Never Done: Had a solo date with Tabitha
Tshuve: Played in a pile of leaves
I recently wrote about how sometimes I lose track of what makes my life significant. When I look back over the years, one thing I'm never confused about is how good it's been to be very close to young people, and their parents. Starting in the late 80's in Maine, I spent special time with the Sanborn sisters (who are now grown women), and then in Portland with the Cervantes-Gautschi sisters (also now grown women) and my wonderful across-the-street neighbor Gabrielle. My young New York friends have been boys -- two sets of brothers who I've known since they were babies, and are now full-on teenagers. I've been missing this kind of bonding in my life lately -- the kind of closeness that comes from being a very good friend, which is different from being a parent, or an aunt. Because you get all the fun, trust-building, and surprise of hanging out with a child, but you also get to give their parents some unexpected support. And that feels significant to me.
I had my first date with Tabitha, the daughter of my good friends (and wonderful theater director) Michelle. Tabitha and I are going to start hanging out once a week for 2 hours. It sounds like so little, and yet how awesome is it that her mom gets two hours to herself -- on a day when she's not at work -- to spend however she wants? And while I do care about that part, how awesome is it that I get to hang out with the very cool Tabitha? I had a (very) few trepidations. We'd only spent time together with her mom. What if she didn't want to be alone with me? But from the moment we got together, she seemed completely content. And when I decided to go into the park to play together in a big pile of leaves, she was ecstatic. I didn't know, but it turns out she has a special affinity for leaves. She likes to pick them up one by one, examine them, drop them, and pick up more. Repeat. Again, and again, and again. Tshuve. As it turns out, she also likes to roll in the leaves and giggle. And, I remembered, so do I. It had been a long time since I'd done that -- tshuve -- so simple, so crumbly, so fun, and so much more fun with someone who is cracking up with delight. Towards the beginning of this blog I wrote that one of the things my friend L loves about being a parent is that she gets to re-visit parts of her childhood that she loved, and that she gets to share them with her son. As I pulled the bits of dried leaves off my sweater and out of my hair, I knew just what she meant.