I think about how lucky I am to have such a unique 15-year-old who brings me joy—everyday. But like many parents, I always wonder how I'm doing in the world of parenting. Right now, however, I've been thinking more about creating community for my son.
The norm in my son's family tends to be things like going to the Women's March last weekend in Tucson. He was with his father that day and they attended together. What was great was unlike some people I know, my son didn't need an explanation as to why he and his family would attend the march or why women were marching in Washington, D.C., across the country and overseas. He recognizes that a misogynist and racist was elected into office.
In that sea of marchers, he was one of 15,000 people. He was part of a greater community that exists in our Moldy Pueblo. I'm grateful it was there and that it exists, but I still grapple with the work of creating community for my son.
The evening of the march was the first night of a new tradition we are starting with the idea of creating community. We decided to invite more people to our dinner table in our tiny kitchen. Luckily my table fits six people. Herreras family community recipe: a good home cooked meal, good conversation with our friends and a chance to invite new people we don't see often enough. We discovered that the best part at the table is long after dessert trading new stories.
We are turning this into a monthly event, maybe we can do it more often in the spring and summer. I love sharing food with friends and family. I love taking the time in our busy schedules to actually talk to each other beyond social media. I want my son to actually know people in our community and know there are people in our little backyard here that we care about and there are lessons that come with that care.
I admit I haven't always been good at showing friends the importance they have in our lives, so this is a chance to reteach ourselves and teach my son how to cultivate that. How to cultivate community—over plates of food, elbows touching, in my tiny kitchen.
— Mari Herreras, firstname.lastname@example.org