I sometimes forget how much I love to live in a small town. It is usually smack dab in the middle of winter...somewhere between not having left the house for a couple weeks, not brushing my hair for the same said amount and forgetting that town is only ten minutes away. Despite this, I do a pretty good job pretending we live in a remote area of Alaska, waiting for once a month drop shipments of food and supplies and word from the outside world.
Until the eight year old needs social time.
As most of you know, I homeschool (or more accurately, unschool) my three feral children. Our life revolves around hikes, swims, games, reading and eh...rarely leaving home. My 16 year old completely supports the fantasy life I have created about not having neighbors in a 200 mile radius (as long as there is internet connection), but that is where the fun stops. My two daughters..the extroverts of the family, need...I mean crave copious amounts of time with others. I don't get it. I really don't.
But last night...a square dance with friends came up and despite my lame excuses an hour before we were set to leave (you know the ones, "oh, wouldn't it be more fun to stay home tonight and play that board game for the 100th time?" or "girls, how about I rent your favorite movie and we can make eh...kale chips and we can stay up way past our bedtimes?") we took off for the dance.
The interesting thing...I know that once I leave the comforts of my woodstove warmed house and see folks I haven't seen since...eh...last winter, I have a great time. I mean a really great time. It is comfortable to connect with people you really like and in this small town, I find I feel pretty darn nourished by the end of the night.
And although we didn't win any cakes at the cakewalk, we had a chili and cornbread dinner at the local co-op with locally crafted beer on the side, listened to the fantastic music of the Yellow Bellied Sapsuckers (if you haven't listened to them...you really should) and walked across the street to the square dance where we danced most of the night with friends and strangers to music played by whoever brought an instrument that night. It was completely fantastic.
But really... the best part? The sleepy 'thank you' from my eight year old, at the end of the night, who continually teaches me the lessons that are so important in this life...love and connection. And that, my friends, is worth getting out of your comfort zone every once in a while...