Monday, September 17, 2012
BABY CORN Y NEPANTLA
I had the opportunity and honor to get to know 5 month old YAHRETZI this Sunday while her mama and my partner, Jennifer was at their monthly sweatlodge or temazcal. Justin, Tabitha, my children, ages 10 and 12, and I had our own pretend temazcal under the shade of a plastic blue tarp in 100 degree temperature outside the lodge, near a boggy creek in South Texas. I told the women of the lodge they were crazy to go sweat and ughugh not for me. And in a nice smart ass kidding way said, “I sweat under the tarp and make sizzle steamy sounds. I’m already all india and spiritual and all. Aint got nothing to prove nobody. I’ll support y’all and run errands chop wood or whatever. Y’all crazy to be sweating in this kinda weather.” Whatever. To each their own; I will sizzle in the shade and watch children and the dragonflies. And yes Nepantleras, its not always hard to get to Nepantla. It can be fun.
YAHRETZI aka YAYA had just been given the chichi and was just fine until her mama placed her into my arms.Yaya is cute and chubby but right away with her whole body starts to cry. Mama tears up and I tell her I’m fine with her crying. Mama said, “She’s very attached to me.” I said smiling to her, “ I know . Go sweat. I can handle it.”
Justin and Tabby start to panic as soon as mama enters the lodge. Then they start sssshhhing Yaya. I tell them gently, “No, don’t sssshhhing her .Listen to her to her cry. This is her way of telling you she is having a hard time.” After a very short time, they start to get scared about her crying and start giving me advice on how to comfort her to make her stop crying. I listen to them tell me give me their expert advice after all they are children and probably have some good ideas .They talked to me like I maybe don’t know how to take care a baby. And I’m curious about their thinking and ask them for more of their thinking and ideas.
Carla, the firekeeper quickly brought us a big turkey feather fan to cool YAYA. “Maybe she’s hot?”, I said to them I cool Yaya with water sprinkle and ask Justin and Tabby to take turns fanning her. She still cries louder. I give YAYA water she drinks and stops for a few seconds and then continues to wail LOUDER! I told Yaya, “Sorry, Mamas. It’s not milk.”
Tabby and Justin get panicky again and ask me if they can hold her to help her stop crying. They each took a turn and when they saw she wouldn’t stop crying, they handed her to me and took turns fanning YAYA. Tabby and Justin started to get cranky and hot. And bored. And I said to them, “This is how we learn to take care of people and be good mamas y daddies. Practice. Fan her like you wished someone had fanned you when you were a hot baby.” Justin said to me, “But it’s not good for a baby to cry!”
I said, “No, babies cry for a reason. This is the only way she can talk to you and tell you what’s bothering her. What is not ok is to let someone be alone when they are crying. Don’t let her be alone with all this. Listen to her with all your attention.” Their faces got serious and I said, “She needs you attention. She’s not hot. She’s not poopoo. She’s not wet. But she does miss her mama and she might be a little scared. And take turns fanning her.”
“I wanna hold her,” said Tabby. I said, “Ok, she’s heavy. Don’t drop her.” Tabby and Justin take turns holding Yaya while I fan all of them and myself. As they each hold her, YAYA was still wailing, I tell them, “Just let her cry. She just needs to cry. Tell her we love her and that her mama will come back and get her.” Justin said to her, “Mama will be back, little baby.” I said, “Good job, Justin. Ask what else is hard?”
Finally, Yaya falls asleep in my arms. Tabby and Justin keep fanning her and Justin whispers, “Can we go to the pond, yet?” I whisper back, No, not with the baby. Later.” They keep fanning. This is how we learn to take care of each other.
About 30 minutes later, Yaya wakes up crying again and 15 minutes later Mama came out of sweatlodge all weepy red muddy and sweaty. And Yaya stopped crying right away when mamas’ arms held her. We fanned her and mama. She thanked me and I said, “De nada.”
The women came out of the lodge about 15 minutes later all red muddy y sweaty too. Me, Justin and Tabby fan them and give them cool water. As we cool off in the global warming heat, we ate laughed and talked under the blue tarp. Yaya had more chichi and was bouncy and happy. Mama seemed more refreshed. And Mama, Yaya, Tabby, Justin and I are a little more connected and closer than we were before. This is but one of many ways we learn to take care of each other. It was good to be sitting there with my red skinned sisters in any kind of weather. I think about how many of us long for this kind of day. There is so much against us to split apart and we forget- we seek communion with each other. Communications in union .I don’t want to do just ceremony and yet still not be connected with each other .It’s how we hold our ground in the truth with each other during the good the bad and the ugly. Being with each other during the hard times is the ceremony. Holding the space for crying babies and children and still enjoying the struggle and the dragonflies. I hope I am preparing the way for Yaya the Nepantlera .
Being together IS the victory. Now, that is being in Nepantla. LOL!
This was a good day on the good red road.