Well, last night I had a very telling dream. I dreamt there was some sort of battle or conflict raging all around me but the end seemed nowhere in sight and the people involved in the conflict were tiring. It seemed like the side I was on (and I have no real name for it) was about to give up and then I walked up to the leader of the "army" (although it wasn't a violent conflict it was just a tedious, nameless one) and this leader turned towards me and was now facing me. I looked him straight in the eye and I said "I know what is missing," and I placed my hands on his cheeks and pulled him close to me and I kissed him. It was a soft and luxurious and sexy kiss. I think the message was the conflict of life can be brought to a halt with affection, love.
It is all about Eros. Erotica. Eros is the said to be the son of Aphrodite. Aphrodite is the Goddess of beauty, fertility and sexual love. Eros is the seeker of pleasure. Eros is the side of life that is serious about the pleasures of life and love. Eros is what makes things alive. It is what breeds creativity and joy. It is harmony and life.
This past week I have thought a lot about the element of Eros in our lives. It's a common thing these days to have a double income household with kids in day care. I have never had much success with that formula. Ever. I have tried too. When we lived in Saint John I had a new job at a green house and my husband worked at a call centre. We searched around for a day care and we found one we thought was nice. We were only several weeks in to this new arrangement when the daycare was shut down for safety reasons. My husband and I were very upset. We felt so guilty for choosing that place to care for our kids. We obviously didn't know what we were supposed to be looking for in a day care facility.
I've tried personal babysitters. No luck. I've tried babysitting. It was too much. My stress level piqued and I crashed. I decided that staying home was the only real option for us. I didn't know how other families managed it, but we just could not find the grove of a double income. We've always had to rely on one. Either I was the breadwinner or Ian was but it's never been both of us at the same time. Not for long anyway.
And now that I think of it, I am glad. Every time I tried to think of leaving my kids in the care of another person something in me recoiled. Deep inside it triggered a sadness that I could not seem to articulate, but at the risk of being mostly broke all the time, what I really really wanted was a chance to do this myself. I wanted to care for my children and what guilt I felt because Ian and I were falling so behind the status quo. We had a crappy used car. A house that was too small and in need of work. Every time our friends came over I felt so ashamed of our lack of money. But secretly, I wanted to revel in the joy of motherhood. It was the ideals of society, mostly heard via television, that brought me down. Eventually, I turned off the television (and have left it off) and I started listening to my heart a little more carefully. This is an art, not a science, because I falter all the time. If I let doubt creep in, I'm lost and it's back to square one. Back to reminding myself of all the things I want and of all the things the world tells me I need and reminding myself of the difference.
It took me a while to really let this guilt go. As I ponder what it means to have an element of Eros in my home I realize my inner desire for personal pleasure is the glue that holds a family together. When properly applied to the family dynamic, honoring the union between my husband and I by nurturing the products of our love, our children, brings such a peace to our home it's palpable. I can actually feel it all around me. First we love. Babies are born. Mother cares for these babies (or father does) and the circle completes itself. It's like tending to the garden of your life. Gardening is good for the soul.
I feel this very strongly. I feel the presence of joy and pleasure in my life when I am caring for my home and caring for my children. It strengthens the bond between my husband and I. He comes home from work hoping I have had a good day. He knows it is not always easy to be home, without a vehicle, alone with little munchkins. When he looks around and sees that we are all in perfect harmony, the kids and myself, he smiles the most satisfied smile. It is not about a perfectly cleaned house. It is about the pleasure of family. Eros. It must be alive and well in your home. Harmony opens the channels of communication and communication can open the door to the bedroom et voila! Love and affection. Sex! The cycle begins again. Around and around it goes.
I think it is really strange that we as a society have pushed ourselves away from this dynamic. Granted, there have been legitimates reasons. Woman need to feel that sense of empowerment that comes from having the right to choose between family and career. We are a world full of dynamic choice. Sexual orientation. Single parent house-holds and so on. I guess I am speaking from the mother-father-children dynamic because that is where my experience lies.
In the end, what I want to relate is that if the battleground of your life seems to be at a stale mate, look inside yourself and ask what brings you pleasure. Genuine pleasure. Seek it and pursue it.
I would like to share some images with you that, to me, speak of this element of love and pleasure and joy of family. Some are of my family and some are my dear friend Suzanne's family. Can you see the element of joy here? I can. It's wonderful. Where does it all begin? With love. Eros, of course.
Suzanne and her husband and children. Read the Birth Story of Suzanne's baby girl here.
Suzanne's Home Birth of her daughter. Beautiful.
And here is my family!
This is my husband coming in from the cold. He has just worked for hours splitting and piling wood, preparing for winter. Taking care of his family's needs? Beautiful. Notice our messy, half finished room in the back ground? Yup. There it is. Beautiful.
My son and daughter giggling over toast and hot cocoa? Beautiful.
Me smiling like an idiot as Ian leans in for a kiss? Well, it's beautiful in a goof ball sort of way.
Here we have my sleepy baby boy and me on my wedding day. Ian and I were so focused on him, the wedding itself came second. Young parents in love with their baby? Beautiful.
A little sibling affection? Beautiful.