group for chat, and a monthly meet up. This has been a gateway to finding other things. I have joined my local Positive Birth Movement group in the hope of meeting like-minded women, and I have! The same goes for getting involved with my local La Leche League branches. I have also joined a Facebook group for local advocates of attachment parenting, which again organises occasional meet-ups. I have been going to Mass, but I haven't really managed to meet anyone that way.
It's hard to meet new people, most of all to find real friends. It seems strange to me that Facebook has opened the doors for me, but I have found that it's all about turning the resources we have at our disposal to our advantage. It's popular to bash Facebook and claim that it has a negative impact on community, but without it I wouldn't interact with my cousins so often and so casually; be able to chat with old friends in a relaxed way whenever I have thirty seconds to pop off a message; get support from small private groups of close friends even though they are far away; or find out where to start in building a new community in our new home. I'm getting there, and I'm not alone.
Interactions? Make them where you can. Community? It evolves over time, but it doesn't have to fit into conventional shapes. Please head over to see what Kate and everyone else has made of the theme of "Interactions and Community," and don't forget to let me know about your own thoughts