Saturday, October 20, 2012

Linking Up

The temperature has dropped, but I am wearing a light sweater because I have been distracted by kitchen issues all day-- an oven that doesn't heat, a broken pizza stone, bread dough not rising. I lean over a platter of cinnamon rolls that I am trying to protect from the drippy rain as we race down the street. The plastic wrap flips back with the force of the night air. I holler directions to guide the wee ones. They find their way to the front porch.

My children walk into their friend's house and greet the first person they see, their art teacher from summer camp. It's Athens, I should be used to this by now. We chuckle and exchange greetings. I actually know people in the room now; I've been here nearly three months. I am happy to be embraced, to chat, to know the glimmerings of others. I am going to be ok here-- there are enough people that I get. I trust that, eventually, they will get me too.

I spend time talking to mothers. Being a mother is not for the faint of heart. It helps to know that other mothers struggle too AND that somehow it all works out, or not. I learn more about them-- what they do and how they do some of their version of the mothering act. It is fun to see the children all in a room together telling ghost stories over low lights while we mothers talk of what has impacted us-- work, life, moments. We are not alone in what challenges us. 

Earlier in the week, I went on the Moose's class outing to a local business. Passion Works makes art and sells art. The art is made collaboratively by people with and without disabilities. I listened to the studio director explain the concept to the children this way, "We all have disabilities, some are obvious, some hidden." Some of what they do is make art, some is displaying art, and the program is paid for by selling that art. The love of making art underpins it all.

As I lean into motherhood, I want to collaborate in this same way. Connecting with others means gaining strengths, sharing weaknesses, and having the opportunity to be something totally different than one artist, one mother, or one anything all by myself.

If we link up, we just might pull each other along.

In yet another event of the week, the munsters and I, along with 14,000 other inhabitants of Athens trekked down to the OU green for President Obama's campaign rally. I could see the back of a tall athlete who blocked what the remaining tree leaves didn't. I could hear some of what was said. I was acutely aware of the presence of a lot of people very near me. When we finally abandoned ship, two thirds of the way through the rally, I wondered why we stayed in the thick of it so long. Fresh air and space were right behind us.

Earlier in the day I had chatted with mothers who had attended a presidential visit with their children in 1964. 

This town is growing on me.

Obama visits Athens, Ohio