September 10, 2011

Follow up to my friendly email

Remember this post? I emailed a local blogger to try to connect. For weeks I heard nothing back from her and assumed my email had ended up in her junk folder and been lost forever. I was a little bummed, but shrugged it off. A couple weeks ago, this showed up in my inbox:
I am a terrible, terrible person.
Got your email and then my life got crazy.
Love that you're here - unless of course you've moved because it was so long ago that you wrote this - and would love to get together. We're in your neck of the woods a little and could meet you for lunch.
You have an amazing story and I'd love to hear more!
Let me know when you're available and I'll take you to lunch to make up for my rude delayed response. I blame the children.
We ended up getting together a week later. She's as funny in person as she seemed she'd be. Even though we were in a chic coffee shop with all kinds of posh drink options she asked the waitress in a conspiratorial tone, "I know this is a violation of everything your shop stands for, but would it be possible to get a Diet Coke?"

For over two hours we chatted. She wanted more details about how Jrex and I ended up in Dallas, how I got from there to here, how my childhood impacted my life. She shared some of what her kids are dealing with. Unlike my parents, she and her husband have continued to attend the suburban church that 'sent' them into West Dallas. For a long time, this has kept them in a limbo where they were "in but not of" two very different worlds. In the past year, they've begun to hunt for a neighborhood-based church option. Their part of Dallas is primarily African-American and I think it's been rare for her to be able to talk with a peer who understands the mentality of both the inner city as well as wealthy suburban culture.

I could also relate stories of how our church handled our Wednesday night dinner & worship service (we had a fun activity after the worship so people were more likely to stay for the whole evening. Grocery Bingo, anyone?), how I'd worked with kids and had to start by getting them to respect me before worrying about them liking me. She kept bemoaning that they'd done everything backwards.

I hope we can spend more time together in the years to come. She's amazing and her family all sound like people worth knowing. It's fun to reach out and have good things happen. It's part of what I enjoy about moving--connecting to different people around the country.

One of my college friends had an interesting suggestion for me. I told her about the conversation with MH and how part of me wishes I had time to commit to being a mentor and working with her husband and their program (they connect mentors when a kid is in 4th grade and ask for a commitment between mentor and kid until the kid graduates from high school!) My college friend suggested that I ask MH if she knows a teenage Mom who might want to get together with me for Mommy play dates after our kid is born. A way to combine both of us figuring out motherhood together with mentoring. I keep forgetting to email MH about it, but this post is a good reminder! Mom's out there, is that taking on too much? Should I wait and see how much time/energy I have? Or set something up now?


Mizasiwa said...

Hi - my kids are almost 4 and 5 and both were very different babies, if i am reading you as a person correctly i think that putting in a request and committing to it after wont be a problem for you because of the type of person you are - also i have a feeling you are going to be a duck to water when it comes to baby no matter what the baby is like, the commitment from the 'young' mom may not be so easy but maybe your lucky and the mom is committed to mentorship and willing to make the compromises that are involved in this sort of arrangement. I'm not sure if this makes sense so sorry but i would suggest it and see how it goes, i tried this (not exactly mentorship, that were it could have different results for you) and it was hard because of complications but i know i would have been interested in this when i was pregnant with my son and after i had him so i think its a really good idea.

Inkling said...

I think that's a great idea! Maybe you could let your new friend know about your idea, but let her know that you have to wait and see how the delivery/recovery goes before scheduling anything. I can totally see you guys "doing life purposefully" together, maybe teaching her a little about healthy eating in addition to baby care, as that is something a woman I know who works with young moms talks about as one of their needs. Cool idea! I like it a lot!

Anonymous said...

I wrote a long response to this column, but then evidently didn't send it. Here it is again, for the first time.

Your plan to pair with a young, unwed mother is marvelous. I haven't heard of it being done before. It's creative and caring. Hope it works well for both of you.

But, the timing is important. Wait. If you're going to make a commitment, be sure you have time for it. If your mother had made such a commitment, she wouldn't have been able to fulfill it after birthing any of you three.

Within a week of your birth, you -- and your mother -- had to return to the hospital for the second week. You were there because your temperature had spiked. She was there because she was breast feeding you.

OTRbro, after his birth, had to stay in the hospital for a few days because of blood in his stool. Turned out it was nothing serious, however. Once home, he was the easiest baby of you three. But, we acquired a puppy at the same time. No problem, your mother said. They were always getting another dog at the ranch in Colorado.

Big difference, however, the ranch dogs lived outside. Our puppy was in the basement -- crying. Two new babies was too much. We had to give the puppy away.

Then, OTRsis had the colic for the first three months of her life. Your mother and I didn't get a good night's sleep the whole time. Neither of us had energy for any extra tasks.

I mention these three scenarios just to show that now is no time to make a commitment. You can't know what's ahead. Wait until you and the baby get comfortable with each other.

The young mother and her baby will still be there later this year or early in 2012. Then, you can try your noble experiment