Monday, June 29, 2009

Evenings on the mat

When I was in The Gambia as a Peace Corp Volunteer, one of my favorite times of the day was just after sunset. Since we were near the equator, that meant by 7:30 there would only be moonlight (if it was up), starlight and the small lights from cook fires. Since there was no electricity, there isn't a whole lot to do except hang out and wait to get sleepy. By the time the sun was down, there would be a large mat spread out in the middle of the compound and here the family would gather until it was time to go to bed.

As an outsider and not very good at the language, this was such a peaceful time for me. My family didn't try to get me to communicate as others often did (because they wanted something). I would sit or lie down, watch the stars come out and let the conversations wash over me. Often I understood enough to recognize the stories being told. They were of things that had happened in the village that day. Just small talk, but I felt more connected and part of the family during this time. It was one of the things I wanted to recreate when I returned to the States. Not surprisingly, this little ritual didn't fit into to our fast paced culture.

Until now, that is. It was even Brad's idea and I didn't realize it had become our nightly ritual - that he had created this nightly ritual - for many days. I have been going to bed early with LB since she was born. Most of the time I haven't minded because I am usually pretty exhausted by then, but sometimes I wanted to stay up if only to have more time with Brad. Sometimes I felt cheated that Brad seemed to have more time to himself while I had the role of putting LB to bed.

Now Brad comes to bed with us. We chat while LB nurses or, if she is a bit more awake, crawls around on the bed between us. Sometimes we listen to a podcast of This American Life or Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me. It is a great time to reconnect and talk about our day. When I used to get frustrated when LB wouldn't sleep, now we enjoy her antics together. It is a happy, peaceful way to close the day.

The realization that we have been having all of these perfect moments is my perfect moment for this Monday.

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Lavender Luz said...

Oh, Kami. You capture the spirit of perfect moments so well. It truly is about flowing, not resisting, finding gratitude, and being aware.

You do this so well.

Your Gambia ritual sounds really special.

Sky said...

I didn't know you were in the Peace Corps - how cool! When I was 21, I wanted so badly to join.

Those nights in Gambia sound exquisite, truly!

Sunny said...

That all sounds so nice... your experience in Gambia, and your evenings with your loves. Those moments of true relaxation, refreshment, and connection are beautiful.

battynurse said...

Sounds nice.

skrambled said...

That does sound like a perfect moment. I love African tradition!

Leah and Maya said...

I love the crib, after putting May to bed last night Joe and I sat out on the deck and chatted, I love to have me time, it makes me love her more. I slept with ehr the whole time I was gone last week, or part of it anyway.
I forgot how night was when you are south, in guatemala it was dark at 6:30pm all year round, so strange but nice in the winter, better then 4:30pm

Peeveme said...

I love that you are able to savor every ounce of wonderfulness in your time whit LB. They do grow up so fast. It's important to do.They grow up too fast.