Monday, February 11, 2008

The Birth of the New

David and I were founding members of a local parenting group. The group, based on the ideas of attachment parenting, had a crucial role in our development as a family. Although we still consider ourselves attachment parents and still intend to be part of the group, both of us decided not to run for the Board this year and to retire as group leaders. Our relationship with our almost-nine-year-old son has changed radically over the years. Although ideas about respect for each other are still at the core of our parenting, breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and baby-wearing no longer are particularly relevant. Increasingly, I feel old and unable to suggest anything other than, "I know it seems hard now, but just wait a few years...."

The leaders of the group have been remarkably stable over the years. Of the 9 people on the board until last night, 8 have been there from the beginning. But yesterday, so many new people agreed to become more active that many of us felt able to step back. Three of the originals stayed on, but six new people have stepped up--and several have spouses actively involved in the group as well.

Those of us in the original group were remarkable similar in both our styles and in our parenting beliefs. Many of us were friends from beforehand. All 10 of us were partnered and had our partners also on the board (in other words--there were only 5 families on the board).

The new crop of 9 leaders are from 9 different families--and there are a lot of disagreements and differences. Leadership is not going to be as easy or as straight-forward. But the potential for creativity seems higher than ever.

I was afraid this group might only exist because of the desires and work of our own leadership. And here it is now, something much bigger. Incredible. Yes--some are worried that conflicts in the new crop of leaders may be hard to slog through. But I have faith in the power of consensus to bring forth from difficulties a newly strong organization.

I feel like a parent watching my child grow towards maturity. I remember what my mother said when she saw me in my prom dress, waiting for my date to escort me to the school dance. She was looking at me--absolutely baffled--and I asked what was wrong. She answered (unable to censure herself) that she was suddenly seeing me as an adult--pretty immature and silly-looking, but at the same time an absolutely beautiful independent being.

* * *

A new friend just had her third baby--a little girl-- yesterday. Paul, the father, wrote an amazing birth story and shared it with us today. They had quite an eventful morning! Although the new mother planned to have the baby at the hospital, she had a very very fast labor and delivered in their home bathroom before the paramedics arrived. All are well and looking beautiful.

Reading the birth story aloud with David and Abe made us all laugh and cry--and remember how wonderful our own birth experience (also at home) was. There is nothing quite as amazing as suddenly having a new person entering your world.

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