If you had asked me in high school, on any given day, I’d be happy to tell you that one day I’d leave my hometown and never look back. And, aside from a visit here or there, that’s exactly what I did.
My home town isn’t tiny, by any means, but it is small. And with a small town comes, well, small town pains. Mainly, everyone knows everything about everyone, whether you want them to or not.
Then I had kids. Suddenly that old mantra of “you’re going to miss this” began to ring true. There is something about having kids that makes you long for things you thought you were ready to say goodbye to.
I now crave all those good bits of small town life that I, somehow, overlooked growing up.
I crave the community. Heading to the Friday night football or basketball game because, well, it’s Friday night and that’s what you do. Heading to the Easter Egg hunt down at the community park and watching as your kids run off to play with all the kids they know. The same kids they go to school with and play soccer with. That they’ve known since they were toddlers. And the parents gather and chit-chat with each other because, after all, they all know each other and went to school together, too.
I crave the neighborhoods where you can knock on your neighbor’s door and leave your baby with her while you run to parent/teacher conferences. Because you actually know your neighbors. They babysat you as a kid or you grew up together or it’s your former classmate’s mom. Or you just know them because you know everyone.
I long for the community where things do not go unnoticed. The birth of a baby is celebrated and the death of a loved one is mourned. Together.
I want to be surrounded by friends and family. And I want it to be easy because it just is.
I want all the good parts. The Norman Rockwell parts.
It’s what I crave because it’s what I want for my kids. What I want for me. What I want for my soul.