Now that my first-born is in school, I realize that I’m having a hard time adjusting to city life. Particularly the raising-kids part. I grew up in small-town Alberta, where everyone knew everyone, and it was very common to not only know your teacher, but to also be going to school alongside their children. My high school graduating class was somewhere around 70 kids, and we grew up together; we knew each other’s siblings and cousins, birthdays, after-school jobs, houses, and cars. So I find it very strange to be dropping off my five-year-old for a full day of school, not knowing the parents or even the last names of his classmates.
I know, I know….. privacy concerns surround the release of personal information. But really, what would I do if I knew the full names or, gasp!, the phone numbers of his classmates? Google them? Spam them? Creep their Facebook pages? Likely not. In fact, all I would do is cultivate a community for my children. I’d store the ‘last name’ details into my brain so that as my child continues at his Elementary School for the next nine years, I might run across those names at other extra-curricular or community activities and build a support system, a network, a village-to-raise-a-child.
I’ve become increasingly embedded into the Burlington community; I’ve got a profession that allows me to work with people from all walks of life and it’s a small enough city that I find do-you-know-so-and-so connections often. Add to that the fact that I’ve got a Burlington born-and-raised husband and a recognizable surname, and this city most definitely feels like home. But I still know less than half the parents at morning drop-off and only a handful of last names. I want phone numbers and emails and home addresses. I want to be able to take my kids for a walk and say “that’s Johnny’s house.” I want to phone parents to set up playdates and to email birthday party invitations. I want my children to feel a sense of belonging, of support, of community; and I suppose I just need to wrap my head around a new way of doing that.
I’m a city girl by nature, but I must be a country girl at heart.