Monday, August 8, 2011

Building Community- an ever evolving process!

My husband and I both moved to Maryland from other places.  He moved here for an amazing opportunity to work at a world-class research facility.  I moved here for a great opportunity in the Biotech industry.  We thought we had everything we needed.  We traveled a lot, spent time with work friends, went out to dinner and to parties and movies, read books, explored local culture and began renovating our house.  We had plenty of things to keep us busy.  So why did this existence feel so empty sometimes?  
build community
Photo Credit: wizchickenonabun
After many soul-searching discussions, we decided that what we were really missing was a sense of community here in Maryland.  It's something that you kind of automatically feel when you're living near where you grew up or if you're with friends at college.  But when you're all on your own in a new place, it can be hard to regain that feeling of connectedness and warmth with a new set of people.  We realized that neither of us wanted to socialize too much with work friends, since we were already spending forty or more hours every week with those people.  So we decided to look elsewhere.  We found a dinner group that rotated around to people's houses for themed dinners.  Having dinner with complete strangers was a bit out of our comfort zone, but it ended up being a wonderful experience.  We met some very interesting people who became very good friends to us.  We started to do other fun things with this group besides going to dinner.  Right around this same time, we also found a wonderfully supportive church community that became a big part of our lives.
But after about a year or so, that same empty feeling started to creep in again.  We started the soul-searching process once again and finally decided it was time to have kids.  We both knew we wanted them, we were well established in our marriage and the time just seemed right for us.  After having our first child, I began the rough transition to being a stay-at-home Mom.  I was where I wanted to be, but the reality was that staying home with an infant was very lonely and isolating.  Nobody else I knew was at exactly this same place in life, so I began searching for a Mom's group to fill the void.  That's when I found a The Mommies Network (TMN) group called Frederick Mommies and a local Attachment Parenting support group.  The women I've met through those groups have become lifelong friends.  More recently, I've become more involved with NorthMetroDC Mommies, in an effort to connect to Moms closer to where I live.  In just a few months of involvement, I've already found some wonderful new friends and playmates for my kids.  And I've felt like my support has helped others along the way, too.  I'm not sure where I'd be without TMN and the wonderful women I've met here.
laughing mom friends
Photo Credit: Lori
Our community has grown and evolved several times since we moved to Maryland, but it continues to grow richer and more meaningful to us as the years pass.  I’m sure we will go through many more transitions, adding some new friends to our community and growing more distant from others.  I strongly believe that certain people appear in your life to help you get through specific challenges or to remind you of what’s important.   I encourage others to reach out beyond their comfort zones in search of community.  You never know what amazing relationships are out there just waiting to be cultivated!


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