I met my Little Sister--a sweet 13-year-old girl--at her home which is practically underneath the freeway overpass. Tiny house; six kids; single mother. Not enough attention. I felt the weariness of her mother as she sat with me and the social worker, two white ladies, as she has sat through innumerable I.E.P. (individualized educational plan) meetings at school for her kids, as she struggles to get them launched without a mate to help her.
It felt like a real committment ceremony--we signed papers, and the social worker took a photo of me and the Little Sister standing in front of the Christmas tree. I'm glad I'm doing this--make a volunteer committment and stick to it has been one of my resolutions for the past three years, but I also felt a little weary, because of everything I went through with Ophelia and the other kids.
My thought was "I want my own child, and I want a baby. I want to hold a baby and feel its warm sweet weight against my chest."
I know I could sign up with Children's Hospital to be a :"cuddler"--one of those volunteers who holds crack babies and the like, but one big volunteer committment at a time. We'll see how this goes.
And what I didn't say about the weekend with Wing It!--wonderful as it was--was that I screamed--very loudly--in the middle of someone else's performance, when they were reading aloud from John Denver, some Christian allegorical thing. they hadn't meant it in any way to be offensive, of course. And I hadn't meant to scream. It just came out. It was a blood-curdling, full-throated scream, from the heart.
These people are like family to me--and half of them are Christian ministers of one ind r another, and the other half seem to be preacher's kids, or spouses, or involved in church in some deep way. And I can't stand it. I dislike Christianity--that's the nicest way I can put it.
My Jewish sister-friend E. says I'm a masochist for staying in the group, but she's wrong. (Yes, I am a masochist, but hat's another story.) I'm in the group because I love the work/play we do together, and I love the people. And because recovering play is absolutely crucial to my healing as a human being. We share common purpose, which is way more important than religious affiliation.
But I'm the only Jew there--and practically the only non-Christian--and sometimes it gets to me, especially at this time of year.
I felt a little overwhelmed by all of it, so drove myself up to Harbin Hot Springs for a quick, 24-hour restorative soak in the waters. It was good to be by myself for a day, and out of my usual routines and habits. Even the drive up, in silence (my car radio and tape deck are both broken--the car is on its last legs), through fog, on twisty mountain roads, which made me pay closer attention than usual, was good.
It gave me a chance to feel close to my child-self--she came, unexpectedly, to visit. She doesn't come when I'm in the midst of my adult busy-ness. And it was the part of my child-self that is centered, calm, and wisely innocent--not the wounded child, whom I am all too familiar with, but the Intact Child. The one who was never really affected by all the craziness.
I wanted to feel what I was feeling, which was sadness about not having children. Every time I get a "success" in my writing life--like the play getting taken somewhere--I am glad, but also sad. I feel like my life gets daily more wild, more off the beaten track of what a parents' life would have to be. The contradiction of having national recognition, but no money is okay with me personally, because I'm not doing it for the money, but not so fine for my life. A hippie life.
And of course I'm aware of the irony and the luxury of having those thoughts and feelings while up to my chin in warm, healing, restorative Harbin waters, which most parents of young children would give their eye teeth to be able to experience.
I did have the idea of asking one or two of my Wing It! brothers, gay men, if they would like to be adoptive co-parents with me--both men who have expressed a longing for children themselves. (G is not up for it.) The problem is that everyone I feel close to on that level is severely financially challenged themselves.
Men hit on me at Harbin. I am always surprised. I am 48 years old and weigh over 150 pounds. Come on, guys! I want to yell. Where were you when I was in my fertile and nubile thirties? Hiding in the bushes. Or I couldn't see them.
But the way they hit on me is funny--they want to talk to me about their deepest feelings and concerns. One man in the library, told me about this idea he has for writing "scripts" for long-married couples so they could figure out how to go on dates again, "Because when you've been married for a long time, things start to get routine." I swear this man was younger than I am!
I said that what makes romance romantic (to me) is the individuality of it--that it's personal, the other person knows you and what you would like, and goes to the trouble of suggesting or creating an experience based on your own world as a couple.
But it was a good reminder--maybe the hand of the Divine--not to get hung up on idealizing what other people have. (And in general, I do much better at that these days then I used to.)
Now I'm off to New College, to spend a couple of hours Zeroxing chapterws from different memoirs for the class reader, then I'll meet G in the city and we'll grab a bite to eat and go see Bobby.