It’s late, or early depending upon your perspective and I’m neither asleep or awake. I am overwhelmed; I know that much. What Rachel and I have conceived is truly visionary and vision can be scary. I think about all that needs to come together for us to meet our goals and fulfill our promises to the foster children of America. This is a sacred duty for us, we know how important it is that positive ripples manifest and gain momentum now. It can feel like a great deal of pressure and every so often, I question my stamina or ability to complete the task.
That’s when I flip through my pictures. I will look at my darling parents and think of how proud I am to come from such fierce, loving people. I look at my son as a baby and think about the most powerful moment of my life, his birth. The first time he was put into my arms I happened to be alone. That makes it even more precious. It was like feeling the Sun for the first time. All the world lit up as I lingered over his scent, his tiny feet, his fingers wrapped around my pinky as my heart is wrapped around his.
Then I came to the picture I changed my FB profile picture, a very important decision to make I know, an adorable shot of me and Michael, the muse of this entire project. This now 18 year old boy changed the course of my life and many other lives without knowing it. The idea to do a story about him was inspired by Rachel and Kim having a shower with gifts and such for Micheal. One of their cooler creatives made an faux ultrasound with Mike’s face photoshopped on. I wanted to contribute by writing something for him.
Then it evolved into writing something about him. It had that same feeling that I had as a brand new mommy; this child is depending upon me to do right by him. God led this child to my sphere of existence with a purpose. To ignite the indignation that began KINDRED, a project that will live on far longer than any of us I hope. I have faith it is my true calling and we will figure it all out. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t scare me still, maybe more because people have trusted me with their stories. I hold myself responsible for bringing awareness and permanent change to the foster care system.
People have been incredibly gracious when they hear my passion for the cause. Some acknowledge that they admire what I do because they wouldn’t have the balls to do it themselves. It does require a hearty helping of hutzpach to live loudly in the solution. The process of exchange of energy is remarkable. They have given me so much just from learning about them. They are the heroes in this story. Mike is the hero for sharing his truth and pain with the world in hopes we can use it to both disgust and motivate people into direct action.
The picture of us leaning our heads together is special for all that you can see and all that it makes me feel. My mind has expanded because of this person. I made choices to slay dragons of my own in order to help him smite his. He opened my third eye chakra in a way I had not yet been willing to be present to. I have fallen in love with him in the same way I did with Tyler, my son, in a way I never imagined. Seeing that precious face, smiling and goofing with me and his moms reminds me of the reason I chose this. And choose it again everyday I am lucky enough to be alive.
The carefree smile on his face and the lightness and joy on mine are what every child deserves, during childhood itself. It took him until almost 18 years old to be in a place where that smile was genuine and spontaneous, not part of a twisted but necessary coping mechanism. It took me four decades to find a path out of the deep, dark wood where my vulnerability had retreated to. At his young age, he has had more influence on my life than men I’ve known for 30 years. So nights like this when I am having trouble sleeping, feeling frustrated and intimidated at the work that all must be done, those pictures and memories sustain me. They nourish my heart which stokes the flame of my passion for the work.
He is a wonderful, brave young man. So is my son, now in his early teens. They give my life direction and purpose. They reassure me that, even when I am feeling down and tired, I’m doing more to help than I ever thought possible. Together with my amazing, wonderful partner Rachel; our sons will get first hand lessons in what it means to commit your life to a greater good. That it not only benefits more lives than you will ever know, it enables you to have a life that makes you feel proud and heals wounds no surgeon could stitch. It has given me a happy thought that beats any fearful ones that find me. I imagine a sea of children, looking almost like Woodstock, all playing and laughing and basking in the knowledge that they are universally loved and can accomplish anything.