Ariana tripped over the power cord to my laptop yesterday, and I thought to myself - That's one childhood experience I definitely did not have, getting tangled in my mother's computer cables. And that got me thinking about some of the dissimilarities between my childhood and that of my kids.
The greatest difference, and the one that makes me most uneasy, is community. My elementary school was a few blocks from home, and directly across the street from the church. All the kids in my Sunday school class were also in my class at school. Several church families lived within a two block radius from us, so the neighbourhood kids with whom we picked blackberries and rode our bikes in the alleys were school friends. We were all Dutch, and many of us were related. Our family walked over to Opa and Oma's every Saturday morning for coffee, and we saw them again the next morning in church.
But my kids have multiple communities, and none of them overlap: extended family, school, church, neighbourhood and family friends. We live near the school but not the church; none of Saskia's classmates are in the neighbourhood; no family or friends live on the North Shore.
My children are not members of one tight-knit community as I was. And I'm not sure what to think of this. I've often thought that I've experienced small-town living just by growing up in the Dutch Christian community that I did. Sometimes secure, sometimes stifling. Good to be known, not good to be assumed to be known. The experience was a good one for me, but I recognize its limitations. I can certainly see the benefits of moving within several different social circles.
Friends with whom I've brought this up tell me that the kind of childhood I had just doesn't exist anymore. I'm not convinced of that. I know plenty of families where at least their relatives, school and church overlap; or school, neighbourhood and family friends.
But that one layered community doesn't exist for us in Deep Cove. And at this point, I'm not convinced enough of its value to move elsewhere or make other major changes to find it.