June 20, 2015

My friend Patricia (see also May 8)was down here for Northern California a brief visit to LA and she was gathering a group of friends together for brunch. My morning was unusually complicated with David and me trading off delivering Theo to various classes, so I knew I couldn’t make the brunch but I wanted at least to see Patricia and give her a hug because she and her partner Sam are having a baby. I didn’t know this when I was last in touch with her in May, so this time I wanted to give her something today to wish her well with the baby, and ideally something Japanese to honor her Japanese American background.

When I was pregnant, friends in Japan had sent me o-mamori, small protective amulets contained in a colorful brocade case. O-mamori are sold at Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines throughout the country and can be charms for safe driving, passing exams or good health. My friends had sent me charms that read “Anzan o-mamori,” meaning “Charm for Easy Childbirth.” One of them was from the Todaiji temple in Nara, the world’s largest wooden structure containing one of the world’s largest bronze Buddha statues. I would give this one to Patricia. Although my own labor was not an easy one, lasting 36 hours, requiring lots of morphine and then 2 epidurals, I am sure that because Patricia has Japanese blood running through her veins, the charm will work just fine for her!

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This morning, I more or less crashed the end of her brunch gathering and could only stay for a few minutes. Even though I felt like a crazy person rushing in almost two hours late and knowing I’d have to disappear in a few moments, she introduced me to her lovely friends in warm, glowing terms, making me feel that I might not be that crazy and out of control after all. I already know Patricia to be an incredibly smart and talented woman. Her warmth, patience and understanding this morning as I blew in and out of her party assured me that she possesses the qualities most necessary when one becomes a parent. When the baby arrives – easily, of course! – in August, I am sure she will be an excellent mother.

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