Bunny has decided that, in kindergarten, girls and boys just can't get along. Oh sure, boys can maybe sit next to girls at lunch (like one particular boy she talks about regularly who seems to have a reprieve), but only if they are "silly." Other than that, girls just "don't like boys." It's just better to keep the two groups separate.
Which is a shame, because there are some adorable and sweet boys in her class, and I so would like to invite them for playdates and things. As it stands, in Bunny's world at the moment, playdates are strictly girl-on-girl action. (hee!) And that's alright.
I'm starting to realize (thanks to kindergarten) that playdates with their anticipation and excitement of sharing your world with a new friend—and then even with the conflicts that may arise and the resulting problem-solving—are the earliest and purest forms of community-building.
Hey, friend. You come to my house and we'll play and share snacks, then I'll come to your house and we'll to the same. And along the way we'll come to an understanding about one another. How some families are the same, and others are different, and it's okay.
One of things I am enjoying most about our family's transition into school life is the sense of community we're feeling and the deep sense of peace that that brings. I think part of the reason why we moved around so much was because we were searching for that spirit. We certainly felt it in Portland, but then we moved. We knew it was going to be elusive in San Francisco because how can you feel like an interdependent part of school life when you live miles away from school and/or your child's closest friends?
It's different here, though.
I have to give credit to the amazing parents we've met thus far. Everyone seems to have the same sense of "it takes a village." We reach out to each other to arrange playdates and carpools. Last minute and sometimes harried requests to pick kids up or drop them off "because I've forgotten an appointment or am double-booked" are met with "Sure! No problem! I'm there for you!"
There is this tangible sense that we are all in this together. It takes a village, and all that. And I keep thinking that if I was still tied up with a 12 hour work day, I would be missing this.
I'm relishing my new role as a (very-part-time, work-at-home-whenever-she wants) mom who packs lunches and has time to help in the classroom and who drives carpools. The fact that I spend time thinking about foods that would go great in lunch boxes or setting out school clothes or keeping our schedules organized is secretly thrilling to me. It feels like the ultimate form of feminism which is to say, the "I can make my own lifestyle choices, thank you very much" kind of feminism to which I subscribe.
As I said to my pal Jess, up until recently, I felt like I was frantically treading water when all I needed to do was stop and realize that I was in the shallow end the whole time. And as I look around Bunny's kindergarten classroom and the school and to our larger community—where we bump into school friends at the farmer's market or library or dance class—I realize that I was never in any danger of drowning.
I feel blessed to have this second shot at kindergarten.