On the Occasion of Brent’s Baby Shower

On the Occasion of Brent’s baby Shower                           January 11, 2015

Organized by Vic at the home of Laura and Geraldine

We’ve all been to a lot of baby showers – all of us over the age of thirty or so, anyway: women probably more so than men, though times are changing on that. image1The most recent shower I attended about 8 months ago, the result of which may be the happiest baby I have ever met.

Today I have the privilege of attending the baby shower of one of my colleagues, a well-traveled, thoughtful man who teaches Applied Theatre Arts. This baby won’t be your first, Brent, though it is your first flesh and blood baby. You birthed the one-year MA program in ATA at the School of Dramatic Arts several years back, to which you brought your intellect, passion, strong core beliefs and work ethic. This time, you will be taking on an even longer term project, for sure, currently as a single Dad, and I know you will bring to this new experience the same commitments and passions which you’ve dedicated to your work of the mind.

The challenges that face you in this adoption are many. Your academic work has global reach, taking you all over the world, multiple times a year, to regions where danger is not so much lurking as expected.

As I prepared myself to go to your baby shower, I, always the worrier, had so many thoughts spinning through my head.

Who will take care of the baby when you are in Rwanda or India next? Will you take the baby with you?

How will you create the support group necessary to make your full time teaching and global work possible?

I wish I could see the baby’s room you have set up, though thank you for sharing some pictures with us via social media.

Isn’t it wonderful that children’s lives now have a digital lifespan that even my son, born 25 years ago, did not have?

Is it wonderful?

In the days leading up to today’s shower, I have thought so often about our son’s welcoming party. My husband and I adopted him from the Department of Children’s Services, in October of 1991, when he was 2 years and 2 months old. We knew very little about his history, other than the fact that his birth mother, addicted to drugs was in Sybil Brand Women’s Prison. Chris had been in two foster homes prior to his placement in our home as a fost-adopt, i.e., a child whom we intended to ultimately adopt, but to whom we were currently foster parents.

I know that you know that it’s a long process to become a foster parent, one we had embraced eagerly even while we accepted its foreignness. An adopting couple has no natural nine-month timeline during which to plan for a baby’s arrival. In our case, we didn’t even know the age or sex of the child, so securing a crib or anything, prior to the specific call about the baby would have been folly. So, we really had nothing going in, save the Ikea bed which our adoption worker, Amy, helped us to put together on the weekend during which our guest bedroom became our son’s bedroom.

At the time, I was the stage manager for Reza Abdoh’s “Bogeyman,” which was in performance at the Los Angeles Theatre Center, with amazing artists both on stage and off. My ASM, Sandy, along with her soon-to-be-husband, Galen, the sound engineer for the show, and their roommate, David, organized a baby shower for Chris at their home in Silver Lake. In attendance, if my fraying memory serves me here, were many of the beautiful actors from the show, Tom, Juliana, Tom, Tony, Peter, and others, and the indefatigable crew, Michael, Alix, Mark, Jane, Jon and others whose names have sadly withered away. See, there’s one difference – if our shower had happened now, there would have been dozens of photos on Instagram and Facebook allowing Chris and my husband and me, to access those memories in sharp detail. Alas, now our son needs to rely on that increasingly faulty source, his mother’s and father’s memories, and some photo albums with yellowing photos.

I do remember that Chris was rambunctious, and he ran around the coffee table for hours, opening his gifts (another difference with your typical baby shower). The givers of the gifts got the added bonus of seeing their gifts truly and very actively appreciated. It was moving to see these generous artists, who gave every night on the stage their seething, raging, triumphant spirit and commitment to Reza’s work, give stuffed animals, Winnie the Pooh plate sets, and many other toys to our son. It may have been the most life-affirming experience I’ve ever had.

IMG_4391And so, dear Brent, I welcome your baby into your life and my life, and the life of the school we share. You must feel free to call on us to support your new role as father, protector, nurturer and teacher of your child. It will be quite a ride, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

Lots of love to you from your extended family.

Would love to hear what you are thinking!

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