From 2 January 2014, about an hour after our flight was pushed back.

Stranded in the Baltimore Airport.  Hopefully for a few more hours, possibly for the night.  It has been cold and snow in Wisconsin but tonight the weather is acting out all over the country.  The flight that we are schedule to go on departed hours late from Houston because of a late arrival from the midwest.  Now, there is the weather here to cause concern.  It is snowing and sticking, and folks in Baltimore are cowed by snow.

We are prepared — comfortable, warm clothes, backpacks with a change of underwear just in case, and plenty of electronic toys to occupy us.  I decided that I would pay for some internet here but I cannot seem to connect to anything including the free WiFi.

The plane landed about 2 hours late and we were on it soon afterwards.  The weather in Maryland was terrible and the plane needed to be de-iced and the runway plowed.  Everyone pushed on until it was off the ground and flying.  Milwaukee was cold, but the roads were clear and dry.  We made it home a bit after 2.  Five hours later than planned but home nonetheless.

What I notice is that I worried less than I ever have about that kind of situation but even the worry that I did was useless.  I could not give it up but at least I could notice what it was good for.

Worry is a tough one for me to give up.  I do it all the time about Julia and it ruins everything!  Just a bit of hyperbole.

I can get into a vortex of maternal preoccupation when I focus on all the Julia has not learned that is essential to an independent life and a typical 12 year old.  oh, 13 in two weeks.  I want to schedule every minute, fill it all with something important — reading, writing, science preview, cello practice, math on the computer, typing program,  knitting, calendar work, before and after work.  It is hard to find any time for fun and being that 12 year old on that kind of schedule.  I have not found the balance.  I am still on the intensive therapy schedule.

There are brief flashes when I see/hear/perceive Julia’s intelligence.  A very rare glimpse of clarity — an answer to a question, an astute observation, an enthusiastic explanation.  When we were at Universal Studios, the Wizarding World section, we went to the Olivander shop to get a wand for Julia.  This is her description of what happened:

We went to Universal Studios and I got a wand.

I went to the Wazarding World of Harry Potter and to Ollivanders wand shop.  A whole group of people went into the shop at the same time.   Mr. Olivander came in and said “Welcome to Ollivanders Wand Shop.  I’ve made fine wands since 382 B.C.”  Then he asked me if I wanted to find a wand before I went to Hogwarts.

Mr. Olivander handed me a wand and said, “Perhaps try this first wand.”  He told me to say luminous to make more light in the shop.  I said “luminous” and I made lightening and thunder.  People in the shop were scared.  Mr. Olivander said that that was not the wand you should use.

Mr. Olivander gave me another wand and told me to bring the flowers from one corner of the shop to the counter.  He told me to say, ___________.  I said that and the flowers wilted.  So, that was the wrong wand too.

Then, he told me to stand in the light by his counter he asked me when I was born.  I told him, January.  He said, “Ooo, wait a second.  Perhaps you should try  . . . .”  He went up the stairs and found a good wand.  It was made of Alder wood with a phoenix feather inside and he said it had a good “swish.”  He handed it to me and my pigtails were blown up and lights came on.

He said that was the wand chose me and that he expected me to be a great and strong witch.

Two things startled me.  First, that she was able to be involved in such an encounter — answering questions, responding to directions and all in front of a group of people.  Second, that she was able to remember it and tell it back to be a few days later.

When we were in Maryland with Cheshire and friends, I watched as Julia interacted with them and I do not see much difference in her interaction from last year to this.  I want to know how to inspire her to be as attentive to her sister as she was to Mr. Ollivandar.

At home in Madison, Julia is obsessing about Harry Potter.  Harry and his life and friends are on her mind all the time.  Sometimes I ask her to stop talking about it for a little while and talk about our lives and she asks me if she can still think about it.  This obsession has a different feel to it.  It is focused on people and not on dinosaurs, and the people have been part of books and movies.  I wonder if it is a step in the right direction — interest in people, that is.  I understand her interest on my own terms because I obsessed about books and stories for years but is it the same.

I have no idea!  And guidance is sparse.  No one seems to really know.  When I ask experts they tell me of possibilities, most of which I’ve figured out for myself.  Navigating the development of typical children is not easy but navigating Julia’s tween years is like padding upstream, in the dark, with a straw for a paddle.

Absolutely, all that I can do on my best days is to be present for her and have patience with the both of us.