November 6, 2008

Tribal mothering


I started my day by cleaning the patio. It has been neglected for some time, which is a shame as I tend not to go out there if it's not welcoming. So, I tidied up around the potted plants where the silly squirrels dig so furiously, throwing dirt around like it's confetti, Then swept the whole floor, organized the rock hounding tools Jason has out there, and finally (sadly) threw our squishy, stinky, rotting - but still delightful - jack o' lanterns into a garbage bag. They never do last long after you carve them, do they? I have the best memories of shrinking pumpkins on the edge of the back deck at home, where Mom would light them up every night, as many days after Halloween as was possible. They would sit there, gradually eating their own scary faces until the snows came, until one day we would look out there and the poor things were gone; they had jumped to the ground below, ready to go back to the earth from whence they came.

I next endeavored to take a shower but instead began an impromptu cleaning frenzy, which spanned from the living room to the kitchen to the bathroom. Then I had my shower. Then I made myself a much deserved lunch of a fried egg, crumpet and blueberry smoothie.

Isabella is at school, having been driven there by the mother of one of her friends. This is new. Overall I am a pretty devout do-it-yourselfer, which applies to such things as home decor, homemade pizza, sewing clothes and toys, and the transportation of my child to her school. Here's the thing: In our little family we share one little car which Jason requires to take him to his teaching job on the other side of Oakland. That means I am left to find adequate wheels in which to get Isabella to school, which happens to be two miles from our home.

The logical answer to this dilemma was to buy a tandem (two seater) bike so that Isabella and I could bicycle to and from school each day. It seemed like such a beautiful, idealistic thing to do and so we did so. For about 2 1/2 months we rode to school and back, each and every day. The trip there took roughly half an hour, with me hiking another half hour back home, only to pick up and do that again five hours later. I can honestly say that my lungs and thigh muscles thank me for the experience but something happened on Monday that changed everything: California winter rain. My Bella and I biked to school in the miserable, pouring rain! We were so wet, it was most comical. And once I finally returned home, the sun came out shining it's happy face on the world, but then as soon as I readied to pick her up again, down came the rains again.

I am not an extremely daft person and I got the message; even though I
HATE to ask for help, it was time. Isabella and I couldn't spend the winter being poured upon, and so I sent out an email to the other perents of her class, emploring one of them to assist us with a carpool miracle. Three mothers have driven Isabella to and from school this week, and two of them will continue on for the whole school year. It's so easy! I have this ingrained need to do everything myself, even if it clearly isn't inviting flow into my life, and I suppose I haveto admit that I am humbled, and so grateful, for the help. I often reflect on that saying "It takes a whole village to raise a child" and the truth is, I crave that sense of close tribal community. It's just that things seem to work differently in this modern age, and especially living in the city.....or do they? I am learning. learning to let go a little.

When Isabella drove off to school with that lovely, kind mother I felt very sad at having to let go; of my own sense of safety I suppose, being solely in control of the goings on of my family, But I am also aware that this help frees me up to find vibrant parts of myself, left silent and dormant for so long, being so busy~busy and preoccupied. This is a gift, I know it. Talulah (our bike) is sad too; That's what Isabella has proclaimed anyways, but I assured both of them that we will partake of joyous weekend rides together. I'm sure that will be much nicer than a furious ride to school through insane traffic and up bewildering California hills!


^)^

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