On Crafting A Family (And A Life) Together

by Leonie Dawson on January 18, 2013

craftingafamilytogether

I think I’ll always remember these long, tiring, tender days

of raising a little being together.

How much love and work and commitment and faith we’ve piled into it.

Crafting the life we wanted.

Pushing and pulling and talking it out and working out a way for all three of our needs to be met – for each to be given the intimacy, love, space and time they need to grow.

Between two creative, self-aware adults and one toddler, there’s a whole lotta needs that need tending to, and we’re always working out ways for everyone’s needs to be met as much as we humanly can. (We’re also very, very human, and we don’t do it all perfectly, and I’ve come to a certain kind of grace and ease with that truth.)

It’s been an effort… that’s the best way to describe it I feel.

Something that’s required a buttload of attention, energy and work to direct it in the right course.

but holy shit it’s worth it.

The big work. The good work.

The kinda work that crafts your very being:

makes you more patient. Compassionate. Understanding.

More deeply intimate with your own needs and the needs of the ones you love.

This is the work

Of crafting a family and a love and a life

that sings just to you.

I’m grateful we did it. I’m grateful we keep doing it.

Keep making art, talking it out, working out what works, committing to our own routine and balance of family time, study, work and adventure, of having artist’s dates, and of cultivating our souls along with our family. I often feel like talking + hugging is what constitutes the vast majority of our days: it’s the glue that holds us all together, keeps us happy and in the right groove. (Those two things are just as important for us adults as it is for our wee one!)

It’s just like our relationship counsellor (we called him “The Dude”) said right at the beginning when we went to see him with babe in arms.

“When a baby arrives, they scoop out your pie.

Where before, you had time for yourself, work, each other, friends… each sections of your pie.

A baby comes along and all that time is gone.

And so you begin the work of slowly, slowly building your sections back in, tiny piece by tiny piece.”

It’s been almost three years since our pie was scooped out (can you believe it?)

And our pie is filling out again, crafting it bit by bit.

I’m so glad I’ve done this work.

So glad I’ve done it with him (the wisest, hottest man I’ve ever known).

So glad I’ve done it for her (the daughter I knew I would always have).

So glad it’s made me even more of who I am.

With all my love from this side of the world,

from my little tribe to yours,