On workshops, suitcases, and holding on
The workshop that I presented; “I can talk about race in the classroom” was by all accounts a big success today. The post workshop reflections were 95% positive–which says as much about the audience as the presenter really. The educators were open, willing, and very present! I was prepared, passionate, and speaking from a place of truth. That is always a great combination. I’ll try to write more about the experience, and the work, when time allows. But the suitcases are trumping the keyboard here.
In the very near future I’ll be embarking on a journey across the country with my kids and my significant-other -person for almost a week. We’ll be in San Francisco witnessing one of my dearest friends’ twin daughters passage into adulthood in the Jewish faith: the B’not Mitvah (plural of Bat). Then we’ll be exploring the Bay area as a family, and with many Bay area dear friends as time and schedules allow.
This trip has been in the making for about six months. The last time Samantha (my son’s namesake) saw Sam he was 8 months old. It feels beyond surreal that we all will be in each others presence for a prolonged period. Just the thought of helping her to clear plates at the brunch the following day feels intoxicating. She has never met Marcel. She has never met Sam as a verbal being. Yet, she’s had more of an influence on my parenting than anyone else, period. We have always had ease in the advice arena- able to offer parenting and relationship advice without ever fearing being misheard or judged. Our friendship began the first day of high school, nearly 30 years ago.
Her parents (who will also be there, and whom I cherish deeply) were able to provide me with solid ground when my own family was going through some rather significant transitions. To be witnessed now by all of them, as a parent myself-and as a partner-all at once feels so, well, trippy. To not still be 16 when we are together–but increasingly grey, a little less solid around the middle, with our reading glasses in tow, and ready to share dietary restriction strategies feels crazy, and somehow welcomed simultaneously.
On a slightly grief struck note, it will be the first time visiting San Francisco that I will not be seeing my Godfather who passed away when Marcel was a few months old. I can still hear myself telling Richard about Marcel’s first week of life over the phone, when I was walking (slowly) through the park. I can tell you exactly which tree I was standing next to when he answered after the tenth ring. How amazingly happy I was to know that he had lived long enough to know that Marcel had made a safe passage in, before he made his imminent passage out. I can remember clearly his scratchy and strained voice telling me that I was going to be a hell of a decent mother to two boys, just as I was to one. I can hear his voice rise as he cautions me to not; “..be a pain in the ass either. Let them make mistakes, just like you did.”
I can barely complete this paragraph without my breath getting short, and my eyes watering. Richard never had kids. He came out to me in his fifties. He was one of the bravest, most passionate, sharp minded, art appreciating, life loving, acerbic people I ever met. I still have his number in my cell phone. He died four years ago, and I can’t erase it. It’s a familiar comfort–a reminder–that he is still just a press of that button away–which actually in many ways is true. But going to San Francisco, and not seeing him, feels like I’ll be missing a limb when I get out of the airport.
To honoring all of our life passages this week, and every week. To welcoming the girls into adulthood, the boys into travelhood, my relationship into staying with you in a hotel-for-six-full-days-hood, and to my anti racist ally-hood into all the spaces it belongs. Thanks always for joining us on the journey, and peace and blessings and ease as always on yours!