Recently we were visited by a very sweet little one and her adoring parents. Between the four of us we rocked and walked, fed and dressed the delightful six-week old and did little else over the long weekend. The old African proverb made popular by Hillary Clinton, “It Takes a Village” certainly comes to mind when in the presence of a new being whose immediate needs are vital to her survival… Her demands are simple: Food. Warmth. Love.
Yes, caring for an infant is a 24/7 job, and as a mother of three I know this very well, but still, as it has been a while since I have had young children around, the urgency of her demands struck me. Just around the clock doing and more doing. No pay raise, no accolades or plaques displayed, no rise up a corporate ladder. Just doing, and the following day, doing again. Of course, as all parents know, the thanks is in seeing what this tiny being becomes: those perfect fingers reaching for piano keys or those strong legs kicking the goal that wins a championship, that inquisitive drive asking questions to solve big problems… All is possible in this new person…
Our little Miss Elle was passed from lap to lap throughout the long weekend, with some moments spent on her own doing belly time! She kicked those legs and swam in the air, while we four oohed and aahed over her strength and determination. And as happy as we all seemed to make her, eventually she had to make her way back to her momma. Both lit up as they leap toward each other with pure bliss. There is a certain contentment in knowing all is just as nature intended.
Then came another more sudden opportunity for care-giving, recently my mother needed emergency surgery. Three days before her operation Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey and she spent those last days and nights in the cold and dark. Luckily, her local hospital retained power via generators, and her surgeon was able to operate as scheduled. (Our best news came after the pathology report announced her now cancer free!)
Once my mother came home, (to light and heat) my siblings and I synced our calendars, reworked busy schedules, to provide the around the clock care needed. There are different concerns to discuss while nurturing our Little Diva (the moniker she received after only a few hours in the hospital!), but the fragile state of being and the needs to gain strength and health remain universal. Seems, no matter one’s age, we all live our best life with the same ingredients: Food. Warmth. Love.