I drove to Pasadena this morning for the second meeting of the process of conservatorship. For those of you not in the know -- isn't that a weird phrase? -- since Sophie turned eighteen, The Husband and I have to formally apply to the state to become Sophie's guardians. The process involves, basically, stripping her of her rights to make life decisions, including medical, sexual, partnership, etc. for herself. Fortunately, there's a wonderful organization here in Los Angeles called Bet Tzedek that runs clinics and helps you to do the necessary paperwork, reams of it. The people who work for Bet Tzedek are extremely helpful, sensitive and caring individuals and make the whole process a piece of cake.
Well, maybe not a piece of cake. Given the strange and wondrous workings of my own brain, my take on the process is perhaps more perverse than cake and I periodically have to yank myself back into the present as I check off boxes, date pages and sign my name. I sat at a little table in a busy courthouse building with five other people each doing the same thing while an elderly lady walked around peering over our shoulders, a handy bottle of White-out (have ya'll seen the new White-out because I hadn't and it's magical!) in her hand to erase errant marks and typos. There was a Vietnamese couple across from me, applying for twins and next to me sat an African American man applying for conservatorship of his second child. Next to him was an African American woman in a wheelchair and next to her an Hispanic couple, with myself rounding out the Syrian/Italian/Scotch English ancestry. We were a veritable kaleidoscope, and all of us there for the same purpose! On about page 657, each of us read and checked for accuracy a paragraph describing our children's limitations which had been drawn from a questionnaire that we had filled out on the first visit. The paragraph about Sophie listed, literally, everything that she could not do, and let me tell you, Reader, it takes some serious dissociation to read that list for accuracy and sign your name with a flourish. She cannot clean herself. She cannot use the bathroom. She cannot talk. She cannot take her medication safely. She wanders and is confused. Etc. Literally, everything you can think of.
That's where my wild and wonderful brain steps in for my heart and does circus gymnastics alongside the other members of the rainbow coalition around that table in the courthouse in Pasadena.
Afterward, I wandered about the beautiful streets of Pasadena and into an Asian museum that was completely empty of people but whose rooms were filled with cases of ancient Bodhisattvas, their thousands of years old faces staring serenely out at me in my circus garb. I stood for a long time in front of the one above until my costume fell away, I wriggled out of my leotard, kicked off my big red shoes and stood there, naked, my heart beating steadily in the dim light.