It takes a village to raise a child, so I’ve heard. I’m not sure what you’re supposed to do if you can’t find that village.
I think (I’m guessing), if you’re using school, and it suits your family, child as well as adults, that might be a large part of your village ready built. I never realised how lucky we were where we lived before with the home ed contacts we made via email lists both nationally and locally – both children had friends, and I had mates, ppl I could drink tea (or other things 🙂 ) with, and chat, and offload. Ppl who could look after my kids for a little while, taking the rough with the smooth and allowing me a little me space every now and then.
Not often. Maybe now that they are older we’d have got into swapping kids about more often, but they were fairly little back then, before we went into flexi-schooling and I was working and all that, and while Big had stop outs and so on, I don’t remember leaving Small for long very often.
It’s not the same here. While there *are* very lovely local home educators (you know who you are 🙂 ) we haven’t any of us fallen into the same sort of relationships we had in Yorkshire. The children seem to be in between ages – Big is older than most of the others, Small falls in a gap of mainly girls. And the families already have their routines, their interests and to a large extent, their friendships, set up.
It’s not that they haven’t been welcoming. They have. We’ve had lovely times with lovely ppl. But I miss my long term easy friendships. I miss conversations that pick up where you left off months ago, explanations you don’t have to make, excuses you don’t have to give. I love living here, but today I had to face up to the fact that I’m lonely.
I realised because we had a lovely day out yesterday with Tim’s family, and it was the nearest thing I’d had to a day off in ages. There were other adults around who ran interference on all the children, and I was able to relax in the sun without worrying who was thinking what about whatever they were doing or saying. We are accepted there, and it was a weight off my mind that I hadn’t realised I was carrying.
So today, I’ve felt oddly down. Because now I know what I’m missing. I’m missing having friends. This location is great – it’s lovely to be able to walk easily to so many things. It’s scenic, we’ve got the seaside, there is everything that I could need. Except a mate.
Tim nailed it. He pointed out that through my life I’ve pretty much always had one or two (for want of a better phrase) close girlfriends. Which is odd, as I don’t think of myself as making friends with women easily, but he’s right, there have been a succession of close female mates. And here I haven’t got one. There are lots of ppl I chat with, nod to, pass the time of day with, but they all seem self-contained in their lives, and it’s only a chat and a nod in passing, half an hour or an hour during a swimming session, and that’s my lot. He also surmised that that is what’s behind the amount of time I spend on twitter. Just trying to find that social outlet, somewhere.
But I need a little more, actually irl. Tbh, I’ve no idea how I go about setting it up. Home education does complicate things a little, as does our family aversion to many group situations, and my excruciating shyness. And I think it might be part of Big’s current issue as well, that she hasn’t made close local friends, despite trying with swimming and brownies and guides. So we’re thinking about looking in to other avenues – maybe an art class for her. Perhaps I’ll try the WI (could do with learning to make jam). I might have made friends up at the allotment, but we’ve barely made it up there, and I have so much to do, I don’t think that’s going to change any time soon.
I’m going to have to work this one out. Now that I’ve given the problem a name, will the solution be easier to find?