This week I am truly enjoying the experience of being surrounded by extended family. My mom’s cousin and her husband, two of their sons(ages 5 and 15), and their two grandsons (ages 10 and 12) are here for a week. In addition, my mom’s other cousin is here for the summer. They are staying in the “upstairs house” (the stairs being the hill that separates the houses) with the kids while the other cousin (without a kid) stays at the cottage with M and I. I love waking up and having a built-in community to eat breakfast or drink coffee with, plan activities, and other children for M to run around and play with.
Not only that, but on the 3rd we had lots more friends and relatives out for a truly amazing Fourth of July (US Independence Day) celebration. My sister and niece came, too. We did it all: walked to the farm to feed the horses and donkey, went out on the boat and jumped into the water, grilled hot dogs and hamburgers, made a bonfire with s’mores, and watched a terrific firework show over the lake when it got dark. The kids even had sparklers. If you aren’t from the states, then know this: everything above is very traditional Midwest Fourth of July!
The following day, we attended the local small town parade, followed by a fair in the park, and returned for a street party and even bigger firework show. I really loved having family to celebrate with! Today we saw Finding Dory and went for a swim. Tomorrow will be their last day here and I’ll be super sad to see them go. It’s so much easier to parent as a group, rather than all alone. You feel supported, you feel more rested, you feel less encumbered. We have the flexibility to trade off supervising the littles if errands need to be run. We know if we walk away for a few minutes that someone else will keep our kid safe and in line. I really don’t think it’s natural the way we parent in a bubble in America (or in the West). It’s unnecessarily difficult.
Hope everyone else in the Northern Hemisphere is enjoying a nice week of summer!