I've said it before, and I'll say it again: our youngest is content to tag along on pretty much any trip for any reason. Even if it involves 3 hours in the car just to go pick apples in the cold rain. Plainly, she's a breath of fresh air in my parenting life.
In all honesty, my life has been somewhat reduced to a crushing sense of frustration upon driving down the interstate, returning home with a bushel of apples and a sleeping child, only to dwell on how I actually intended to get two bushels of apples because, obviously, one isn't enough. Let me repeat that: one bushel of apples isn't enough. One bushel of apples is a lot of apples, friends. It would make the average person think "Whoa, there partner. What are you possibly complaining about? What are you ever going to do with an entire bushel of apples for four people?" My children...they love their applesauce. And, it's just about the easiest thing in the world to make so long as you have a) a knife, b) a pot, c) some sort of blending device, and d) about half an hour. Well, now. I have all of those. Applesauce freezes so beautifully and provides such a lovely little nighttime snack for said daughters, who virtually never refuse it. AND I ONLY GOT ONE BUSHEL. Now do you see why this thought was looping through my head for at least 15 minutes?
In actuality, this dilemma is anecdotal. Despite my best intentions, I messed up. Which translates to failing. And when you're in a quiet car, just listening to the wipers, there's a certain tendency to repetition. There's a rhythmic beat that loops and reduces the negative because a positive thought never concentrates in this same way.
I've had a larger than normal spurt of socialization with family and friends this past week, which has called for the standard chit-chat about jobs, kids and what-are-you-up-to-in-your-life-now? Like the isolated and rhythmic thoughts of from yesterday's drive, my answers are the same: repetitious and incomplete. I could speak in complete answers, but small talk dictates incomplete answers. Yes, it's a blessing to have a non-traditional work schedule (but...). Yes, I enjoy teaching as an adjunct (but...). Yes, it's nice to take care of the girls during the day (but...). Isolation fuels polite conversation and forsakes meaningful connections. It also brings about boredom, which is not (shockingly) solved by making friends with the pantry.
Typically, I try to go somewhere every day, seeking out some amount of personal interaction. But today, I'm staying home. There are apples that are begging to be reduced to sauce and a little bean who's enjoys herself wherever she is. And if you read this far, would you answer one simple question? What are you doing today? Perhaps community is not a single entity but a diverse construct that is developed in a variety of ways. I think it is, and I would like for you to be a part of it. Who's up for some virtual small talk?