The week opened into this new season. I moved to Newton in the middle of summer but I am experiencing every bit of this new season as it rolls in. Skies are blue except when they are not; dusky greens are just beginning to show color and we need more than our summer blankets at night.
Last weekend, we picked apples in Stow, MA. Saturday began with clouds and I was betting we could make it to the farm, pick apples and leave before the rain set in. However, the rain began in earnest as we crossed the border into Stow. So, we found a cafe in Maynard, the next town over, where we ate grilled cheese and I had a good coffee. We parked next to a Harry Potter shop, found out that there is a Wizard’s Con in November, and looked at a lot of cool stuff. Then the rain stopped and we were able to squish around in the apple orchard and bring home a bag of apples.
I forget how good fresh fruit tastes!
Sunday, we went to church and then to the first Youth group meeting. Parents and youth had separate meetings which allowed the parents to hear about other kids in the group. I found out that Julia is not the only kid on the spectrum and I could share a bit of our story. The sharing was good and I was grateful it came when it did.
Had this been about 11 years ago and David and I were walking into the Newton Unitarian church instead of into First Unitarian in Madison, I don’t know if we would have stayed. FUUSN’s (First Unitarian Universalist Society of Newton) building is a gothic church (I think and will find out more about it) with stain glass windows that include mostly male saints or saint-like people and lots of Jesus images. There is a communion rail, a recognizable altar, a pulpit (not a lectern) and what I think is a very tall baptismal font. There is a lot of wood on the vaulted ceiling and on the walls, stone pillars and church pews. To be fair, there is no cross on the altar, no stations of the cross and the saint-like people in the windows don’t exactly have halos. Still, apart from those absences, the building could be adapted for catholic use without many changes and 11 years ago, that would have sent me running. Now, it merely gives me pause. When I asked if this building was originally used for another denomination, it was told that is was built for Unitarians and referred to the church historian. (I need to go on her tour.) I know it is the people inside the church that make the community and that I have a prejudice against typical christian decoration but I note the gut reaction and my initial wariness. The irony here is that I love touring churches when I travel. There is not an Italian city that I’ve been to where I have not visited at least a couple and sometimes more than a couple of the biggest, the oldest and churches most filled with art. But for my own spirit seeking time, I prefer somewhere that doesn’t remind me of catholicism and the years spent worshiping in a faith that didn’t fit my soul. The voices I hear at FUUSN services, at coffee hour and during that youth group parent meeting spoke in a language that I’ve come to recognize as coming from ‘my people.’ I am learning to look past the glorious edifice.
Julia is being more responsible than ever writing assignments in her assignment notebook. Her homework feels more in line with her capacity of working after a whole school day. A small glitch is her first English essay. It was supposed to be handed in yesterday and I was assured at last week’s back to school night that between English and study hall, it would be worked on and finished. I don’t think that happened. Reflective essays, this one with transcendentalism themes, are not Julia’s forte. They were hardly mine in high school. I’m pretty good with objective home work but not with this, especially because I don’t really understand the exact aim of the assignment. After emailing with her IF (Inclusion Facilitator), it seems that Julia handed in what she had—not a completed and polished essay but a decent rough draft which is what they wanted from her. I’m trusting that they have a process and we/I need to trust in it.
On Sunday afternoon, Julia, Cheshire and I went to the Dealmoon Asian Street Food Night Market held in a mall parking lot. The food was pretty spectacular even though we didn’t know what much of it was. The festival catered to the Asian community. It stirred my wanderlust and put Julia a bit on edge. She loved most of the food but did not feel part of the community which of course she is not a part of. That is a task still coming—finding some corner of the Asian community for Julia. Her obsession with anime has planted the idea more firmly than any of the chinese adoption community event we went to. How and where she fits in/finds a place is still a mystery to me. But I am open to finding someone who can open a door or crack open a window. I want her proud.
Here is matcha ice cream being made on a freezing pan and ready to eat.