Monday, March 7, 2011

Carnevale!

I only ended up in Italy by accident, falling in love with a man who had spent the happiest time of his life in Rome. So we moved there and made a life in the Italian countryside, raising children, making wine, and living on a shoestring.
I enjoyed life there - it was a fun place to raise kids, and life was always interesting. There were two things, though, that we could never get right. One was the time change - the annual Daylight Saving. Because we lived such a rural and isolated life, without a TV, computer, or much of a connection with the modern world, we never knew when the time was supposed to change, so we would consistently miss the first few appointments after the time change, or get there too early.
The other thing we could never get right was Carnevale. In our area, the children would dress in costumes and eat sweets, bringing back memories of the trick-or-treating of my Canadian childhood. It was a fun time; there would be a parade, and either a few days before or a few days after, the school-aged kids would dress up to go to school.
This celebration was called "Cicicoco," and our timing for this little holiday was consistently wrong. We would either bring the kids to school dressed up on the wrong day, or everyone else would be dressed up and they wouldn't be, or we would dress them as the wrong thing.

So, you may be wondering, what does all this have to do with birth?
I went to two births last week, and both experiences were poignant in different ways. Both the births taught me, again, that birth is never predictable, and we can never know enough to be able to say "I knew that would happen", because we never do.
No details, because both my mothers are having their "babymoons" and I don't want to tell their stories. But it seems to me that we need the humility to laugh at ourselves, if we are going to enjoy the show. We need to be able to wear a mask, and to dress up as someone else. We should be sweet, and we need to be gentle. And we have to realize that timing is everything, and nothing. Babies don't come when they're asked, sometimes not even when they're pushed. Women don't go into labor on set days, and usually if you work on call as a birth attendant, the baby you are waiting on will arrive the day you've scheduled something else.
When we are born we get dressed up in our bodies, and we eat sweets for the rest of our lives. Let's celebrate! Blessings to all you new mothers and fathers!

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