Monday, September 17, 2007

The House of Other Children

When I was in college, I volunteered at a group home for children living with HIV and AIDS. It was a huge, older two story home in the heart of the city. I believe there were 18 permanent residents there. They were wards of the state, yet they were not in foster care. Their mothers had either abandoned them, were imprisoned and a shocking large amount of them were deceased. These were the children that were born unto this world with HIV. They were, for the most part, children unknown to our society.
One little girl, maybe 3 or 4, with chocolate brown hair...wild & curly and eyes the size, color & depth of a never-ending cup of coffee with cream and sugar, immediately took to me.
Lol, I'll never forget her exclaiming 'You gotta bug on you! I get it!' and fervantly pinching & pulling at a sticking-out kinda mole I had on my neck area. (This ultimately led to the removal of this mole, but that's another story;) She was helping me, protecting me.
But having an ever greater impact upon me & countless others with whom I have shared this with were the words of wisdom that flew from her mouth one sunny afternoon.
I had her in my arms and her legs straddled my waist. I would bend over, throwing her backwards & upside down, with my arms crisscrossed over her upper back and shoulder blades as to avoid disturbing her AZT pack wrapped around her mid-section and then I would scoop her back up again. Each time we would squeal......'Weeeeeeee,' 'Whoooooaaaa,' 'Ewwwwww' with great delight at our two-person make-do roller-coaster ride.
Finally she says 'OK, Stop!' and I did... fearful that I had made her dizzy or woozie or what-have you. She then smiled , cocked her curly head to the side & said 'Now, throw me up waaaaay high'
I lifted her up quickly and brought her back down, never allowing her to slip my grasp. Her brows crossed & she quickly barked 'No! Throw Me!'
I laughed, 'Baby, I can't just throw you...what if I don't catch you? I worry that you could get seriously hurt...'
As I rambled on about what we could do & couldn't do & such, she took her two fat little little hands and smooshed my face between them... as in a polite, gentle gesture to shut me up.
'You silly adults...don't you guys know anything? Life should be fun!'
Cupid's lips pucked up & jutted out in a toddlers' pout.
Smooshy-faced, I smiled back at her.
'Throoooow meeeeee. It'll beeeeee-a-eeeee ok! Life should be fun, you know?'
So, I did.
I threw her higher & higher.
Over & over again.
... and it was fun.
May we all learn from the mouth of babes.


Dee said...

you never cease to amaze me...

singleton said...

"'Throoooow meeeeee. It'll beeeeee-a-eeeee ok!"
and love grows....
and may we all learn....

eric1313 said...

Glad to read your word in this early morning hour.

I knew you were golden. And here's more proof. A beknighted spirit, Lady SLB, of the round table--the hippie round table!

peace out, my friend

karma lennon said...

Amazing. :) And so wise. Life should be so very much fun. I'm glad I realized that again lately.

And very cool volunteering there. When I was in high school, I volunteered at the Children's Advocacy Center-they dealt with abused children and unwed pregnant teens. It was heartbreaking at times but totally made me want to help anyone and everyone I can.

SpongyBones said...

How true it is ... at what point do we learn that it's not worth the risk of flying high in the air and trusting others??? Hmmmmm, see you always make me think!

Scott from Oregon said...

yes, ma'am...


wreckless said...

They have a way of saying the most important things simply.
I needed to be reminded of that today-thanks.

skinnylittleblonde said...

dee~ ...and you never cease to amaze me, entertain me, tickle me & soothe me. P&L Girl....Talk to you soon! xox

Singleton~ I remember coming home that day & telling Persichetti about this girl & her words... so naive, yet so wise. Kinda like the rest of us.

Eric~ Sorry I have been amiss lately. Many changes have been underway in my life & some of them are very time-consuming. I miss you & everyone else here terribly!

Karma~ I posted this after I had a talk with my beautiful Mama about my father, who is 78 & suffering from Alzheimers, and who has never really known how to have fun. Usually when he was having 'fun' it was short lived & involved alcohol & ultimately did not seem like fun to those around him. We agree, heartfelt laughter is so worth skinned knees & bruised elbows. We help more folks than we know when we are real & we really enjoy life.

skinnylittleblonde said...

Spongy~ answer your question... perhaps it is the moment we allow fear & guilt to dance in our spirit.

