Thursday, December 6, 2012

It's a Small World After All

My world is small these days.

Besides tiny clothes and hunting for the forever-dropping tiny pacifier, the landscape of my day consists of the apartment and our neighboring streets. No longer do I think of my home as one place; each room is now its own destination.

We are in the nursery pretty much all morning. Around noon we make it to the play space in the living room. In the afternoon, we manage to get into the hallway, and then Outside. A short walk around the neighborhood brings us among neighbors, postmen, other parents and young children, trees, the occasional dog. Then we return home, to the nursery, where we settle into evening and finally to bed.

Is this normal? I don't know. Should I be getting out twice per day? The idea is exhausting. Squeak and Squish need their freedom of movement and play during the brief times they are awake. I don't want them strapped into a carseat all day long. And while I can feed them out and about, I prefer not to, since feeding one at a time kind of messes with the schedule (big post on that coming up). Meanwhile, it usually takes me til 1pm to get dressed and have a meal.

So. The world is small. And lonesome, if I'm being honest.

It's more than geography though. Community is what expands our horizons and makes us feel needed. When I go to a job outside my home, I enter a community where many people are counting on me, asking me questions, including me in news and plans. I'm a part of a larger effort.

The limited shape of my routine and interactions can make me forget that what I am doing is not small at all. For their first year of life, I am able to be a full-time mother to my children. What could be bigger than that? Yet, it is a private, solitary endeavor.

At home I'm the captain of a very small crew, sailing alone through strange seas.

Aw hell. I'm not even the captain.

I'm lucky to live in a pedestrian-friendly neighborhood. When elderly folks stop to admire Squeak and Squish, I let them coo for as long as they wish. I chat a little, hear their advice and stories if they offer them. I realize they must feel outside of society too. Usually it's a little awkward, because we both seem to want to linger, but have nothing to say. Perhaps I should be bold and engage folks with some questions and light conversation.

Perhaps that's where community starts - having the courage to stop and make a little connection.

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