A woman walks into the place I work part-time and we strike up an amazing conversation that involves finding out the following about each other: number of kids (me four, her six), that we both homeschool, we’re both Christians, we’re both asked a lot if we’re done having kids, we both have infants (her one, me two, but hers is much younger). We discovered all these things about each other in less than five minutes. It was awesome! We also discussed co-ops and childbirth. We had a meeting of the souls. Then she asked where I lived and I told her. She said, “Too bad. I was hoping you lived here in Plano because I am just around the corner and we could hang out and have playdates.”
This was my cue. I could have said, “We still can. My kids love that park down the way. We can meet you there sometime.” Or “maybe we can do some homeschool meet ups together sometime.” Instead, I had a very quick fluttering conversation in my brain that went something like this:
Normal voice: Ask her, she’s cool. She likes you!
Other voice: Yes, by all means, get the name and number of someone you will never see because between the two of you you’ll have to load up a football team to get out the door.
Normal voice: You can do it! It won’t always be so hard to get all four out the door. The twins are probably going to wean in a couple of months and it won’t be so hard.
Other voice: You are Facebook friends with people who live IN YOUR TOWN!
Normal voice: Okay, other voice, that was just tacky. Kristy, you complain about wanting some community. Build it! This woman will not be surprised at anything you have to go through to get four kids to the park because she has six. It’s a win-win! You will look like the one who has it all together! Well, probably you won’t, but there will be less judgment from this woman.
In the end, we chatted a bit more about the homeschool co-op she goes to and the one we want to go to. She took her precious son and they went to get on their bikes and ride home. And I was instantly hit in the face by how stupid I was. Why didn’t I say, “It is crazy hard to nurse two infants in public, and two hold them both in public because they won’t sit in a stroller, and their thighs are too chubby for the twin carrier I bought to wear them in, plus they weigh a combined almost 30 pounds and I think I dislocated my entire lower back lifting them last week. All that being said, I would love to hang out with you and your tribe. Can we exchange information and stay in touch until this is doable for us? I know it will be at some point. My husband and I can go anywhere with all four blindfolded as long as we have two Moby wraps. I am just still working on being better at it on my own.”
Well, that might have made me sound crazy, but I would have felt better about that then just rejecting her by nonresponse because of how over I am of making plans I never actually keep. It’s a season of life, and it’s a blessed, abundant, beautiful season. But this woman was gold and the ache D and I have for community is strong. We are happy being hermit-like people with our kids, but we feel God telling us we’re supposed to come out of the shell for intentional time with other people, people we want our kids to be around, people to share our lives with, people to serve God with. We’ve felt it for a while. We have people like this now, but they are few, far between, and insanely patient with how limited we are able to function while I am still the primary food source for infants. And I sense this woman would have been patient and understanding and so good for my kids because I’m sure at least some of them have to be the age of Sam and Wren. It’s such an insanely missed opportunity it hurts. I ask God to provide community, then I push the opportunities away out of fear a way will not be made for me to actually communicate with the community.
"You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Matthew 8:26
Follow up: God is all about second chances. I saw this woman again at work a couple of days after writing this. I gave her my phone number and explained how we were still a bit housebound right now. She said she was too, but we both wanted to stay in touch for the future. She has four boys! Jackpot for Sam man!