Inspiration comes at the most unpredictable moments. I’m thankful that it comes at all, given my already-defunct effort at blogging regularly. This latest inspiration comes a la singer Jocelyn Brown, Polaner’s strawberry fruit spread and a longer-than-average walk from the refrigerator to the kitchen counter.
I’ll explain the long-walk thing first. Back in April ’07 our noisy, energy-inefficient Subzero fridge died. It appeared to be a good 15 years old or older, so maybe the end was overdue. Juan’s sister happened to arrive for a visit just as the fridge gasped its last breath. We didn’t have $6K on hand to replace it and the cost to rescucitate was pretty ridiculous, so we decided on Plan C…Craigslist. In short time we found, purchased, loaded-up and brought home a barely used $300 fridge. We hooked it up in the sun room off the living room, promising ourselves that the setup would only be temporary.
Almost 2 years later, we are still making the trek to this temporary refrigerator – out of the kitchen and through the dining room and through the living room and back again, sometimes just for a glass of milk or the ketchup bottle.
So I’m on this journey, carrying a jar of strawberry fruit spread in one hand and a container of OJ in the other when suddenly my internal Dj cues up Somebody Else’s Guy and I hear the familiar chorus…
I can’t get off my high horse
And I can’t let you go
You are the one who makes me feel so real
Oooooh what I’m I supposed to do
When I’m hooked so on you
Then I realise
That you’re somebody else’s guy
(for those who don’t know the tune, here it is…)
I’m not sure exactly how I arrived at this particular song, but I know that my random thoughts are rarely random after all. On my way back to the kitchen, I remember looking at the fruit spread and then thinking something like…
“…peanut butter and jelly…”
“what should I make him for tomorrow?”
“i’m tired of dropping him off at daycare every morning”
“all that @#!% effort!”
“and he’s not even mine”
“he’s somebody elses’s kid”
There are times when I’m able to ignore the feeling that my new life as a dad feels borrowed. They are simple moments – like when I’m making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for him, or when he shouts “Good mohneeeng!” at me for no good reason, or like Friday night at the restaurant, when he and Juan sat across from me – T on Juan’s lap, with his two fingers jammed in his mouth, quiet and content as could be.
But the reality-check come easy. Just last week a friend of ours asked me if we plan on joining him, his partner and their two kids at the beach in August. Two or three other gay couples and their kids are probably going as well. In August. August.
August might as well be a lifetime away. By the time it rolls around, five months will have passed, summer will be near its end, and we will have endured one more tedious hearing in a succession of tedious hearings. It’s hard for me to think that far ahead, especially about families-with-kids events. I told him that we would like to go and that we are trying to figure out how to make that work along with a possible trip to P-town in the same month. But really, I’m blocking August out for now. It’s too hard to imagine going and thinking that T might not be with us.
But sticking my head in the sand about August, doesn’t make it any easier for me to forget my status as a parent or T’s status as somebody else’s little guy. The phone calls and emails, the visits and hearings, the endless parade of case workers, advocates and attorneys – they all serve as reminders that T belongs to someone else. Sometimes, something as simple as dropping him off at daycare is like a kick in the head. One snowy, icy morning a couple of weeks ago, I’m trying to get T out of the car in front of his daycare and I’m feeling soooooo not in the mood – I’m hungry, I’m late for work, T is wailing because his hands are cold and I forgot his gloves, and the commute is only half over. Suddenly I’m thinking “This is just ridiculous! All this work and he’s not even mine.”
I’m not sure what to do with that feeling. Maybe there’s nothing I can do. We signed up for this back in ’07…this idea of fostering with hopes to adopt. I had no idea of what it really meant back then, but here I am, nonetheless, taking care of somebody else’s guy. And even as I finish typing that sentence, I understand there’s no way to neatly wrap up this situation or even this post.
I’m realizing just how stuck I feel.