Monday, July 20, 2009

Communal Living

Things are going quite well in this little corner of the universe. I've had a very fun week, thanks to the fact that two of my cousins are in town. One of them has moved here (woohoo!) and the other is on an extended visit. They both have children, so we've basically just been spending the day together. Today was the first day of swimming lessons for the brood. My mini me is taking a stroke refinement lesson and her younger cousins are either doing their "Mommy and Me" class or the "Intro to Swimming" class.

As we've coralled our children and helped each other with cooking and cleaning, I've been pondering the advantages of having "sisters" for lack of a better term. In our modern society, we're all really focused on "doing our own thing." Which has its advantages and drawbacks, but the biggest drawback is the loss of community. We're all very focused on our lives, our own children, our own needs. It used to be that neighbors, friends and families spent time with each other at home. It was nothing to pop next door for a cup of milk or to gossip about the neighbor on the other side.

And not that I'm looking to get married...but I understand some of the appeal of polygamy. Not the lock the women and children on the compound kind of polygamy, but polygamy as it is practiced in other cultures. Motherhood can be a lonely and frustrating time. Even if you don't work and can spend all your time parenting, you still feel like you don't have enough hands or patience. And having other women around who are also mothers, who love your children, who are willing to help care for them, there is something very comforting about that. There is always someone there to lend a helping hand, a comforting shoulder and a supportive ear. And it's just more fun.

To tell you the truth, I've lived in apartments where I didn't know the name of my next door neighbor, let alone any information juicy enough to use as gossip fodder. I love living this close to my family. I love that my cousins and I are so close and that our children are so close that we dump them all in the bathtub at the same time. I can't ever give my daughter siblings, but she has her cousins, and they are as close as siblings, with all the good and bad that comes with it. Yes, they squabble over who got more ice cream or whose sandwich is better, but they also cuddle together while my daughter reads them stories.

I love, too, that because of all this time we're spending together, my nieces and nephew (okay, well I suppose you could say cousins, but they call me "Auntie" and I call them my nieces and nephew) have become so comfortable that they will let me pick me them up the second I walk in the door, they give me hugs and kisses and don't seem to notice which one of us is bathing/feeding/changing them, and know that coming to any of us for help is an option.

My daughter and I are close, in part because I've not worked in a quite awhile due to my health so I've been able to be home with her. I'm glad we're as close as we are, but I've always wished that weren't so constantly alone. Because even before the breakup, my daughter and I spent most of our time alone together due to the exgirlfriend's work schedule. And, frankly, even though she was working, she hated us leaving on the weekends to go and spend time with family. I'm loving that I get to spend time with my cousins any time, that I don't have to worry about someone else's schedule.

My sister and I are putting in a rental application for a house that will give us all a bit more space and privacy. Which means that in just a few short weeks (hopefully) I won't be hearing her scream "Seriously?" every time someone else uses the bathroom. Because, you know, we should only use it when we are certain she isn't going to want it. What was that I was saying about sisters? Sigh...


Archaeogoddess said...

You know you watch her drink her beverage, wait 30 minutes and then leap into the toilet JUST as she starts to rise. You wait until the banging on the door reaches JUST the right stage of frantic, then you turn on the shower. It's a plot, a heinous plot.

Tell her it could be worse: there could be six people in a one bath apartment.

Yes, I live the dream few would dare have.

Lou Ann said...

The saying "It takes a village" is one I personally have believed all my life....growing up, all the cousins, brothers, and everyone else involved (whether they were blood, or just "family) were close...I have missed that since becoming an adult....I am glad you have your family (and I truly mean family, as they are) and now some closer to you....wish we could be there too...maybe now that my life is clear in my head, it would be wonderful...but, even tho that "takes a village" thing is probably the best thing going (I remember, as a young adult, away from my blood, in the commune, we were family) - the sad fact that ALL the villagers need to be of like mind and unfortunatley, there are those who seem to have forgotten (or for some reason have decided to forget) what being a family together really is....which makes the Village a little tense