Scott~ I've thought about you & your sister & hope all is going well. Apologies for not bopping about like I should & as much as I would like to. My life has done a 'sit & spin' on me & although I am still spinning, I am no longer sitting. Weeeeeeeeee!

wreckless~ children really do have the purest vision, the most direct communication & an innate attachment to reality... which is so ironic because they also have beautiful imaginations.

singleton said...

slb....sometimes, always, I love you and wonder how, little one, you have become the Medicine Man....wise and sage, patient and open armed....
"perhaps it is the moment we allow fear & guilt to dance in our spirit".....
that we are truly free.....

Shimmerrings said...

...that was simply beautiful... the wisdom of such innocence, is so often our teacher...

Mel said...

Yep......from the mouth of babes.

Bless your heart.
And bless her wisdom.

I'm game!

Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!! Wooooohooooo! :-)

eric1313 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
eric1313 said...

Take your time. Miss you so much, too, but it's best for you to put your house in order, you know?

You'll love my new post--promise!

kj said...

hahaha: life is short. love is long. that's what came to mind when i read this piece.

i'm aware there are some pretty cool and very wonderful people weighing in on your blog. no doubt you have this effect on the people you walk among also.

we all know life is not all clinks!by any means. that makes your faith and wisdom even better!

you are a fine person, skinny. don't forget...


Orhan Kahn said...

Do you know whatever become of that sweet little child?

skinnylittleblonde said...

Singleton~ Lord knows I love you oh so very much, but I rarely feel free when fear and guilt are within my spirit. Lol, that's why I, like you, only keep other people's secrets. Set ting my own fears and pangs of guilt free, helps to keep me feeling free. ILYSVFM! xoxox

Mel~ Have thought about you & knew that you would undoubtedly be game in a two-person make-believe roller-coaster ride! And should we both crash to the ground, you would be the one picking up the sidewalk chalk, marking the spots on the ground so that we could turn it into something else imaginative & fun!

Eric~ Thanks. Lol, my house is in disarray, if the truth be known, but I am working quite hard on getting the rest of my life together. I will bop over in mere minutes to read you post. TY!!!

KJ- 'Life is short & love is long.' So profound & so true. Sometimes life can be so short that we don't even get the time to realize how powerful love can be. TY for the reminder. Lol, honestly if there is a clink! in my life it is usually just an echo of the sound of pennies falling from the dirty laundry. I should drink more, but I have been saying that for years...cold beer is good on a hot day. ;) As always, P&L.

Orhan~ No, I really don't and now, I wonder if I didn't see her some 7 years ago when I first moved into this old house. We can think pretty thoughts, but the reality is that she was the child of parents lost to the disease. I know she was in my life for a reason.

JustRun said...

They have so much to teach us, if we just have faith and listen.
Thanks for sharing such a great story. :)

mindy said...

what a smart little girl... she's taught me too. :)

paddy said...

If we all decided to put childern first - but we are all so directly an indirectly guilty of ignoring the pain and poverty children have to live with all over the world - we put tham last; forgetting that they are the one who will be taking care of us later on in our life.
How should we expect them to treat us.
Y;-) Paddy

M@ said...

AIDS existed when you were in college, Skinny!? Ahahahahahha!

Kidding. I like your rambling.

M@ said...

Oh, yes, the situation is worsening in Russia and China, for sure.

skinnylittleblonde said...

justrun... their wisdom seems to be the purest, untainted by time

mindy... evidence of the butterfly effect yet again.

paddy... you make such a valid point & really the fact that we may one day depend upon them should be of no bearing on the fact that they are our babes & they deserve love, nurturance & respect.

Matt~ Lol, Ok, ok,ok...I did NOT go straight from HS to college, so to answer your question, yes. Look at Africa...some villages there have more people with HIV and/or AIDS than not. Very tragic.

Maithri said...

Amen to your beautiful post.

Thank your sharing your light,

With love,


Maithri said...

Sorry about the spelling/punctuation/articulation above lol it was late - i have no excuse. It should read:

Thank you for sharing your light with us all.

The stories of these children are very close to my heart.

Its great to hear of your wonderful work.

Sending you joy,


skinnylittleblonde said...

Maithri...Good morning today, my eyes are still puffy & swollen from sleep and yet I still see no problems whatsoever with you writing at all! My apologies to you for staying in my little corner & not coming out to play in this virtual world. These children are very special & they seem to have a wisdom that many forty & fifty year olds do not have.

Shrink Wrapped Scream said...

Ah Skinny, you have a world of wisdom to impart, sweet lady.. I am so glad to know you! ((x))

she said...

beautiful story! love how you described holding her, treating her to a little thrill ride

and how she gave you a free ticket for a roller coaster ride of your own

magical exchanges. fleeing moments with lifelong impact

God bless you for the work you've done and continue to do!

"to joy, fun, and free spirits!"