Friday, December 31, 2010

Eating Crow

You know you're desperate for friends when you leave the used furniture (yes, we're still sitting in camping chairs and eating off of cardboard boxes) place wishing you would have had the nerve to get the number for your salesman's wife who is a stay-at-home mom of a four year old boy.

Although I appreciate my moments of solitude and periods of time alone in the woods, as Meyers-Briggs so pointedly stated, I am a pure 50 percenter. Not, this kind of 50 percenter, but a 50% extrovert/50% introvert kind of gal. I truly enjoy being with others, listening to stories, sharing in conversation and actually participating in relationships. Yet, I know that the only way I am able to be, or do, any of the above is through intentionally balancing those moments with others with provided quite time in our home, laying on the floor to soak in a good books, walk through the woods or sit on the back porch with a warm cup of tea.

A number of years back when my family was gathering together for the Christmas holiday in Indy my mom shared that she was reserving two rooms for us all to enjoy. I pointed out (thinking of the financial impact) that there were only 7 of us at that time and we could all easily master one room together. Mom & Dad in one bed, Sarah & Gil in another while Allison, Mary & I took residence on the floor - saving $80 some dollars in the end was completely worth it in my mind. When I shared this grand plan with my mom she promptly shared that she would be willing to pay $84 to allow me the space to have some alone time in order for me to be better with everyone together. Nothing more humbling than you're own mom telling you that your emotional and mental needs are a little high maintenance. Thanks mom.

Still, this whole staying at home with Yael and spending up to 13 hours a day with her, and only her, is waring on my mentality. Yes, I am learning. I actually feel as though I'm learning quite a bit - about my daughter, our marriage, how to continue to meet the needs of our home and family. And yet - I need more. My greatest fear is becoming too wrapped up in my home, my family, and Yael so much so that I forget the needs of the world. I have this great fear that Yael may come to embrace a sense of entitlement and selfishness when in truth, she is equal as all others in the world in regards to receiving God's love. How can I show her this though when ALL of my time is spent with her?

So, for my mental, spiritual & emotional health as well as for the hopeful health of Yael I did what I never thought I would ever do - I, Jessica R-D, joined the, a Beckley Mommies Network Community. And yes, I believe I will be attending my first play-date this coming Wednesday.

This is a big deal. This was/is a humbling move to make for a number of reasons.

I mercilessly poke & prod at Jake for his previous and current involvement with ADV. Although he has made a few really good friends from this on-line community, there is something about it that strikes me as hilarious! Call me old-fashioned (because I truly am in so many ways) but the idea that Jake has "friends" on-line that he has never met and yet they are so gracious in celebrating with him his completion of nursing school, the birth of our daughter, great and memorable motorcycle rides, etc. is so intriguing! They are indeed an on-line community that we have never met (again, with the exception of three really great guys whom we have spent great times with that would sincerely give the shirts off their backs for Jake. As a matter of fact, I'm pretty sure they would give the shirts off their backs for Yael & I too).

So, when I shared with Jake yesterday the leap of on-line faith I took I received a look that had been coming to me for the last 3 years. I deserved every sarcastic note it contained, every bit of laughter it accompanied and the smile he shot my way could speak no less that a hundred words of playful harassment. I ate crow and there was no going back.

This was also a big deal because "these" women are the women I giggle at. When I was working for GECRC my office was located inside the Glen Ellyn YMCA where, if you know GE, there are mommies abundant with BOB strollers (and yes, we have one), Starbucks in their hands and their hair pristinly done after a Zumba class with like individuals. I don't know why they struck me as such an intriguing group but they did! I never really longed to become part of them, in fact - who even knew, for so many years if I would/could become a mom. And yet, there they were - in masses mind you! Carting, carrying, pushing, strolling so many kids around. This was their life and I couldn't imagine myself entering into this circle. It seemed too foreign, too self-serving - not on the trajectory I would hope my life would take.

And yet here we are and here I am and one of my tasks today is to obtain a YMCA membership the day after I joined the BeckleyMommies online community.

So what now? These movements feel right, these choices to engage in the Beckley community through these avenues fit right now.

Still, there is this nagging weight in the back of my mind reminding me of our belief that we must be intentional to provide a safe foundation for Yael while at the same time continually exposing her to the world through love, service, and whatever other avenues God may provide to teach us how to love a little better.

So with that - this coming Monday I will be e-mailing and/or calling the Carpenter's Corner, the Shepherd's Center and the Fishes & Loaves Food Pantry to see if there is anything Yael & I can do there together. I will also be listening to this weekly program with hopes that it will open my mind a bit more to life here.

And you can bet that I will most likely report back on my experience at the Beckley Mommies play-date. Here goes nothing, or maybe just something...


Tiffany & Robert & Forest said...

I too have dealt with the same questions in my own heart and mind, in regards to being a stay at home mom.
The "play groups" take trial and error, until you find the right fit. Creating your own once you make some friends, is really great also.

The fact that the world weighs strongly on your heart, and the fact that you are contemplating these things, shows that you do not need to worry...that is a passion that will not die just by taking some time to be home with Yael. I feel the exact same, and have struggled to find balance while being a mom. It has taken time, but i feel that i have found it. Its incredible to be able to show my son how we can love others.
There are so many opportunities out there for you and Yael to get involved with. And it will only get better as she gets older.

Remember to do whatever makes you feel whole. If you dont feel whole, then make a change towards it. Emotionally, physically, mentally, whole.


p.s OH! And look into your library!
There are usually great "story
Times" for kids and babies

e_hendel said...

Jess, I remember the first time that Matt and I went to Lincoln Park Zoo with Satchel in the stroller and realized that we were some of "those" people - clogging up the walkways with strollers and eating at the zoo cafe instead of going to the numerous delicious ethnic restaurants down the street because "it's just easier". I applaud your decision to join the Y and go to a parenting group. We also feel more and more that as Satchel gets older that staying home with the undivided attention of a parent and no other playmates is not the best for her all the time.