And then...I woke up to a post by Elizabeth Foss that triggered an epiphany, because I realized that I had been experiencing exactly what she describes, in the wake of Time magazine's recent cover. It seems that everywhere one looks across the media in the past few days, everyone has an opinion about the various aspects of attachment parenting, some of it defensive, some of it offensive...particularly to those who have practiced it.
But, here is the thing:
Attachment parenting is like cleavage. It is pretty wonderful, but it is private. It is best protected, valued, and experienced in the sacred ground of the home. It is cheapened, and devalued, through exploitation. It isn't to be displayed on a stool, and it isn't to be paraded and debated before those who will make vulgar comments rooted in ignorance and in the vile seedbed of ungodliness.
I have lovely stories of attachment parenting, of what people used to call "the family bed" (co-sleeping), and of child led weaning, but, they are...mine. They are our stories, and they belong in the beautiful embrace of a family....our family... rooted in God and in the traditional values of nurturing protection and of refusal to allow the popular culture to mar our child or our relationship with her. Those values are directed toward nurturing her, and nurturing, through her, the next generation and the countless ones that will follow because she was invited. She was invited into a family that is open to life. She is not a trendy accessory. She is not a side effect of personal sexual expression. She is the very expression of the conjugal embrace. She is a part of us. And true attachment parenting doesn't put children on stools; it wraps them in an impenetrable, shared, eternal family embrace.
As I write this on my lunch hour, my eighteen year old sits at my desk in my speech therapy room. She came to work today, as she has been coming every Wednesday, because she knows that Wednesdays are overwhelming for me. I don't have an assistant on Wednesdays. There are a million other things an eighteen year old, who just finished her Spring college term, would rather be doing than getting up at 5:30 a.m. and embarking on a one hour commute to a job that isn't hers. But, she is here because she knows I need her. She knows her presence makes my life better. She knows that it isn't all about her...it's about the family. She knows we are a unit, encased in a fortress of loyalty and love. She is attachment parenting me today. She just doesn't know it yet.
I am not so naive as to think that one approach works for all families, but, I also don't need to know what other people think about the fact that our daughter slept with us from infancy until she was four years old. I don't need to know what Time magazine, or the bitter old woman, who turns her nose up at the magazine's admittedly inappropriate and offensive cover in the grocery line, thinks about the fact that my daughter nursed until she was three. I don't care about the women who tisk-tisked as my young child accompanied me, in a sling, on my errands day in and day out. I don't care what the circle of older women at holiday community gatherings thought of my parenting style, or my daughter's behavior, when she was a toddler and young child.
I sit looking at a newly minted young adult who is kind, compassionate, articulate, academically successful, and prepared with the tools to make good choices for marriage and family life. I see a young woman with the intelligence, skills and potential to do anything she chooses...who knows that family is everything, and that children are worth anything. I see a young woman who could be anything, but knows that there is no greater title than mother. I see her sitting in a desk, ...my desk, ....selflessly supporting a family that she is old enough to turn her back on, if she were not bonded in love and loyalty to...attached to,..... eternally....in love. I see a young woman who is prepared and intensively determined, to pass those bonds and values on to another generation. That is all I need to know about attachment parenting.
Thank you, Elizabeth, for triggering my epiphany. I needed that.
Elizabeth's post is here.
And that is what this old broad has to say about that.
As always, comments are welcome, but this time, aggressive or critical comments will be deleted, because this is our story.