There are places I know I have community. St. Louis and the greater Midwest, my birthplace and home for much of my life, are peppered with people who are near to my heart. They will go out of their way to do things for me as I will for them, and now that I no longer live there, the times we are together are so sweet. Facebook, email, and in one case letters from them are means to keep those connections warm until we are in the same space. Recently a Boston based friend told me she was moving to Urbana, and I tapped my friends there who unsurprisingly and magnificently welcomed my friend to their circle.
I worried for a long time about raising a family in a place that did not feel like that. Over the last year or so, I have begun to feel that such a community exists here as well. I run into former students and their parents, I have fairly regular get togethers with friends, and there is a growing groups of parents who are really fun to be with. Quietly, my roots have dug deeper than I knew. The marathon tragedies revealed that in clear light when two of my school communities were caught in the action.
It is lovely when the roots are also revealed through love, kindness, and celebration. Thursday evening, I was walking by the school across the street. The parents of a former student were enjoying a cookout as the eighth graders prepared for graduation. We chatted for a short while and then went on our ways. This is what neighborhood feels like.