Mommies of All Kinds
It’s raining really hard. Which- I’ve heard- happens. But normally not in California so this is new, and a little scary and probably partially responsible for me not being able to fall asleep.
Regardless of my misanthropic tendencies cited here, I really do believe in the world, and the (majority) of people in it. Which is why I spend every Tuesday and some Thursdays hanging out with homeless babies. I look forward to it all week, primarily because who doesn’t love babies? and also because my life is kind of filled with things that I dread doing. But this place is where miracles happen.
I can’t give any details because a handful of the moms who live in the shelter are abused or looking for a way to run from their addictions or crazy stalkers, or whatever. But they, trust me on this, are incredible. And all I have to do is walk in, grab my baby (I’ve fallen madly in love with a 7 month old who just started crawling), and hold him and play with him and just watch his two little teeth show when he smiles wider than I initially thought his face to be capable of. He’s insanely happy and offers me a workout chasing after him. He likes to play peek-a-boo and I like to make funny faces, so we get along quite perfectly.
This place, I’ve been to before. I’ve volunteered here a few years ago, where I met a little girl (4 yrs) named Jessalyn who was being given up for adoption. When I found out she was one of the ones being given up, I didn’t really know how to be around her. Did she know she was moving away? Was she scared? Did she feel unwanted? This little girl, however, was a bad-ass. She proudly announced to me one day that “A lot of people love me.” I didn’t dispute this. Jessa was beautiful, and tiny with long hair and goofy bangs… it would be impossible not to adore this itty-bitty person who was actually kind of bossy. So I said, “I bet they do!” And she explained to me that she had both a heart mommy and a belly mommy, and she got a heart daddy too! There was no fear in her little face, no shame, no worry about where she’d end up. The sheer fact that so many people loved her and wanted to care for her was all she needed.
Jessalyn, and this shelter are why I decided to adopt. I could be a heart mommy… I feel it in my gut that I could do that for a child, and I could make them proud like Jessa was to have a parent like me. But- time has taught me that being a belly mommy is in my future, too. The joy of announcing to my parents that I am pregnant, the feeling of a little kick, and a hugely swollen belly (that I will totally complain about) are things that I now want.
So while I watch these women with absolutely nothing left find ways to make their babies proud, I have found my own direction and my own strength. It reminds me, on days like today when I have run out of reasons to think so, that people really are good. They mean well, but sometimes get a little lost- some though, find their way back. Every Tuesday, I watch magic happen and get to play a (very small) role in it.
Even if the rain is bashing the skull of Southern California in, and the economy sucks, and people get sick, and I sort of forgot who I was this year, I’ve got hope. And should I ever get lost, I know where to go: a tiny building with a whole lot of strollers and an abundance of beauty inside. Thank you Jessalyn, the shelter, and that gorgeous little boy who spit up on my shirt a few hours ago for reminding me to believe.