Happy New Year- Feliz Año Nuevo from El Nido!
As we begin the new year, we have new hopes, dreams, and goals. Many of our mothers hope for a safe, warm, and welcoming place for their little ones to be able to thrive and flourish. Many of our families are living on a single income and are forced to share an apartment with multiple family members, friends, and sometimes, or often, strangers. Our families are living within ONE room.
Close your eyes and imagine this scenario:
You, your husband, and six-month child are living in a room. In your room are your personal belongings, baby’s belongings, a full-size bed, a dresser, your child’s crib, a small fridge, and perhaps a microwave. Your baby is about to begin to start crawling but doesn’t have the space to do so. What do you do? One of our moms recounts a similar story…
When she first came to El Nido, she was taken aback by all the space. On her second visit, her six-month-old baby girl enjoyed the freedom to crawl and explore. She asked if she could be allowed to come to El Nido outside of her one-on-ones with me. The mother offered to work and organize in return. My heart was filled with both sadness and joy. In her way, she had affirmed the beauty of the place and felt all the love the February 2016 Christ Church work crew had poured into our space. At the same time, she pointed out the need for free open spaces needed in the community.
Later that week, a second first-time mom said the same. She is the mother of a very active seven-month-old baby boy. She was happy to see him move around and to play peek-a-boo with him. I asked when her baby began to crawl, and she said not long ago. Then shyly proceeded to say, “He could have started sooner. I didn’t have the space for him to do so in my room.” My heart ached once again. Space is a luxury and a need for anyone living in NYC. We seek a place to call our own. It’s one of our physiological and basic needs as human beings, according to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.
El Nido has become a place of freedom, wonder, and peace. Our mothers come with their babies three times a week for individual parenting classes, our Thursday group “Las Orugitas,” and on Saturdays for The Reading Corner. For our mothers, it has become a safe place to be in community, create a family and sisterhood, learn new parenting tips, and enjoy a cup of coffee and to be!
I encourage you to come up on February 4th and take part of the work day! We will welcome you with open arms and a warm cup of cafésito!