Last week I got a phone call from Schmin. He wanted to know what I was planning to do yesterday. My plan, as usual for a Sunday, was to play it by ear, which is a plan I really like because I dread few things more than over-scheduled Sundays (by over-scheduled I mean having more than one thing to do). But it had been so long since the two of us had spent a day together that I told him I was open and asked what he had in mind. He wanted to take the lot of us -- me, his girlfriend, and his boss/roommate Rob -- to LACMA to have brunch and to walk around and see the sights.
I live so close to LACMA that I hit it every time I holler west, yet I'd never gone inside. I've been to other museums in LA, and I loved going to museums in New York, but LACMA I took for granted because of proximity. (I even slept on the Diane Arbus exhibit a few years ago, for which I should be arrested.)
I have to hand it to ol' Schmin, sometimes the young man is touched by genius. When I accepted his invitation, it didn't cross my mind that it would be Easter, since I had no plans for church like I have in the past. I think the news finally sunk in on Saturday, and I wondered how LACMA would be. Just about any occasion brings people out of the woodwork in Los Angeles, and while Easter doesn't scream "art museum," one just never knows around these here parts. I'm happy to announce that LACMA was All Good. Schmin said he was sure it would be, and he was right. It wasn't deserted; there were just enough people to give the place a mellow hum, a sense of life and movement -- but not too much.
We had the absolute best time. The museum was fantastic, but the best part was being with Schmin and people he loves. I'd met his girlfriend, Froggy (that's her nickname because she loves green and used to have green hair, I am told), numerous times, but always when they've stopped by my place. (Note: Froggy is not Naiomi. Naiomi's been a done deal since last year, which is fine, because Froggy comes with a lot less drama.)
Rob I'd heard a lot about but hadn't met before. I liked him a lot. He's been in LA a long, long time, but although you can take the hippie intellectual out of San Fransisco -- you know the rest. Rob's next move is India, because he's drawn to the "party culture" that is Hinduism. Rob is warm and chatty, and he's also good at wandering off to explore on his own. We got along great.
The best part of the loveliest day was that being with Schmin, my dear boy Andre, was the lightest it's been in a while. He and I have been butting heads since he was 15, when he went to bed mostly sweet and loving and woke up a monster. I kid, of course, but that's how it seemed to me. And the older he got the less I recognized him as the child I raised. If I've been anywhere in my adult life, it's been somebody's university. Schmin barely completed high school, not because he isn't intelligent, but because he never liked school. He was always that way, and it was always a disappointment to me. Over the years, he peppered in some momentous feats of epic stupidity and ingratitude -- I say this knowing he likely has his own special words to describe my actions toward him -- and our relationship became fractured. He is my only child. I have loved him since the day he was born. But these last years have been difficult.
The miracle of yesterday is that we had our own resurrection, giving the beauty of Easter more personal meaning.
There is a section in A New Earth about parenting and how it is hindered by the lack of authenticity from parent to child. When I read it, I saw my relationship with Schmin in an entirely different light, and what had seemed unlikely -- that I would ever be able to have an exchange with him that wasn't tinged with disappointment, expectation, or fear that he wasn't making the right life choices -- suddenly seemed like the only possibility. Not once did I think about what I had read while we were together yesterday. I didn't think about it, but it colored the day, and the result was freedom. Even when we haven't been our best, Schmin and I have worked to show each other love. We've had lots of good times together, but yesterday was different. It held only freedom and presence, not a hint of worry or judgment. It was the opening of the friendship I've always wanted for us.