Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Jordan's Surrogates

This is not new information but when Jordan left for school I was devastated. Maybe I thought I would run down the street yelling “free at last”, but that didn’t happen. I didn’t want to be free. I wanted to have more fun with my kid. Luckily, and almost immediately after she made her home elsewhere, Will Newton came to stay. He was from London -- a friend of a friend doing an internship at the DCCC. Will stayed for a few months, seeing me through some difficult child withdrawal. By the time he left, I had adjusted to being childless. And I had made Will a permanent part of our lives—regardless of distance.

Will (far/back left with his family, at a recent "Dim Sum" event)
Over the years we have maintained relationships with many of Jordan’s friends, as well as their parents. Some of them, like Melanie, who came to our house everyday after kindergarten, (instead of going to day care) dressed and dazzled with great frequency, took the same dance classes, and always went on trips with us. Then there is Alex, who lives in NY and we try to see whenever possible. Alex and Jordan went to theater camp for a few years. They were like whacky siblings who liked nothing better than to get into costume and go someplace where they could be seen by millions—like Rockefeller Center. When they went their separate geographical ways, we (as well as Jordan) remained in touch with him. These kids (and others), were surrogate Jordans. They have been a part of our life with or without Jordan’s presence.

Jordan with Jonathan, Anna and David - the original surrogates
Last Sunday we went to Paul Chamberlain’s graduation party. Paul is another young man who we feel has become a part of our lives.

Paul and Jordan have been friends for years, which is hard to imagine since that haven’t been alive for a lot of years— but time flies. When he and Jordan were Seniors in high school they produced and performed “The Last Five Years”. It is a tragic musical about love gone awry. They probably didn’t understand the depth of the material, but they did such a credible job they were absolutely believable. We have tried to track Paul’s performances since that time. He is quite a talent so keeping up with his performances is never a chore. Anyway, we happily drove out to Bowie for the celebration. We have been to parties at the Chamberlain’s so we knew the food would be great, the music just right and the company wonderful.

With Paul and his folks, Kathy and Roger
We were not disappointed. Melanie went with us.

She is home, having graduated from the University of Iowa. We also took Sari,

Sari, this year's in-house surrogate
a young Georgetown student recently arrived from Iraq – who happens to be living with us for the summer.

We have made many new friends through our children. Some are the parents of the children and some are actually the kids. What we find is that if we keep in touch with young minds, we can keep up with how young people are thinking and in fact, what the future might be—in attitude and even technology. That doesn’t mean we understand the technology, (or I don’t), it means we understand what future thinking might be. Does that make any sense? Probably not, but remember the source. Anyway, I am encouraged by what I see. Now I know I have somewhat limited vision because most of Jordan’s friends are smart and creative. They seem to respect, rather than ridicule the differences in people. They seem sophisticated about the world and their place in it. Issues like the environment are a part of their everyday conversation. They also seem much more flexible and open to change than we ever were. I guess that’s because their lives, as well as the technology they use, is so “just for the moment”. All of these are admirable qualities and again, should give us hope for a world with a little more clarity.

The time we spend with Jordan and her friends is not always carefree and lighthearted, but it is always interesting and varied. We just remain grateful to have the chance to participate in a world we would never know without seeing through their eyes. We’re just sayin..Iris are Jordan and Paul, at last year's Hannukah/Karaoke party, with a reprise from "The Last Five Years...."


Unknown said...

As Don and Alan would tell you, you are a great friend to children (now young adults). You know how to have fun and you don't speak down to them.
Back to folks we're still in touch with--Are you in touch with Jack Germond? I love that man but he is one of the many people I lost touch with over the years I was sick. Today I was reading something about the convention and saw again that Alice Germond would chair it. Checked Google and she's Jack's wife. If you see him, please give him a hug and kiss for me.

Anonymous said...

Yippeee!! I made it into your blog--thanks so much!! So glad you could join us for Paul's graduation party. Hope to see you both soon!!!

Kathy Chamberlain

Iris&David said...

Jack is alive and well and living in West Virginia with Alice. There is nothing I would like more than giving him a hug... and did I love your kids!

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