At times it seems as if I inhabit two worlds, or rather many different worlds, simultaneously. There's the world of our family sleep over date with some of our favorite people in the world. We met two families at the now oh so incredible art and fresh market, under the bridge of all places, on the north bank of the St. John's River for run around and get out of the house time after almost a full week of rain rain rain. And many many many children inside for many many hours of many many days, straight. Oh glorious break in the rain, we thank you. Bricked in paths; grassy, landscaped parts; a stage with the river as a backdrop; room to run and jump and hide and seek; what more could three mamas, one partner, and six children ask?
Then home for creative free play with the tree house, silks, and music whilst the mamas knitted or cooked or kneaded or shopped or tended. Goat cheese so good Shazza said it was "cheese-gastic" or maybe she said she had a "cheese-gasm", I don't remember which, with bits of pineapple, grape, strawberry, basil or sun dried tomato for snacking upon during the rising of the pizza dough. Then a late dinner, tired children, yummy dessert, baths, stories and bedtime. Two mamas up talking until late in the evening, some switching of beds and comforting of little ones, and blessed sleep. It's a shame small children sometimes do not understand the joy of leisurely sleeping until 9am, or at least 8. Up and more stories, a pear and apple dutch oven pancake large enough for a legion, cafe con leche, sunlight and giggling children. Bliss. Absolute bliss I tell you. But I don't live there.
There is also the what-is-my-major-malfunction-that-I-cannot-keep-my-house-clean world, not my favorite. Saturday, before we left to meet our peeps, I wanted to white tornado the house, a la Jeanna, my sister the speed cleaner. Not so much. I'm just slow, and, well that is it. My goal was to have a (relatively) clean house to come home to after I picked Ethan up from the airport on Sunday, sans the five, yes five, loads of clean unfolded laundry that is "curing" (as Ethan says) and the oh... four or five more on the laundry room floor. I pretty much reached that goal, with much blood sweat and tears, on my part. Except of course for the laundry, I got about two loads put away and two off the floor. I don't model appropriate "pick-up-your-things-as-you-go" behavior to my children very well so why am I surprised that they have not yet honed that skill? Some mornings it takes me hours to get the kitchen cleaned, in between having coffee, feeding children, and getting the day started. Magdalena volunteered to do the kitchen and bathroom floors, sweep and mop, if I helped her fold her cloths. Sounded like a great deal to me, and she did a bang-up job to boot! That's one good thing. Anyway, so there's that world.
Then there's the world of me the AP group leader, a fairly well put-together mom who has strong values and is grounded in the world of attachment parenting; a mama who acts as a resource for parents; a mama who honestly shares her experiences in the world of parenting and supports other mamas and papas in finding their true north in responsive, non-violent parenting.
Another is the world of my family, me as daughter, sister, sister-in-law, step-daughter, cousin, niece. That world is what brought me to Florida, that is the world that has old baggage, new baggage, familiarity that is absolute comfort, surprising revelations, relationships that I have been in for 43 years, 18 years, almost four years, two years, and about six months. It is a world of deep, rich and abiding love. It is a world of imminent mortality because we are not so young, right, especially mum. It is a world of little regret, abundant forgiveness, and budding possibility that holds much of my heart in a constant embrace. I have a long and storied history of ambivalence about my family - they are the best family in the world; I want to fix and control them; I can't live without them; they make me crazy; ok, let's move back to the dessert; I will never leave them. Sigh.
My family, my husband, my children. That world alone can be as simple or complex as I make it, but it in itself has layers upon layers, worlds within worlds. I'm mama, lover, homemaker, wife, care-giver, teacher, creative force, heart of the family. Listen, I'm not saying it's all me, nope, not at all. We are each equally contributors to this family. But, we do have an old-school traditional marriage, me and my man, and it works for us. His AOR is work outside the home, the yard, and the maintenance of our fleet. haha. Mine is inside the home. The children are our AOR, but I'm the primary, so that is just the way it breaks down. This mama is the heart of the home, and I fall short and excel every day.
There's my homeschooling world, my social world, my roadtrip fetish that must be honored, little worlds of different circles of friends, my fellowship/spiritual community world.
They all exist, simultaneously, wrapped in and around each other, eeking out all over the place, connected, inter-connected, compartmentalized, just like life. Worlds within worlds, layers upon layers. I move through them and in them switching hats, picking up habits and sayings and behaviors, adapting, embracing, rejecting, detaching, enmeshing, shedding skin that doesn't fit, getting rigid here, more flexible there, keeping time by the beating of our hearts, pumping love in, pumping love out.