the deep end

The bus didn’t come for Julia yesterday and I drove her to school.  When I came back into the house, I breathed in the aromas of our morning—coffee, sweet tea, bananas and chocolate chip waffles with maple syrup. Could I delineate each flavor note?  Probably not but smelling one, I imagined all the others.  The aroma was that of our mornings.  And there was such a peace in that. Our home takes on that aroma most mornings, I suppose.  It is warm and welcoming.  It is a good home smell, the scent of security, from which to leave to begin a day. Such a relief.  It did not have to be like that.  Even now.  And I appreciate the work that I’ve done to make it so. It has been a long haul.

And yet, peace and security is so fragile.

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late winter break

Whenever I have the time to write, I swear I have nothing to write about.  It is when I have a dozen other things, when I have to ignore something very important that inspiration hits.  I am also pretty good at working up to a deadline, missing it by a day or so, and laboring as if all hell will break loose if I don’t do as I promised. This seems to me an undesirable lack of moderation, of discipline, of getting into that Buddha inspired journey of the middle way.

But this was not what I sat down to write about.

Quick summary:  We are in an okay place.

Julia had the week off—never sure if it is late winter break or first spring break.  My plans for the week were to do what needed to be done and meet with those needing meetings especially therapies at the beginning of the week and then go somewhere—we settled on Salem where Julia has her eye on a few punk/goth stores—for Friday and Saturday. And if we were having a good time, staying until Sunday.  

Big however!

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a happy ending

Snail slow and in ever decreasing increments, I come back to and move onto some completed changed old self.  Never walking into the same river twice, but stepping on the same stones, recognizing the direction of water flow. The books strewn around the house—some closed with bookmarks, some open, face down on the coffee table, on the desks, on the edge of the bed far from where I sleep—they were not there six month ago. I walked around the house this morning looking for the book that I’ve decided to start my mornings with. I almost cannot write, cannot think a single thought before I read the reading for today.

I am my own delicious throwback to days before Covid and quarantine and autism and moving and death and heart transplant and a wild child. Who was that me way back then? I have almost, but not completely, forgotten her.

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winter profile (an update)

Last summer I wrote a status report about Julia.  It was rather grim but I needed to get it all down in order to understand where I thought Julia was, and to help me to begin to wonder in some sort of a systemic way, what to do next, where she was going, what I should be striving for, fighting for.  And what the hell was the goal!

The big question that was and remains: What will happen when Julia is finished with Community Connections (“CC”) next January on her 22nd birthday.  [In Massachusetts, students with disabilities can stay in the public school system until their 22nd birthday in compliance with the federal IDEA.  After high school, students can enter a transition program and in Newton, we have Community Connections. The purpose of the program is to teach independent living skills and job skills.  Students can then transition into employment or into the adult services programs run by the state.]  While services for students with disabilities is guaranteed until the age of 22; adults with disabilities merely qualify for services.  Depending on the state, the availability of funds and the willingness of the powers that be, students may or may not get services.  Even living in Wisconsin and Massachusetts, where there is  decent to good willingness to provide services, it is always necessary to advocate for services.   

For an adult with disabilities nothing is guaranteed.  And all services are so much more dependent upon money and the whim of the legislature. So, strong advocacy is only more important.

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risky behavior

For Julia’s birthday, we were ultra careful.  No eating out, no movie theater, no concert, no activities where we would be with many people for too long a time in close quarters. Sometime during last week, possibly in the days after the cello break, I grew very weary of the ultra careful life.  

And so, on Saturday, Julia, Cheshire, Justin and I went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner.  It was delicious and as Cheshire commented, it was food that would have made awful take out. Julia had asked earlier in the day if she could have an alcoholic drink with dinner. She has never before asked for such a thing, didn’t even ask about it for her birthday, but she is 21 and I would rather have her experiment with us than on her own.  And considering that she does not go anywhere on her own right now, it would be some undisclosed time in the distant future before she could order her first drink.  

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21

This was not the post I intended to write this morning.  No, what follows is what I expected to write.  It is this morning’s latest catastrophe that I did not expect. Julia turned 21 this weekend and I guess I should have written and posted with pictures before this morning because . . . well, because stuff happens and in this house, it happens like a hurricane or a tsunami.

