Work two days this week
First swim lesson and play date
Still wants to cuddle.
Work two days this week
I think I’ll try to write a haiku every day this week around the theme of Thanksgiving.
Gentle rain tonight
Stsy home for the holiday
New job starts next week.
The founder of Jim’s Diner died this week. So I wrote this poem in his honor.
Ode to Jim’s Diner
Bryan Mealer wrote a poem
that captured the spirit of high school.
Sitting in our diner till 4 AM,
writing bad poetry,
smoking filling our lungs with angst.
Twenty-four years later
that poem endures.
I want to write a poem like that.
I want to be remembered
for my metaphors.
Others are recalled
for their baggy baggy jeans
or their green hair
but now they are balding
or fat, and those things
A poem lasts forever,
Fixed in time
like nothing else
Again losing steam. Marking the day, hoping I have time to come back and write more. Sims Freeplay is not working so hopefully I can use the time I let get sucked away into that game to do some writing.
Schedule will be changing again with another job change for my beloved. I hate change. This one will bring some good things, but change is still hard. Gah.
On Friday, I was walking home from work and I passed a young black man. Instinctively, I face him “the nod”. He nodded back, but seemed puzzled. Or maybe I’m just projecting because I realized as soon as I had passed that I had forgotten my son wasn’t with me. Because before my son, who is black, I didn’t ever get the nod from black people on the street. Because I’m not black. But now, about 80% of the time, I do.
My first thought was that I hope the young mans internal dialogue was one of confusion (“did that white lady just give me the nod? How does she know about the nod?”). And that he didn’t perceive it as. Racial microaggrssion (“oh man, now the white folks are talking nod from us too? They think they ain’t white now?”)
My spouse, however, pointed a third option: That he took my nod as a reassurance that I wasn’t threatened by him, which is how it is sometimes interpreted when white women don’t make eye contact with black men on the street. That would be ok too. I don’t feel threatened, I’m now constantly sizing up young black men to see what I see or hope to see for my son in ten, twenty years.
I went to a conference in New York City and lost track of my blogging goal to showcase voices of adoptees. But here I am, and I want to talk about Marcus Samuelsson, who is an award-winning chef and an Ethiopian, transracial adoptee to Swedish parents. He’s the only non American I included on the poster I made for my son of black men he can look up to, because he’s that awesome. Here’s what he said about his identity in an interview for PBS:
RAY SUAREZ: As an African child who is adopted into Sweden — one of the whitest places in the world basically —
MARCUS SAMUELSSON: I would agree with that.
RAY SUAREZ: You were aware of color and the difference it made, but it never crushed you. You were very realistic about it, but unsentimental about it. And that’s a tough line to walk. You’ve got it, even though there is no reason why you should have got it so young but you did. How did that happen?
MARCUS SAMUELSSON: I think it’s not just because of me, but it’s because of my parents. You know, my father — we talked about this a lot — he had to constantly prepare me for the workplace. That was his job to me more than anything, give me the work ethics. I was prepared, but also he understood that being a black child is not necessarily fair but so many things in life are not just fair. As a chef I like bitter, but in life you can’t get stuck on bitter.
PBS Interview, August 2012 (http://www.pbs.org/newshour/art/conversation-chef-marcus-samuelsson/)
Now that my countdown to commemorate the 20 year anniversary of Rabin’s assassination is over, I want to turn my focus to the subject of adoption. November is, after all, Adoption Awareness Month. I want to find and meditate on the experience of adoptees this month. It’s something I do year round, but I want to take the time to do this publicly and share my own thoughts as they come up as a way of increasing awareness about adoption.
I’m going to start by sharing this quote:
“Nothing bad ever happens in Adoptionland, and all of the adopted children feel nothing but gratitude for being placed in this world where they make dreams of adults come true. Because here in Adoptionland, the focus is on people who want children instead of on the children themselves.”
— “Adoption Culture Clash” by Julie Stromberg, in Lost Daughters: Writing Adoption form a Place of Empowerment & Peace
This is such a good place to start. I am so grateful I was able to adopt my son, because it was a desperate dream of my spouse and I to have a child, and we tried to conceive and were unsuccessful. But that dream is ours, and ended when he came along. Now, the focus is on him, and his experience. He doesn’t need to feel anything he doesn’t authentically feel about his life and his adoption. It’s his story, his life, and my job is – just as it is for any other parent – to make decisions about him and for him to give him the best kind of life I can. But it’s not my job to tell him how he should or shouldn’t feel, and he doesn’t “owe” me anything. The myth is the grateful adoptee is so common, and so hurtful. A close friend of mine just the other day expressed how she had been hurt by it by another friend. Adoptees don’t need to feel grateful for being adopted. They can feel however the damn well please, and how they feel may change daily, hourly, or yearly.