Sunday, September 5, 2010

Auntie duty

I took this picture with my phone last evening on the cliffs near Thunder Hole. The surf was pretty spectacular as high tide approached, and the crowd was pretty good about obeying rangers' warnings to stay off the rocks where the waves were crashing. Last year a little girl and her father were swept off the rocks and into the sea while they were watching the waves after a hurricane. Emergency personnel were able to rescue the father, but the little girl perished. We found out later that the crowd on that day did not heed rangers' warnings, surging back out onto the rocks after officials repeatedly asked them to move back. The story of that day traveled up and down the crowd of people at the path's edge yesterday, and when rangers said to move back, the people did.

I am providing ... I'm not sure what - recreational opportunity? educational adventure? weekend away from UN-cool parents? A couple of days' respite for the 15-year-old daughter of a friend. Kid came out as bi a couple years ago and mom is doing her best to make sure her daughter has all of the role models/resources/non-parental supports a queer kid could want or need growing up. Somehow, the kid likes me, and I seem to get along pretty well with her, so she's here. Why this all is, I have no idea. She's a geeky semi-goth girl in skinny jeans with long hair and a decidedly feminine style. What I might have to offer her is a mystery to me, but she was excited to come for a visit, so here we are.

I taught her how to make sushi rolls Friday night (her request) and Saturday we had planned a day of adventure at the Blue Hill Fair, but when we awoke to a torrential downpour, I nixed that idea in favor of a drive around Acadia to see the surf and the stupid people who want to go stand in it.

After noon, the rain stopped and the sun came out and we had a marvelous day puttering around the island. The summit of Cadillac was mobbed with three motor coaches filled with Japanese tourists, but we were able to walk the paths around the summit area and see the white surf pounding the windward sides of EVERYTHING as far as the eye could see. We had lunch at a table in the sunshine on the lawn at the the Jordan Pond House and then toured some of the shops in downtown Bar Harbor before going back to Thunder Hole for the incoming tide (high tide was at approximately 8 pm) as it was pretty but not magnificent when we visited the first time at around noon.

We returned home tired and dusted with salt from the spray, and I made some seafood newburg with eggs from some hens kept by friends. Hand-raised, corn-fed chickens produce the YELLOWEST yolks of any eggs I have ever seen in my life. The newburg was like something from a box of crayons. It was YELLOW. Like school bus yellow. Yikes. My young charge had never had newburg before, so she was unaware of the nature of its alarming appearance and just ate it and liked it. I am still disturbed by the color of the stuff now stored in plastic tubs in my refrigerator.

This morning our plan is to attend church where a friend is preaching and then go to the fair in Blue Hill. The women's frying pan toss is at 4 pm and is the highlight of the afternoon's offerings. No, really. The grandstand is packed well in advance of the first pitch and the crowd cheers heartily for each woman in all of the age groups. The occasional wild toss (straight in the air, landing behind the thrower, or careening near the grandstand) will bring howls of alarm and delight from the crowd. It is a good time for everyone. While we are at the fair, her mother will meet up with us, we shall watch my young friend and her sister go on some of the rides, and she will travel home with her family. I expect to come home and collapse.

I have a new respect for parents, particularly single parents. This kid is pretty much self-contained and self-propelled. She has her own laptop, her own cell phone and her own money. She looks to me only for "this is ok, right?" kind of approval, not "may I please have an ice cream cone?" kind. I cannot imagine the work involved with supervising little ones. Holy crap.

This morning I got up and made banana nut bread with chocolate chips. It is still baking and the house is beginning to smell heavenly. I just woke the kid so she could see four huge, full-grown turkeys that were in the yard, gobbling and poking among the tall grass looking for their breakfast. Now we are up and each on our computers in companionable silence, me at the kitchen table with my coffee, she sitting cross-legged on the fold-out couch, flanked by a small dog and a large cat.

I think it's been a pretty good couple of days. I am exhausted, but she seems to have limitless energy. I am looking forward to the fair this afternoon, although not so much church this morning. This is the church that I used to attend and that I quit back in June. The internal dysfunction and drama were too much, they managed to run the minister out and that really pissed me off, and well, right now, I need a minister. I need to go to a church that has a minister, even a long-term sub while they find a regular one. So I plan to attend at a church about 45 minutes from here. But this morning, because my friend is preaching, I will go back into the church building I left. I will sit in the sanctuary and I will participate in the service, and when it is over, I will leave and probably be sad. I'll ride that out when I get there.

For now, I am going to drink my coffee, have a slice of banana nut bread with chocolate chips while the chips are still all ooey-gooey melty and wonderful, then a shower and we'll see what the day brings.

Stay tuned.


msladydeborah said...

The photo is beautiful.

It sounds like you both are having an enjoyable weekend. Why question the reasons that she wants to hang out with you? If you knew the answers would it change anything? You might get a different perspective of how you are as a person. Obviously it is all good because she wanted to hang with you.

I am sad that I can't join you for a cup of coffee and some of the banana nut bread. It sounds delicious.

As far as church drama goes-this happens all the time. I learned years ago that my relationship with God is independent of church.
We have three women ministers now and I love the work that they are producing. I didin't care too much for our last visiting pastor. I thought he was an ego maniac. When he left I was happy to see him go.

Anonymous said...

Aunts are essential, in my experience--especially to same-gender kids. We provide a safe outside world view that kids need and parents may be too busy to provide. I loved being an aunt and my 15-year old daughter benefits mightily from the love of her aunts. Sounds like you're a good one, Dawn. Lucky you to have the experience and lucky her to have your attention. Best, Deb

Mel said...

That is one impressive phone camera. When I was up on Schoodic Peninsula a few weeks back with the nieces, I warned a tourist and her small children away from what was a very dangerous area. They just don't seem to get that nature is impassive and oblivious to them and will do her thing whether they're in harm's way or not.

Ghost Rider said...

I thought my mom was cool at 15, and I still would've killed for time away. Got to figure out who they are when the folks aren't around. Sounds like a really nice weekend for your both =)

Even on a good day people are climbing out all over the rocks around thunder hole. I don't get it at all. Don't they realize the main attraction there is based on the fact that there is a narrow little cave of rocks there--where you could, you know, get stuck and battered? It's scary as all crap.

Will you share the banana nut bread recipe? This post made me crave it...