We had a long, quiet weekend—celebrating with a big shopping at H Mart, an Asian supermarket, where Julia picked out old favorite noodle packs, candies and cookies.  We found frozen pork buns and the best frozen dumplings we’ve ever had. She ventured into a jar of kimchi, found BTS merch and of course, we got some mochi.  It was a black sesame mochi ball that held the lit candle that was ceremoniously carried into Cheshire’s dining room after we had feasted on Korean take out.  We sang, Julia blew the candle out.  I wished that we could have some sort of a normal birthday celebration at some future time, at the same time grateful for the generous scraps of what we have.  

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willy-nilly

Why do we do jigsaw puzzles?

Julia and I began a new one on New Year’s Day although we hardly made any progress until this weekend. 1000 pieces that when finished will be a Venetian scene.  

I love Venice and I hunger for traveling, so it is a bitter sweet endeavor.  As I separate the lavender sky pieces from the butter colored Doge’s palace pieces, I wonder and wonder if I can begin to make summer plans.  To Venice or London or, Julia’s desire, Japan.  I know, the first two are cities and the third a country.  Japan would take a lot more planning; I know nothing about Japan. Julia, however, has texted me the address of the park in Tokyo where cosplayers gather on weekends to show off their costumes. We will make that stop.

Last week, an acquaintance on the HILR email list, wrote that she was looking for ideas for a summer trip to northern Italy.  I immediately responded, with a longer than expected description of Orta San Giulio, including restaurants, walks, the mysterious island in the middle of the Orta and the hydrangea in gardens in August. My enthusiasm leaking out of my fingers.  

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3rd day of semester

Winter break has been over for three day.  I mean, this is the third day, and I have this overwhelming feeling of wanting to be alone and quiet. This morning after Julia boarded the school van, I took a deep breath and bathed in the house silence.  I did not want to say a single word to anyone, and the usual morning pleasantries to the van driver (who is a very sweet man, by the way) were an incredible effort.  Peculiar thing is that Julia has had three very easy mornings following a relatively calm and easy winter break.  

The only challenge of the break, and indeed of the coming month (or so), is that she could not do her regular activities. There was no rowing last week and her zoom theater workshop was on break. The rowing class has now been cancelled for at least a week with the possibility of an extension.  Oh, how that email read like the first school closings in 2020!  The theater workshop which was rumored to go back to live meetings will stay on zoom, starting in February. Both these activities are important to our week, to her sanity.  I hate to lose them for any time at all. She will still have meetings with her therapist and her art mentor.  And for these, I am so grateful

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auld lang syne

“For the sake of old times!”  As close as I can get to a translation that makes sense to me of the words “auld lang syne.”

“Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,
and never thought upon” 

A slight variation of the Robert Berns words, but the words that sang out to me this morning.  Yes, I admit to wanting to not cast too many glances back.  It has been a hard year.  It has been a brutal almost two years, and all my heart wants to do is to turn and face the winds of the new, hoping and praying that the new will be much, much more pleasant than the old.  As a friend wrote as a wish to another friend, a wish for a more cooperative new year.

Indeed!

A cooperative 2022 would be divine!

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yesterday, today and tomorrow

Trying on Christmas finery.

I have kept a blog for a long time.  Julia came home from China in 2006, my first post on my first blog was in September, 2005.  The focus has changed over the years—adoption and its fall out, diagnosis and more fall out, more diagnoses, more fall out, therapy, school programs, transplant, death, single motherhood, autism, attachment, travel with my girl, moving, transitioning, shut down, covid and all of its fall out.  And through it all I’ve kept writing, not always every day or even extremely regularly, but I’ve kept at it and, dare I say, somewhat improved in saying what is in my heart as much of the time as possible. 

The process of writing is essential in my existence but rarely have I studied the process or routinely subjected my work to critique, save the kind words of friends and visitors to this blog. David was the one who took the courses, got the graduate degree, taught multiple kinds of writing; and he was successful in finishing and publishing novels.  I have merely and persistently written—mostly journaling since a teen with a few forays into fiction.

But now.  Now.  Now.  With a new year.  I feel the tug of what may be next.

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