When my oldest son was a baby we lived in a place with a lot of social issues. I took a picture one time of him and some other children at a party. He was about 9 months old and he had the biggest smile. The other children didn’t smile at all. It could be because they didn’t know me very well. I also wondered if it was from their young lives already – alcoholic parents, one parent hauled away by the cops, a loud verbal fight where the house was trashed in the morning, etc. Those are the stories I heard of their lives.
I’m not perfect in any way or shape, but I had a steady job and income. I didn’t drink. I didn’t grow up poor and with few choices. I was using a new concept at the time called Attachment Parenting where I held him all the time, when I was home, and breastfed. My child beamed happiness and I wondered why. Of course, it horrified me to think the other children could be suffering.
Now sometimes I feel like that. I’m happy and relaxed. I go to events with others who live in intentional communities and of course it could be the topic – conflict, but everyone seems upset. Talking about one person or a community problem. I’m like – I remember those days. Fretting over what to do. Or crying over how others made me feel. Wondering why it is so hard to live together in an intentional community. My best friend says that may be the problem – the intentional part. Forcing to live with strangers instead of naturally gravitating to the same place.
So now I’ve got the big smile. I don’t have that problem anymore. I have neighbors all over but strong boundaries so we aren’t inter meshed.