Clannish for Her

September 15, 2009

Today I was at a Child and Family Team Meeting. It’s a thing where kids, families and providers from multiple agencies come down from our ivory silos to meet to talk about what’s going on. This family in particular has one dad, two kids, three mental health workers, three therapeutic foster parents, a therapeutic foster care worker, and a DSS worker. Me, I was just an observer.

Two of the foster parents were a husband and wife team. They were black and the kid was white. The foster parents were so well dressed, and young and handsome and knowledgable, they were soft-spoken and low-key, but not weary or passive. They were easy-going, but not friendly, kind, but not easy. They said they used to work for the agency I work for. They knew more than my boss did. Before we adjourned, they made a point of asking the team to hassle the kid about wearing his glasses. They were foster parent super stars.

Last night Lauren and I had the first talk ever about what a baby will do to our relationship. It was a fears and frustrations conversation, a high hope conversation. She admitted that she thinks my desire to have a child comes from a place of immature need. She admitted that she worries that I will bond with the baby to the exclusion of our intimacy. She admitted that she worries that having a baby wont fulfill me like I think it will, that I will always be dissatisfied or that it will get worse.

I asked her what her best hope was and in describing a future where we fall in love with the job of raising our kid like we have fallen in love with our regular jobs, that we are obsessed with the kids — the ones we have, the ones we foster, the ones we adopt — like she is obsessed with making art and me with writing, that I make homemade baby food and she makes chore charts, she said this is the only direction in which she has ever felt led in her life and started to cry.

And that made me cry. We held hands and were quiet. I thanked her for her honesty, but explained that my need is as valid as it may be immature and to make peace with the fact that I am sure to act out both her hopes and fears in equal measure. Or that’s how I think it will be, this gargantuan abstraction called parenthood, as best as I can guess.

So there it is. I have never met my mother, but I have pictures and I look like her, and she’s why I want this.I look like her like she spit me out of her mouth, the woman who raised me says. She, they, finally debut here on this blog, this blog about making a baby; my biological mother and my mother. How long could it have taken, really? Sarah is her name. Sarah Leticia. Or is it Letitia? I can never remember. I am not ashamed to say I remind the universe daily to summon a girl-child with brown hair and a nose as big as her eyes to drop from these quivering loins just one time — I’m really not. I’m really not ashamed to say that I will likely be needy and desirous, that I will be clannish for her, but unfulfilled, obsessed but lovely, covered in carrots and stickers. And it seemed, by virtue of the fact that I was saying that it was true, that the new wife was less afraid to hear it.

We’ll talk about my mother, the woman who raised me, some other time.

And, in other news, the middle sil heard her baby’s heart beat for the first time today. I think we are at week six.


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