Wednesday, February 22, 2006


One of the few drawbacks to our Mayberry is its distance from our families and closest friends. We’re short one Aunt Bee around here. I’m well aware that being close to family has its own drawbacks, some of them huge. But we're lucky enough to enjoy our parents and share a good relationship with all of them. And with two little kids, we often long for Grandma, Grandpa, or Grammy to swoop in for a few hours of playtime, freeing us grown-ups to catch up on work, do our taxes, organize a closet, or (could it be?) enjoy some crazy pursuit like a movie without princesses or a dinner without chicken nuggets.

I think we’re doing a pretty good job of making sure Jo and Opie know their relatives. We chat on the phone and online (or we used to, until our Web cam gave up the ghost). We visit frequently, traveling to the Northeast to see Jeff's family and all over the country to meet up with mine. My sister, bless her, has come to our far-from-glamorous locale for more than one spring break. The kids are showered with cards and gifts for every occasion (I sure don’t remember getting new clothes for Valentine’s Day when I was little) and Jo knows very well who’s sending the goods. She recognizes all her grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins in pictures and reminisces about past get-togethers.

Still, when you’re at the breaking point of sleep deprivation, work deadlines, and kid sickness, who ya wanna call? Mom! It’s in her job description to be a super-heroine, arriving to save the day with no questions asked or bill (financial or psychic) for services rendered. And mine would love to come, but she’s hundreds of miles and a whole time zone away. Ditto for Dad, mother-in-law, and every other blood relative we could name.

But you know what? Our Mayberry came through for us bigtime when Opie was born. For months I agonized about who would care for Jo when the new baby arrived. I considered scheduling a c-section purely so I’d be sure my parents or sister could be here on the big day—for Jo’s sake, not mine or the baby’s.

And then, when I was about 7 months pregnant, I got an e-mail from one of the moms in my playgroup—a group I’d been a part of for less than a year at the time. She offered to care for Jo when I went into the hospital. She said she well remembered how worried she was about who’d care for her older son when she was expecting his brother—said it was her number-one source of anxiety, far greater than any fears about labor, delivery, or coping with two kids in diapers. I might’ve still been carrying 30 extra pounds around my waist, but a huge weight lifted from my heart.

So lately, when Jo says “tell me the story about when Opie was born,” I’m immediately reminded of the generosity of a fellow Mayberry mom. I make sure to tell Jo all about how our friend E. picked her up at school, took her home and fed her pizza, put on her jammies and tucked her in bed. She still remembers her first sleepover. And I’ll never forget how a Mom saved the day—even if it wasn’t my own.

1 comment:

mothergoosemouse said...

Same here, as you know. And even with a scheduled c-section, we still had to call in the relatives to keep things under control.

I'll admit, I prefer to live apart from family and pay a babysitter in order to get a night out, but it's certainly reassuring to have local friends who are willing to help out in a pinch. What a good story for Jo and Opie.