Monday, July 09, 2007

My dear Grandma......and a few thoughts on community

This is a picture of my Grandma (one of them, at least, I have several grandma's and great-grandma's still living.) This picture was taken around Christmas time. My Grandma has been offering for a while now to come up to my house and help me clean. Well, this past week, I finally decided to take her up on the offer. Now, I pride myself in usually keeping a fairly clean, organized house. But when grandma got here this morning, it was anything but clean! Never fear, she set right to work! My grandmother is the best house-keeper you have ever met. She cleaned my house from top to bottom in no time flat. She even cleaned places that I tend to neglect---like my pantry shelves, behind the books on the bookshelf, the front of the fridge, the sugar and flour canisters---you name it, it's clean! This was such a blessing to me. Especially since we have a busy week ahead of us helping out with VBS at our church. So thanks Grandma, you're the best!
And now, on to my second thought, which stems from my above paragraph. I read an article recently, I can't remember where, that stated that today's stay at home mom probably has a more difficult time than those in the past did. Why? Because in the past, most moms stayed at home. There was a strong sense of 'community' within family and church. Women 'hung out' together all the time! They baked bread together, the had quilting bees, they helped out when a friend was sick, they spent days canning food together. They had plenty of time during all of this for talking and fellowshiping. Five years ago, I would have thought this idea was crazy. But, I have seen it lived out through Joel's Mom's family. Most of Joel's family on his mom's side are Mennonite. And the women love being stay at home moms! They encourage each other, they take pride in raising their children, they help each other out with larger house-hold duties like canning. When a new baby is born, there is no end to the supply of fresh home-made bread and dinners waiting for the family. When Eli was born, Joel's family (the women) spent an entire day house-cleaning my house so it would be ready when the baby came!
So, what am I trying to say? I have NO idea! :) Just making observations, I suppose. My grandmother's help today just made me ponder these things. What can we do today to establish more of a sense of community like I see in in-laws lives, or like I witnessed today when my grandmother helped me? Maybe it exists more than I realize!
What have been your experiences with this? I am interested to find out!


Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever told you, that you look like your grandma? At least on that photo I think its very obvious. :-)
She looks so very kind!

I grew up with a best friend that is Mennonite and I made the same experiences as you did with Joels family. It's just amazing, isn't it?

I guess we have the opportunity finding a kind of "replacement" for such strong family bounds. Even if it is "just one friend", this can make a huge difference. Like cooking together once a week... Or linking for special events with the kids once a month...
It might be a step, looking out for one possible "partner Mom" for that in your church and asking her if she wants to come over for a cooking session?

On Saturday I will help friends with housemoving and I guess I got the best job of the day: I will get to keep the baby :-)
But this is the kind of support I have seen / built up over the years without having a big family: helping others in moving, childcare, when ill... and I guess that one day those friends will return the "service", when I might need it.


Andrea said...

Wow, that is awesome. I would love to have community like that. I get it in spurts, but it's not a continous thing.
This just makes me want to make more of an effort in other mothers lives around me.

Thanks for stopping by today. It is nice to "meet' you!

bluemountainmama said...

i think we are such an independence-minded society....and admitting that you need help or asking for it is considered a weakness. at least american culture is that way. and even moms seem to be at odds, whether it's over working vs. staying-at-home, nursing vs. bottlefeeding, etc. we have lost that spirit of community and it is a sad thing. i know i felt completely on my own when my son was born. i didn't even have family help. and i didn't know any other stay-at-home parents.

i now go out of my way to help new moms b/c i rememebr well the isolation of it. hopefully the tide will turn back to that spirit of community and support for mothers, especially stay-at-home moms. you are very blessed to have such a huge support network.....

bluemountainmama said...

oh yeah.... and can you send rosina my way? :)

Anonymous said...

GEE Jaime, I feel so honored that you would put me on your blogspot. It was worth the trip to your house just to hear Cosette tell me about her getting married,ha ha ha and what a blessing to see Eli eating his peas. Grandma Rosina


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