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The Salem waterfront

Sitting in a coffee shop whose name I’ve already forgotten.  There is no free wifi here which suggests that I will try the Starbucks around the corner next time. My car is parked at a metered space that I probably don’t have enough time on. I can’t always tell if there is a time limit on parking spaces. Julia is at an orientation for new students.  She is anxious and scattered and so am I.

New reality: Carry change for meters. Find a coffee shop with free wifi. Get acquainted with feeling scattered.

This week we are doing some of what I hoped we could do for most of August, that is, see Boston like a tourist.  Allowances for unpacking and phone calls aside, I got a lot of work done in the last two months but not a lot of touring.  Julia doesn’t care of course, she would rather be home on her screens.  She has her phone with her this morning at school with the idea that she can use it to call me if she needs to.  I am hoping she doesn’t use it to zone out during orientation.

Reading the last paragraphs, I sound tense even to me.  I am.  So, no denying that I have no idea how Julia will take to the new situation at school.  The school and the possibilities for Julia sound incredible.  She will be taking English, Math (practical only), World History and Physics four times a week, and Art, Costume making, Chorus and Rock Climbing twice a week.  This is a totally different kind of schedule than she has had before.  There should be a lot of support and some time each day for study hall/support/organizational skills.  Activities are after school and can be supported if she needs it, including a homework club.  I need to begin looking for speech and OT outside of school but I will not schedule anything until I find out about after school activities.   

Julia has been on a Instagram hiatus since we arrived; however, she has managed to use my iPad and her phone to log on (I thought her phone was too old to support the Instagram app.).  On Saturday, I found that according to the activity log, she spent substantial time on Instagram for at least the past week (I can’t figure out how to see more than a week).  And of course, there are messages to male strangers from Julia.  This seems to be impulsive behavior that I cannot reason, teach, reward or bribe her way out of.  And so, I’ve temporarily disable both our accounts (hers and mine) which will keep everything hidden until I reactivate it by logging back in.  I’ve changed her password, so she can’t log in herself and I’ve asked that Instagram be blocked from the Newton North Chrome book that we picked up today. 

Instagram has been a battle almost since the beginning and getting it out of her life is the only thing I can do right now.  I had hoped that Julia could learn moderation and control; however, this is not possible using Instagram right now.  Completely blocking it on our devices may show a huge lack of imagination on my part and she may still find a way in on some school or library computer.  And I am aware that I cannot keep her safe from her own behavior forever but it is the best I can do for now.

I have plenty of work I need to pick up or start when I have my days to myself; however, at this moment the idea of what to do first is overwhelming.  Time for a new list of small steps. There is still an awful pile of boxes and stuff in the basement to sort out and the hall is lined with pictures and other things to hang or place.  The study is marginally set up but my desk is not operational yet; the dining room is not completely guest worthy. I also feel like I could use some time to indulge myself and all I can think of right this moment is binge watching something on Netflix which would not, when it was over, make me happy.  

And today is our 13th Family Day.  We brought Julia home to Indianapolis and then David and I moved her to Madison less than a year afterwards.  This summer’s move was just Julia and I; however, tomorrow when we celebrate our Family Day, we will be four—the two of us and Cheshire and Justin.  That makes me smile.

Now, playing tourists in our new home town:

Last Thursday, we visited the Fuller Craft Museum in Brockton, MA (If I ever made art, I’d want to place it in the woods.):

On Sunday, we wanted to go kayaking but it was too windy and arguably too cold to get wet.  So, we took a walk in the woods at Nahanton Park in Newton.

Monday was the perfect day to take a Duck Tour of Boston aboard a World War II style amphibious landing vehicle.  Hosted by an amusing tour guide with lots of information and gossip to impart we saw a bit of downtown Boston and a few historical sites and then took to the Charles River for views from the river. Hopefully, I will remember some of the sites and neighborhoods I was to visit later on this fall.

And then yesterday, Tuesday, we visited Salem which is about an hour from Newton. It is home to a both witch and maritime history and we were able to indulge  in both.  Rather ironically, the history of the 1692 Salem Witch trials and hangings seem to be told through the eyes of men of the time.  The town, whose favorite holiday is Halloween, could use a feminist perspective somewhere.  Julia love the shops devoted to witches of every time and incarnation.  We also took a tour of the Derby and Narbonne houses which are part of the Salem Maritime National Historic Site.  A wonderful park ranger explained life around the time of the American Revolution for two families of very different classes who lived close to each other. It would be worth returning to Salem just to go on some of the other tours hosted by the Site.