I’m back to this whole–where should we go–question.
Where should we go, I mean, for things like playgroups. The thing is, I thought I was settled on the one we go to weekly a block away away, with the occasional grudging drop-in at the local Literacy Centre. Both programs are okay, I thought.
Then today, as we were in the area, we stopped by a library in Markham. They have a wonderful kids’ toy play area that I knew baby would love. But as we walked in, we noticed a bunch of families playing in the program room. It turns out it was one of 360′s Family Drop-In programs. We made it in time for cleanup, snacktime and circle time. And oh my goodness it was so much better. It sounds horrible, doesn’t it? But the snack was healthier and the staff who ran the circle time were so much better at it. Better than the nice lady at the Scarborough library who does storytime (sadly, she doesn’t sing in tune), and the strict ECE at the Literacy Centre who keeps telling the kids to stay seated. These staff actually engaged the kids. I’ve never seen my baby actually stay put and listen during a full circle time. Usually she’s running around in the back and getting herself and others into trouble. But here, she just fit in, and she was also mesmerized by the story-telling. I’ve never heard her say “wow” so often at one of these programs. Also, she didn’t get in trouble for standing to see the picture book.
Which hurts, because it means, we’ve been going to the wrong programs. Or have we?
It’s so so normal in our world to drive far and move farther to get one’s kids into the right schools and the right programs. I really really don’t want to do that. But the programs in our neighbourhood always feel wrong for her. They’re too small, too stifling, mostly too strict. It’s probably cultural, which is both the reason and the issue to begin with us being here in this place, just a few blocks south of where we might “feel” like we “belong”.
I don’t think I anticipated this. Not fully. I knew the schools would be older, the parks a little less fancy. I didn’t think that even free programming would be so different, with a different postal code.
It’s more than that. It’s being in a room with other families who speak my language. It’s being around parents, moms, who look and sound like me. Is that horrible that I didn’t know I wanted this and I know it isn’t my calling in life to just “belong” but it feels so good to experience it just for a bit? I feel almost guilty for relishing that undefinable sense of belonging. It goes against all the ideals…but isn’t that sense of belonging exactly the reason why those other playgroups we attend are the way they are? Don’t they exist precisely to give some other family that sense of belonging they crave? Is it so wrong? I want it too.
Anyways, I’m going to be back, next week. Maybe once a week we can feel normal, us two, baby and I. And I know and trust our heavenly Father will continue to show me where to be, when and how.