It takes a village.

23 07 2012

Raising my children is a constant heart-fulfilling joy, spattered about now and then with bits of despair, frustration, annoyance and self-doubt. So when someone takes the reigns of mothering from my hands for a brief moment to fulfill something that I am not able to give at that time, I hand them over gratefully. I bear no jealousy of someone contributing a vital gift to my children because I truly believe that raising kids takes the whole village.

I gift my kids all of me, all of my beliefs and endeavors in life. But I am not superior, nor do I think that I have the ultimate answers in all of my parenting.

Never in my life has this been more apparent to me than now, with my daughter who is on that deliciously frightening  cusp of womanhood.

She looks up to me, yes. But in equal importance, she looks up to my friends who are the influential women in her life that she sees on a regular basis. She listens and watches, she learns from these other mothers. They guide her in their own way: their ability to be in their own skin, their joyous laughter and utter abandon, their confident sexuality, their sweet devotion in our friendships, their utmost love of their children.

She sees and hears all. And takes it all in, a slow osmosis of knowledge. These are women who are not afraid to be themselves, who are proud to be true to who they are in their hearts. Who can be honest with one another, who can stand up for themselves, who can cry and laugh and nurture and be brave. She watches from the sidelines and involves herself directly with these friends of mine. They, in turn, embrace her and lift her up in ways that I am not meant to do. This is their job. My job is to let them lead her to a better and stronger foundation of Self.

These are the women in my life who are helping me raise my daughter to be the striking force of the woman she is meant to be. Whom she needs to be ~ a confident woman who knows who she truly is, deep and secure.

Amen, NamastĂ©, Thank-You to my sisters, those Other-Mothers for gifting all these treasures to my daughter’s heart and soul.

I can only hope to repay you in the same way.

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Memories.

2 07 2012

There is not much that can match the joy of childhood. Do you remember those endless dusky nights during the summer, playing with all the neighbourhood kids? Knowing with childish abandon that the ever-revolving games of hide n’ seek, tag, kick the can and red rover blend in to one another, ceaselessly offering nothing but pure fun? Kids ebb and flow in the mix, some vanishing for a few days on their family holiday, others appearing as cousins of your friends down the block. Friendships are instant, intense and immeasurable. Slaps on the back contrive grimaces and laughter from that sunburn you got at the lake that day. Skinned knees from that tumble down the bank off your bike shout at you while crouching behind the neighbour’s fence, giggling impatiently at whoever is It to finally find you. Arguments occur and are solved in minutes: shouts of anger evolve into agreements about the ever-changing rules of that game of the moment. July lasted forever. August silently crept in and hung around for eternity. School just wasn’t in our minds. Only the next day, or that night’s impromptu sleep-over, or the fact that the new boy smiled at you in a way that made your 12 year old heart beat a little funny. No cares in the world. Endless supplies of popsicles and watermelon. Flip-flops grooved to your own unique footprint. Bathing suits worn for days on end. Waterfights. Baseball. Bike rides. Best friends forever.

My joy now is in hearing that my kids are having a fantastic childhood. Last week, the neighbours’ grand kids came for their visit. They come quite often and know where my kids are. We can always count on all the kids having a blast together.

This year, though, two other grand kids came to stay. From Australia!! I was amazed but not really surprised to see how fast everyone bonded and became instant best friends. Water fights lasted until dark. Laughter and shrieks of joy filtered through the fort to my ears. I tried not to eavesdrop, but as a Mom, hearing my kids having the time of their life gave me some kind of justification. To hear how much fun they all were having and to know that these are such precious memories they will think of often with incredible fondness….well, it brought tears to my eyes.

I didn’t eavesdrop for long. Truly, it is their experience to enjoy. Apart from offering freshly-made cinnamon buns to an astonished Australian girl who was blown away that I had actually made them, I knew my place was in the house. So that they could have their own adventures, their own endless fun during these eternal dusky summer nights.