The holidays are supposed to be a time of joy, wonder and magic. That’s what I wish for every child everywhere. I heard that this is a lonely part of production; editing, post, promotion. It’s true. In this past year, I have thought of others needs without pause in a way I never have before. Yet I feel blue. Strangely, like our getting this project off of the ground with your generous donations, I’ve experienced a holiday miracle that I never thought possible. And it all domino’d from an unexpected event. Trust me, I originally felt so negative about this entire story I’m going to share that it took practically a real miracle for it to happen.
Let’s go back a few years when the issue began. My husband has a friend he has known for like 40 years. They didn’t stay in contact the entire time, but she is someone he cares about. There’s a history of her picking men that will be most challenging for her. First it was a junkie, then a fighter pilot who suffered from severe PTSD and ended up purposely dying by pointing a loaded firearm at a cop. So there she was; a young daughter, two young adult sons and needed somewhere safe to settle. Luckily, she was in a good financial position and able to buy a new home in a new state. Since her daughter views my husband as the only adult man she truly trusts and our community is built around children, we encouraged them to buy a place close to us.
There had been altercations since we met, mostly misunderstandings. She’s very dramatic which fits in with my family behavior fine. After one particularly rude, ugly fight, we grew to loath each other. I mean I was consumed with anger when I even thought of her. Now I know the things that drove me crazy were the similarities between this woman and the backwards ways of my mother. Her daughter is being homeschooled so she is less likely to jump into premature sex and other father filling mis-actions. I tried to amend the relationship several times, but she was insisting on being stuck on things from the past.
Then an old school friend of both her and my husband got into serious trouble. I never did get the straight story, but I know it involved being removed from an airplane by marshals and thrown in federal prison for a brief time. In his selfish shame, he ran away from his wife and two little girls to Colorado. Finally, they both convinced him to come here to get him help for his suicidal alcoholism and legal troubles. We all decided to meet in neutral places and focus on this emergency. We, including me, did all we could to get him help. In that process, we became re-aquainted with each other and how the person I am now is much more evolved and open minded than I was 5 years ago.
It got crazy. He was staying at her place in his own room while she tried to find a dual-diagnosis rehab that had availability. Everybody put their bullshit aside and were together on a common goal. She got him into a facility for 28 days. Not as long as any of us wanted but that’s the way it goes. He ended up relapsing on his first day out. It made me angry how this person jerked around and screwed with the emotions of two of the only people on Earth who do have his back.
Slowly we began speaking to each other again, hanging out and finding our new normal. With the ruled suicide of her husband; she, her daughter and I have a lot in common. We are all also strong personalities that have to be accepted for what they are. We’re both effected in our own ways, which can be hard to work out. But we are taking it day by day. Despite that, things are going well enough for concrete plans. We are gathering to see Star Wars and celebrating Christmas together.
What I have come to understand in this scenario is that I had choice. There was plenty for me to be resentful about but I decided that kindness was the best course of action. To openly offer unconditional kindness and understanding has changed the entire dynamic. She is family to us, granted she’s the wacky aunt who makes things uniquely festive, but family none the less. It reminds me of how I used to handle things with my beloved mom; just go with it. Now we just celebrated my son’s chorus concert together afterwards. And we had a fun time.
I share this story because in my lonely moments, I was starting to think that completing our KINDRED project is impossible. Then starting in October, she and I have been slowly re-earning each others trust, hanging out alone, talking about the things that made us the way we are. I never fully disagree with anything she says, I know she is sensitive about that. It’s not our fault at all. We figured we’d be much further along then was realistic. The project is taking much longer than we anticipated, but that’s life.
So if this woman and I can give each other a genuine chance and actually want to hang out together, it means that truly anything is possible. Including reforming foster care, changing aging out and concluding production on the film. This experience gave me hope, it was sorely needed.
Every time I see a toy ad, my head flashed to a foster child watching that commercial. They may get nothing at all or basic needs items, but not presents(excluding the very small percent placed in the fantastic foster homes)and the emptiness of knowing that toy nor the lifestyle advertised will ever be their reality.
So, I had my doubts. I felt that I couldn’t progress further but as always; I was wrong. If I can mend this fence, I can continue to keep the conversation about foster care alive and loud. Plus miracles can happen, that’s a powerful thing to hold onto while we watch the atrocities of the world.
For more info; check out kindredmovie.wix.com/kindred