When we got engaged, Ryan and I took a pre-marital counseling class. Part of the class involved taking a personality test that would give us a heads up in what areas we might struggle with. As they went down the list they pinpointed for each couple where they may struggle and some tips to avoid these struggles, fight fair, etc. We talked about frugality, hosility, how modern/traditional our views on marriage were, how social we are. On a scale of DEAD to EXTREME SOCIALITE, Ryan was an eight out of one hundred… and I was a two. A TWO! Suffice it to say, I’m not all that social outside of my small circle.
Most days I am perfectly content to connect with just my husband and son, and sometimes I am even frustrated by the interruption of that time/my naptime alone time if the UPS guy rings the doorbell or the neighbor kids bang on the window and ask for their ball (which they always intentionally throw over our fence, I’ve seen it… WHY?! I did this as a kid too and have no idea why). There are times, though, that I get a little “lonely” for friendship. Everybody in my personal circle lives in another state.
We have an across-the-street neighbor with two little boys who perfectly meets my right-now-in-person needs. We can chat about marriage/parenting/books/dinner while our little guys (mine is sandwiched perfectly between her two, age-wise) play. We go for walks once a week and plot out play dates, family dinners, and a grown-up video game night we have in the works.
My in-person social quota is now perfectly met. My longing for those dear ones in my long-time circle, though, is still sometimes a little strong. Right now I feel pretty happy. My best friend and two of my cousins are all expecting. I’m surrounded by pregnancy and it’s wonderful. My friend and I e-mail each other our wild and awful pregnancy nightmares and text each other when we satisfy a pregnancy craving with some new and delicious gluten free treat (most recently: Maple-glazed Kinnickinnick donuts. Oh. My. WORD.)
One cousin is a smidge ahead of me and has paved the way while the other is a smidge behind and has made me feel special by asking for advice.
When my aunt was pregnant, I sent off a little care package. A few books, a few maternity/nursing shirts I knew I could part with, their favorite candies.Then my cousin announced her pregnancy (the day we had our first ultrasound with this pregnancy… it was so hard not to shout, “ME TOO!!”) and I had fun pulling together a few more things for another pregnancy care package. I sent my friend the lamest package ever a few weeks later, and then a month later started putting together a package for my next cousin while my friend was putting together a package for me! We went in on an Old Navy order together so we could get free shipping (their full-panel maternity leggings are now my absolute favorite pair, highly recommend!) and she sent it to me along with a few goodies the other day.
I have noticed that a general theme of books/articles I read here lately has been the major change that has taken place in maternal care with the development of our society. It used to be said that it takes a village… but now, most women are a little annoyed by that village and just want to do it their own way. I like to think I fall somewhere in between. It makes me sad to imagine never having any alone time with my little family (I don’t mean “never” in the traditional sense because I require a lot more alone time than most people), but it also makes me sad to imagine being completely alone and isolated.
I love being able to ask my aunt cloth diapering questions while she’s asking me sleep questions. I love talking vaccine updates with one of Ryan’s aunts and found my favorite healthy eating blog through another one. I love this sweet little group of mine. I love that my children have “cousins” close to their age on both sides of Ryan’s family and on one side of mine, and I love that I have this great circle of family/friends to chat and commiserate with, even if it’s mostly via e-mail/care package. I am extremely lucky to be in this beautiful season of life, where so many happy and wonderful things are happening not only to us but also to people we love. For that, I am eternally thankful.
Who is in your village? Is it family? Friends? Both? Do you have an in-person village or do you also communicate long-distance?