Saturday, April 4, 2009

In the Land of the Village

For the last few years before Willa’s arrival my husband and I had lived a rather solitary life as a couple. We took up residence in a lighthouse of the mind. Still projecting light and welcome, but having very few visitors. Then Willa came to live with us by the sea and since then, well, the boats keep coming.

Willa has a speech therapist, an occupational therapist, a physical therapist and a special instruction educator come to the house weekly or bi-weekly. We also have a nurse during the week to accompany us to all the many appointments and to give me a few hours of sleep the mornings I can get them since our girl would rather not at night. Our lighthouse of happy solitude has become a village of helpers, or rather trained medical and therapeutic personnel, Willa’s entourage or team.

They set the hours on our new clock, moving hands I am unfamiliar with. They populate the air with their voices, speaking to the baby in foreign tones and singing unfamiliar songs. They introduce what is to be our routine. They are the ones to reveal new tasks, new strategies, new roads for exploration. In the Land of the Village, the many are for the One. My One: my Willa.

Our Lighthouse is now a thing of the past. There is no more solitude; there is no more stasis. Things are never where I leave them anymore. The inanimate objects of my home have found legs and walk all over the countertops. They find their way to places I would not have imagined for them. The refrigerator has new contents daily that come and go without my hand to choose them. The radio is set to stations that continue to surprise me.

There are sacrifices that surprise you in these new worlds. We have had to sacrifice our aloneness, our privacy, our hold on the unchangeability of our home. It is an incredibly small price to pay for what is gained. But still I feel the loss. It is weird to have the first noises of the day originate from someone else in your kitchen. It is strange to have people walk in the back door at the same time, every week or bi-weekly. It is odd to think that other hands help shape my child’s destiny, other hands that do things I cannot. I have so much to learn.

It is important to every so often pull the boat, the one stashed in the reeds, out from its hiding place and escape from the Village. It is necessary to put the three of us on the plank seat, grab an oar and row for the horizon, out to sea rather than in from it. We need to still confront our waves as a family, making the decisions for us, finding our way out of the storms that may surround us.

Only from out there in the brine surrounded by gulls can we turn back to shore, see the light from the lighthouse guiding us in and row for the many that wait for us on the shore, the Land of the Village we now call home.


Anonymous said...

One thing I "know" for sure is that your Willa is leading the way. Continue to follow her lead, she "knows" exactly what she is doing, she is drawing all the help she needs her way. All is well :)

Anonymous said...

My son has had nursing now for six years. Like yours, our home has been occupied by others for quite some time. And though I am grateful for their help and guidance, it has definitely taken a toll on our private family life. In fact, we have very little privacy at all. And while I know it is all neccesary, it also brings a certain amount of sadness and interupptions in my life. Furthermore, I feel like 10 others are raising my son and he has never become fully mine.
I am a private person who wears my heart on my sleeve, so this has been one of my greatest life challenges, aside from having a medically fragile son.