Sunday, March 15, 2015

Hug, Be Happy, and Be Done



So, I'm sitting here in the my living room with a member of my beloved babywearing tribe, Arie (who also happens to be a babywearing legend. If you don't know who she is, you haven't been wearing long enough. Love her.) . We're talking about the evolution of the babywearing community, the ups and the downs and the direction things are going, and she asks me how things are going with Idaho Babywearers (our local babywearing group I founded a decade ago).

She's the first person outside our small circle of leaders who gets the answer I have been waiting for some time to share, "we're retiring."

It is time to be done.

A decade ago, I started a small babywearing group. I did it mostly out of the need to schedule how much time I spent showing others how to use a carrier. It seemed like I was spending more and more time being stopped at a store, or having a random person show up at my house who needed to know about these carriers and how to use them and forming a regular time to teach others became a logical solution. While there were some who already used baby carriers in my area, it just was not mainstream at all. I saw, by the overwhelming interest of so many others, that there was a need for more education, so, I made a plan. I would start a group, get it going strong, and then, when babywearing was the norm here, we would walk away and retire.

It was a lofty goal and not without many a mountain to climb, dig through, or go around. There were some lows, but really, a lot more highs. As I worked to become an expert so I could share everything to be shared with my community, I was blessed to be able to attend and even teach at several International Babywearing Conferences. I even had the crazy idea to host one of the conferences here in Rigby Idaho, and with a team of some of the most amazing women and men that I have ever been blessed to meet, we actually pulled it off. It was something special and what we did was important and we knew it.

I made so many friends who are still people I consider dear to me. They aren't just friends, they are my tribe. They are the people I call, text, and message when I am afraid to make a leap, when I am discouraged, or when life hands me beautiful gifts. They understand me and love me as I am. We are all so very different in so many ways, but, we are family. Babywearing gave me these friends and I am eternally grateful for that.

But, all things come to an end. In fact, the end is critical. Without an end, we can't create a new beginning. Life is about change and growth and beginnings and.. endings. In my opinion, the mark of an excellent group of volunteers is a team that makes a goal, works until they reach that goal, then, they walk away, knowing they did their job well and they truly changed their corner of the world.

Idaho Babywearers did their job. We taught families how to wear. We helped families get carriers that worked for them. We taught a forgotten form of parenting to those who wanted to learn. We helped make babywearing common in our area. When I started, I was stopped constantly by people who wanted to know what contraption I was holding my baby in. I was a unicorn in a field of brown cows. Now, no one bats an eye when a posse of babywearing mamas walk into a room. We're all brown cows. We're the norm and I could not be happier.

Some people may worry and fret in our area because they won't have access to our meetings and libraries. We have thought about that. I've thought about that. But, there comes a time when you have to let your baby grow up and make it's own way in the world. There are many people who have carriers and friends and family members can teach new parents... as it should be. I personally don't want a community to be reliant on a group. At some point that holds them back and I am unwilling to hold back the growth of the normalization of babywearing. There will still be access for those who need help getting a carrier, but that is an announcement for another day.

I know some of you may think this is a bittersweet ending, but, it isn't. It is just sweet. We did it. We helped make babywearing the norm where we live. Now it is time to hug, be happy... and be done.

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