This is What Community Looks Like

This is what community looks like:

We create gatherings to celebrate and initiate ourselves into motherhood. We sing, we read poetry, we dance, we offer blessings and words of support. We witness and dare to be witnessed in our vulnerabilities, our raw tender hearts, exposed. We are the midwives to each other, birthing ourselves as mothers again and again. This is what community looks like.

We set up meal trains for our first born, for a miscarriage, a loss of a parent, for moving house, and for welcoming a foster baby just weeks ago. Empty mason jars, casserole dishes, freezer bags and soup pots on our front porch waiting to be returned to the over 30 people who nourish our family. The nourishment is much more than the food which is delivered with a warm embrace. Though sleep deprived, we walk a meal down the road to a neighbor whose husband is undergoing cancer treatment. This is what community looks like.

 

We sort baby clothes given by friends, who were given to them by friends. During visits at the park, we recognize the tiny outfits that we used to button and fasten as they flow with generosity from one baby to another. Never needing to buy baby clothes nor baby gear because we are held afloat in the stream of giving and receiving. We know what enough feels like, and the act of giving feeds our souls. This is what community looks like.

We carry extra car seats, extra clothes, extra snacks and an entire first aid kit in our purses for that last minute call from a friend who can’t make it to pick up on time. We take the call, we make space, it feels easy. We feed other children lunch and dinner and oodles of snacks, we comfort the hurts of others when they come to play and help them feel welcome. We feel the relief of someone picking up our son too, and then bringing him home to play. The relief of not having to wake the baby for pick up. This is what community looks like.

We stop what we are doing when we get the text that says, “I need you”. We are compelled to be there for each other at any time, without judgement. We are always on call, with coffee, with wine, with tissues and tenderness. We feel the deep support of knowing that we have those friends on speed dial that will pick up that call 24 hours a day. This is what community looks like.

We can be ourselves without disclaimers like, “my house is a mess, I didn’t shower today, my baby is cranky”, we make space for the full spectrum of emotions. We can be ourselves in full disclosure, and share how we really feel because we know we are loved. We give each other opportunity to be 100% real. Being ourselves feels easy; a reciprocity of grace. We see our humanity in the mess, in the imperfection, in the brokenness, in the defeat. In allowing ourselves to be seen when we are imperfect, we cultivate resiliency and deeper friendships. This is what community looks like.

We have dance parties in the kitchen. We make music. We share what light us up. We love to laugh! We go camping and play at the ocean. We hike, paddle, bike, cook, and have adventures.We celebrate each other’s birthdays, our children’s birthdays, our partner’s birthdays. We meet after bedtime and let loose or make art or both. We gather beneath the full moon and delight in the rhythm that lives in our bodies and in the cosmos, someday to share with our daughters. This is what community looks like.

We make a stand together and get involved with government. We march, we organize, we make calls, we take action, and we research tirelessly and learn all we can. We inform and motivate each other. We stand in solidarity with others. We dream of our children and all children, living their dreams. This is what community looks like.

We are seekers. We wish to be more empathetic, more mindful, more open, understanding our own pain, grief, old stories and patterns. We go to therapy, participate in groups, take classes, read books, listen to podcasts, follow blogs, and gurus, and all the while we find that simply being around each other, we are free. Just being ourselves. This is what community looks like.

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12 Comments

  1. Rebekah on March 21, 2017 at 8:24 am

    That is what community looks like❤️

    • Kerry Ingram on March 23, 2017 at 5:01 pm

      Indeed. Thank you, Rebekah <3

  2. Trixie on March 21, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    I’d love to be part of this community. I have a similar photo from a mom’s group I started in LA. But sadly it’s hard to join an already established group. I will forever be connected to those women and babies from those first few years. How does one build that with a new group?

    I love this piece, Kerry. You’re a beautiful writer!

    • Kerry Ingram on March 23, 2017 at 5:00 pm

      Thank you, Trixie. Your group in LA sounds so special. There is such a special time in the postpartum year, a time of depth and vulnerability unlike any other season in a woman’s life. Building new friendships is a different experience in adulthood, it was so easy as children. Perhaps looking to the children to guide us and asking a friend to play 🙂

  3. Suzanne on March 22, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    lovelovelove this. love you.

    • Kerry Ingram on March 23, 2017 at 4:58 pm

      Suzanne, thank you for creating community through your yoga classes 🙂 Love you too.

  4. Pamela Augustine on March 22, 2017 at 8:35 pm

    Thank you, thank you Kerry! It is wonderful to walk the path with you.

    • Kerry Ingram on March 23, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      Thank you, Pam.

  5. Judith Frizlen on March 23, 2017 at 6:10 am

    This was especially poignant for me, after a weekend with high school girlfriends. For perspective, our last high school reunion was the 40th. Still after all these years, the bonds we have are unbroken and although we have all changed, we have stuck together. The glue? Acceptance, honesty, and knowing the value of a circle of women.

    • Kerry Ingram on March 23, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      Judy, thank you for sharing about your sustainable circle of friendship…and for the qualities that keep it growing deeper.

  6. Kai Harris on March 23, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    I love your specificity in celebrating how you experience Community … the beauty-ful flow of giving and receiving and co-creating a culture of kindness. Thanks for naming it and conjuring it and cultivating it!

    • Kerry Ingram on March 23, 2017 at 4:55 pm

      Thank you, Kai. Co-creating a culture of kindness…YES! Thank you for the reflection and for being a part of our circle.

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