One night out…
I have never been more grateful of having a sister not only living in Ireland, but also living in Dublin and onlya short drive away.
One the bus home Thursday, I happened to see a poster for the play “A streetcar named Desire” playing at the gate theatre. I adore this play. there is so much to take away and ponder and muse, and roll around in your mind and…you get the picture. And I especially love the Vivien Leigh/Marlon Brando film version of it. There was just something so destructively handsome and about the way Brando played Stan Kowalski.
Anyway, Krys had never seen the play or watched the movie, and we both love theatre so I thought what the hell, we’d try and go see it if we could. So I rang my sister up and begged her to take Roz for a few hours on whatever night or afternoon (the matinees are on at 2:30), and I’d work around whatever slot I was given.
So Yolanthe said she’d take her Friday night, and would take her…..OVERNIGHT!!…..eeeek.
Now, that may sound overly dramatic to the average person but it’s a Big Deal for me. I have never, prior to Friday night, spent one night away voluntarily from my daughter. I had to attend one residential workshop over a weekend for college in March and I was in bits over that. well, I was given the option of February or March and chose March because February was just too…I don’t know. I just couldn’t do it. And even when the weekend in March arrived, I really didn’t want to leave her. She was with Krys so that was the only thing that made me feel better, you know, that she was with her dad. And even then, only slightly as she rarely let him put her to bed. But in the end, she only woke up once the first night, and then slept right through the night the next, when she used to wake up about a billion times for me.
My sister and he family spend a lot of time with Roz. We go to their home, they come to ours; I mind her kids every so often and she minds Roz in return. So both sets of kids are used to the two mums. In Tonga culture/tradition, I am as much my sister’s kids’ mother as she is to Roz and if we were to follow strict tradition, her kids would call me “baama bina Rozalia” and Rozalia would call Yolanthe “baama bina Miynda”. In english, this translates directly as “my mum who is Rozalia’s mum”, and “my mum who is Miyanda’s mum” respectively.
Modern times have meant this traditional calling has died out, but the relationships are still understood to be that strong. whenever I call home and one of my mum’s sisters happens to be in teh house, my mum will ask,
“do you want to speak to your mother?”
meaning one of her sisters.
and it does put a warm fuzzy feeling inside. I’m sure that when my mum’s generation who still lived in villages and clans were growing up, this bond was felt much tighter as all the women lived close to each other. It meant, for me, that even if you ddn’t get on with your own mother, you had another mum who may understand you better or get along with you better, to lean on, and that relationship was encouraged and nurtured because even though she had her own children, you were also her child.
It also meant if you died, your children would be taken care of by one of your sisters, and vice versa. I think that’s probably the reason why although catholicism took a very firm hold in my family, your sister cannot be your child’s godmother at communion or baptism or confirmation. they are already the automatic guardian so that would be just plain silly.
Of course, all this tradition and culture looks good in theory, but in reality, especially in modern reality, you can find that you have very different parenting ideas from someone you grew up with, or very differing views on life in general.
I must say that I am very, very fortunate in that my sisters, each and ever one of them, share some of my views as passionately as I do. I am the sole atheist but have no raving sibling who prays for my soul,. thank the stars; I am pro choice and all my sisters share that view – how that happened, I don’t even know. I have two breastfeeding sisters who have embraced the choice as wonderfully as I had hoped…I couldn’t really ask for more.
…Well, I could, but that would just be greedy.
So the long and short of it is that I have no qualms about leaving Roz with my sister. in fact, she fits in seamlessly in their home. Whenever my sister or her partner come to pick her up, she grabs her bag and is out the door without a second glance.
Krys dropped her off on Friday and he said the girlish screams that came from her and my two year old niece’s mouths when they saw each other were just heart warming.
I’m lucky that my sister shares a lot of attachment parenting ethos that I do and I know she wouldn’t do anything in the way of discipline or parenting that I would completely disagree with. I know there would be no shouting or hitting or humiliating my child because unfortunately, we both know all too well how that feels when you’re at the receiving end, and both still carry the emotional scars to remember that style of parenting by.
So yeah, Krys picked me up from work, we had dinner outside at a lovely restaurant, walked to the Gate and watched a great play. The actors were fantastic, the night was warm, the drinks cold and after the play we walked along O’Connell street ignoring the drug addicts while talking about what we each thought of the evening’s entertainment before getting the bus home and sleeping in the same bed, sans bébé for the first time in nearly three years.
Woke up at nine Saturday morning and had a very grown up breakfast and chat and by the time Roz arrived at ten, I was ready to be a mum again.
I didn’t think I’d miss her as much as I did.
they kinda grow on you when you’re not looking, don’t they?
What a lovely post and really interesting insight into two cultures, love the idea of the closeness of sisters. I have three sisters who are amazing with my kids, I feel very lucky too
it is such a privilege to get on with one’s sisters isn’t it? especially when you share parenting values. One of my greatest fears when I moved to Ireland was that we would grow so apart that I would never be close to any of my siblings. luckily, I was wrong. 🙂
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