My dearest friend Katie is visiting me this week, and when Katie visits words fly. Truly. They seem to sprout wings and fly. They fly between us, fast and furious. They fly up into the sky, gaining heft and meaning. Last night we sat in my kitchen and talked about modern middle class living. How—too often—we walk in through our gate, latch the gate behind us, walk in through our front door, lock the door behind us, and try to live our lives separate from one another like that. Try to live our lives as if everything we need is inside the walls of our homes. As if the people inside our homes are all we need.
House after house after house. Gates latched. Doors locked. And no idea of the longing and confusion and unmet needs simmering behind those barriers.
I have tried to live my life in a different way. In a gate-open, door-open kind of way. I live with my husband and three kids, but my best friend from high school lives with us also. (Fake-mom, as the kids call her!) My childcare provider brings a little boy to my house when she comes to watch my youngest daughter. A boy who was, initially, just another child she was taking care of…who is now one of my daughter’s dearest playmates. And I have incredibly close friends in my community. Friends who open my door ten times a day for a teaspoon of vanilla or to invite me for a cross country ski or to drop off homemade jam or to invite my son to bike ride or my other daughter to play capture the flag… friends who open my door because they need a shoulder to cry on or a cup of tea and advice or a belly laugh and a story.
I am exceptionally lucky. My community—made up of the smallest circle of my family in my home to the larger circle of my local community to the even larger circle of my friends like Katie—each person who makes up this community gives me a piece of what I need. Allows me to be just a little bit more of who I am.
Liz Garton Scanlon exemplified this in the most gorgeous, most true, most organic way possible in her picture book All The World. Read the book and watch Liz's words fly.
Yes yes yes. All the world is you and me.