tulips and small steps`

Dramatic Julia at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens Japanese Garden

I meant to write yesterday.  What happened?

10:00 a.am.  I get a email from Julia’s inclusion facilitator that Julia is upset that she left her wallet at home.  I am more or less ready to do some errands, so I jump in the car and bring the wallet over to the program.  I want Julia to have as good a day as she can. She has had some very good days this week . . . talk about that later.  


I read a blog post (and I can’t find it now to link it) about a mom who has a child with autism who had reached middle or high school and was more independent than he had been a few years prior.  The mother felt some room open up, some possibility of freedom for herself, and asked a trusted therapist if she thought that the mom could enter the regular work force again.  She had cobbled together part-time work through the years but missed a full-time job and building a career.  The therapist, who knew her kiddo, told the mom that if she “needed” to work, she should, but that kids with the best outcomes have full-time moms.  

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nyc 2

Day 3, if you are counting Monday evening.

We are in a diner on E. Houston.  Julia eating eggs and sausage and I with a bowl of oatmeal.  Why is oatmeal always, at least in my experience, better than it is at home.  When I visited Chicago often, I had a favorite breakfast spot, a chain, that had the best oatmeal.  What I am having this morning is pretty close.  I have opined in the past that it is because they make a very large batch in an old thin metal pot.  Commercially oatmeal is made with water and they skimp some on the oats.  Or not.  It is delicious.

As we eat, a young couple come in with a little girl, I’d say about 18 months old.  They are all taller and better looking than we were, except for the little girl, and it is the woman not the man who wears glasses.  They remind me of David and Cheshire and I when she was about that young.  The little girl walks around as they wait for their breakfast.  Dad follows her.  The wait staff greet the Dad and girl.  We are close to our old neighborhood. We too had a breakfast spot that we frequented—Kiev, which closed a long time ago—and the wait staff—mostly middle aged Ukrainian ladies—entertained Cheshire.  

This is a journey of remembering.  Not surprising—I have not stayed in Manhattan often since we left when Cheshire was 3.5, and Julia and I have not been to NYC since we moved.  This kind of memory walk was a challenge to me years ago—our travels in Italy when there seemed to be a memory and a pain around every corner. Now, there are just memories, and taking back the city a street and restaurant at a time will smooth the wrinkles of that very old life.  

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nyc 1

It is April and Julia is on second spring break.  And we are in NYC.

First off, we’ve been here for 24 hours and Julia has said at least 5 times that she loves this place.  Okay, we did have supper last night at the Chinese noodle shop she had picked out on line and we did find two goth/Japanese/anime clothes shops today, but it is noisy, confusing, busy and scruffy.  All things that Julia usually doesn’t like.  She might be picking up on my own happy feelings—ah, to be in NYC again.  

One of my happy dreams when we moved to Boston was to be able to visit NYC for theater, museums and walking around often.  Then Covid.  This is our first trip here, although we did just pass through last June on our way to Maryland.

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contemplating parades at 3 a.m.

I don’t know why I wake up at 3, turn over to fall back to sleep only to be further roused.  Then, thoughts invade, those thoughts that hold hands and dance in a circle around my brain.  Not bad thoughts, not depressing or sad thoughts, not even anxious thoughts, but dammed determined thoughts that shake my insides awake until I throw off covers, pee, make myself a cup of hot milk and rearrange the pillows to half-sit in bed and tap away. Would it be the same if there was a partner beside me?  I muse that I could have turned over and found the crook in some arm and shoulder, but honestly, there were many nights waking up and carefully leaving the bed so as not to disturb my sleeping love.  It has been long enough that I paint sublime pictures of sleeping next to someone through an entire night of looping thoughts, but not so long as to deny the truth of night time rousings.

There will be an audience-free Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this year.  Reading that saddens me.  Only slightly but noticeably.  And I have to laugh at myself.  When was the last time I took any notice of the parade?

But when I was a child . . . 

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New York

On the steps of the Museum of the City of New York at 103rd Street.


Lunch in a Queens park that has just reopened. Big trees, new benches, giant frogs spouting water in the playground. I have excellent ice coffee–good enough to to drink black– Julia is eating a bagel with bacon and cream cheese–her idea. This is the way to take in 90 degrees in NYC.

A week in New York. Museuming. A quiet Fourth of July. And then yesterday. Also, a few mistakes, some corrected.

Traveling to and staying in New York is always part coming home, part visiting Cheshire and friends and part playing tourist. Add to that mix, this summer we observed David’s death day here. There is never time to write here. I’d so rather hang with my girls and chat than tap away. Continue reading

recherchez again

We took off and flew and landed today. Yay!

Oh, there are so few people who might get the joke. Jan, are you there? Makes me think of memory holders. Those who know enough to of your history to reminisce at the drop of a hat. And those who cannot remember for whom we hold memories.  

We are back at the airport. Still Milwaukee, checked in and waiting at the gate. A gate slightly to the right of yesterday’s gate but few changes. Our berries survived the night in the hotel frig which was not cold. Those berries plus an expensive banana, juice, scone that Julia insisted on because she likes mine and is disappointed with what we get, and coffee are breakfast. We could have had the hotel buffet but there was a pool at the hotel and Julia had asked to swim last night. I had been too tired last night–the release of travel prep stress exhaustion– and I could not summon energy to search our bags for swim suits.   

We slept. But only after supper at the restaurant. There we met a woman who was stuck after the cancelled flight. We rode to the hotel together and chatted then. She had finished dinner by the time we got to our table but she ordered another glass of beer and I asked her to join us. She was headed to a family reunion. The cancelled flight caused her to miss the first event (hopefully, the 6 am flight she caught this morning got her there for this afternoon’s festivities.). She is ex-military, on the cusp of buying her first house outside of of Seattle (inspection while she is away), she has two kids who have moved around a lot while she has been deployed, wounded during her last tour in Afghanistan. During a long recovery and rehab, she studied for her bachelors (she started with an associates degree plus a few credits) and then masters in education. She is a social studies teacher now, not the kind obsessed with maps and dates. She teaches kids where wars come from and how people live through them. “They need to know how it happens so they can stop the next ones.”

She had a seven year old son on the spectrum, she stutters under pressure (which I think is a different kind of stuttering from mine) and her father was a prison chaplain after he retired from the military. We found plenty to talk about and, I’m not saying that I would have given up yesterday’s flight to have dinner with this woman, but I felt I had met a comrade–talking through imperfect speech, another autism mom and someone who has an insiders’ perception of prisons. Lemons to lemonade–such good fortune. 

And Julia drew Winter, the dragon for her.  

Back in our room, we watched the end of Avatar and I forgot how beautiful the movie is. Julia is ready to see it. Interesting, Julia snuggled with me in my bed for the movie and then moved to her own bed to sleep. This is new. In the past, she has not been interested in snuggling unless she was afraid or she was not interested in her own sleeping space. Yesterday, she wanted both.  

This morning we decided to go swimming in the hotel pool instead of breakfast–we would have a couple of hours in the airport to catch breakfast. But we were too early and the pool was not open. We went to the front desk and I asked if we could bend the rules. I told our story of a flight cancelled and Julia piped in that she was “waiting patiently.” The manager was charmed–by her, not me, and we splashed around for 40 minutes before leaving.  

Back at the airport now. Still waiting. Everything points to a good travel day and Cheshire is at the other end. So is New York. Such a good start for an adventure.