Auntie Jo and Auntie Anne came over and we canned marmalade for the first time. The oranges are dripping off the trees in our backyard and I wanted to do something with them. We traded off peeling and stirring and boiling and playing with T-Bone. It occurred to me that this is how it’s meant to be done. Taking care of babies was never meant to be a one or even a two person job. With the extended family around, the childcare and the cooking (and the occasional email) and all the stuff that often seems overwhelming becomes effortless.
Lest you feel the urge to mock my canning, let me remind you that DIY doesn’t stand for “bought at Hot Topic.” It stands for Do It Yourself- the punk credo. By that criteria, canning is punk as fuck.
Here is a picture of my neighbor Suzanne and me (and a massive piece of Mani’s carrot cake) at T-Bone’s party. Three days later, after a confident assurance from her doctor that she was not- no way, no how- going into early labor with her twins, her noble husband Greg left to argue a voting rights case in San Francisco. You guessed correctly. Five AM Wednesday morning I get a call from Suzanne and run across the street to help her change her now-wet socks and drive her to Cedars.
Scott’s comment: “She wants YOU to drive her to the hospital?” He’s such a dick about my driving.
I got her there safely, with only a few questionable red light scenarios. The midwife met us on the third floor and the three of us hung out while a couple of tiny beings got ready to swim out into the morning light. The labor progressed quickly and I was all suited up and ready to go into the operating room with her when her husband came running down the hall, pulling off his tie. I passed the torch and their daughter was born about four minutes later, followed shortly by her brother. They were tiny and perfect and able to go home the next day. So dramatic. If you wrote this stuff, it would be corny. As it was, it was awesome. I was honored.
Of the myriad wondrous and magical things about Tariku, near the top of the list is his amenability to my choice in hats.
T-Bone’s birthday on March 6 was the Mount Royal social event of the year. The mini-monarch seems to love parties and to thrive in social situations, particularly when he’s the center of attention. All the neighbors flocked to smooch the king. They had to arm wrestle his grandparents to get near him, but they’re a burly crowd and everyone got a proper audience.
My neighborhood makes me feel like I’m in the opening scene of Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure- where Pee-Wee is riding his shiny red bike down the street and all his neighbors are waving to him from their florescent green front lawns. Eagle Rock is this idyllic little corner of the world sandwiched between about sixty freeways. On our block, a grab bag of weirdos and totally normal folks and sweet grandmas and zombie-obsessed rockers and hairdressers and artists and mortgage brokers all bond in a common obsession for old-fashioned neighborly kindness. I am here to tell you that there are still people in LA who hang out together on their front lawns in the early evening and show up at each other’s kids’ birthday parties. It’s so transgressive. I love it.
Friday will be Tariku’s first birthday. I bought him a tiny crown for the occasion. My parents and my aunt are coming into town and it will be the first time that we’re going to experiment a little bit with letting other people hold him. Until now, only Scott or I have been holding and nurturing him, in order to promote attachment. While I don’t anticipate any problems, it’s important to be conscientious about attachment when you’re adopting a child who’s been in an institution. We’ve been rewarded for our efforts. I almost cried the first time T and I were in a group and he crawled away from me, turned, made eye contact, and crawled back. For the rest of the parents in the room this would have been commonplace, so no one had any idea what a remarkable thing had just occurred. The attachment process isn’t just one-sided. We fall more in love with T every day.
Family Roots December 9, 2014
A woman finds an unexpected new family when she adopts a son, a bad soldier learns to write from personal loss, and a man is working at a nuclear power plant when disaster strikes. http://themoth.org/posts/episodes/1425