And In Other News….

Isn’t it funny when you think you have nothing to say but you sit down to write anyway because you MUST and because if you don’t, you won’t know what you think, and then it turns out you have plenty to say, maybe some of it sweet or perceptive or inspiring or real, but most of it ridiculous, and that’s completely ok because it helps you feel connected to yourself and maybe it even makes you laugh, which is awesome? Yeah, I think so too.

I cut my own hair again this week, meaning its now been over 4 months since I’ve been to my hair place. Its kind of weird, I know. And if you have OCDish tendencies, I don’t really recommend it because it’ll be a long and torturous 2 or 3 days. Or maybe I mean if you have OCDish tendencies, I do recommend it because you know it’ll be done right after a long and torturous 2 or 3 days. I don’t know. You pick. Oh, and let me tell you about a funny little thing that happened on the 1st or 2nd day of my haircut. I have this hair stuff that I put on my hair while it’s still very slightly damp because my hair is very DRY. I also have this very expensive anti-aging cream that I put on my face every single day because my face is AGING. Both happen to be in jars with black lids. You see where I’m going with this, right? Chalk it up to the fact that I wasn’t wearing my glasses or that I’m extremely menopausal or that possibly I’m displaying signs of early onset Alzheimers, I don’t know, but I grabbed the anti-aging cream jar, opened it, scooped up a little dab with my finger, rubbed it between my hands and applied it to my hair. And it looked good. Moisturized. Shiny. Then I realized what I’d done and thought about rinsing it out, but no, why would I? It looked GOOD. Which got me thinking that maybe I should try my hair stuff on my face sometime, because its a lot cheaper than the anti-aging stuff and apparently, they are very similar products.  

I spent many hours over the last few days carefully drafting a letter (no F bombs) to the president of my daughter’s college – a small liberal arts college in the Boston area, progressive in some ways, highly regarded for its rigorous academic and intellectual pursuits in a non-denominational Christian setting, a wonderful place on many levels, and a perfect fit for her – but I’m not doing anything with it until she hears back from a big honors thing for which she made the first cut and is having her final interview today. Because I’m not stupid. I’m just thoroughly disgusted. And disappointed. Again. The guy has completely lost my trust at this point because he repeatedly talks out of both sides of his mouth, which last time I checked was a biblically ethical issue. And oh sweet Jesus! Please help! This white, straight, male, American, Christian, Princeton educated, college president feels SO oppressed. And also dogmatism before God’s people and don’t you forget it. Amen. Sorry to be so cryptic for now, and obviously, because I’m sad and angry and worried and human, I have a lot of breathing and praying and editing to do. And I WILL. And then I will share.

Things continue to look up for Boy, especially at school. I think the kid is finally settling in after 6 months of WHOAwhosawthiscomingNOTME. We’ve been a great team, the GT/LD people, his teacher, our Educational Consultant and me, and I’m really grateful for that. I’m not saying we’re out of the woods, I’m just saying things are a lot better and all of the tools we’ve put into place are making a difference. I’m relieved. Cautiously optimistic. And I’m really proud of him because he didn’t give up. Mostly, though, I’m happy for him. For the past 2 weeks, Boy hasn’t objected to going to school at all and he’s made some huge strides, finishing more work and doing it cooperatively and really well too. His teacher is increasingly aware that he’s capable of even more, but she’s letting him continue to settle in, and I support that 100%. He’s really enjoying his friends and he might even say he likes being there, not sure.

Speaking of school, I posted awhile back about Boy’s Media teacher and how awesome she is and how much they dig each other. For months, his time with her was the only thing he looked forward to at school. Well, she invited him to march with her in a parade scheduled for last weekend to kickoff the Gaithersburg Book Festival, which isn’t until May 16. There are a series of events between now and then building up to the big day, this being the first, hence the word kickoff. Anyway, you guys KNOW he was all over that. Unfortunately, the parade was rained out and Boy was super bummed. That’s putting it mildly.

But then something really cool happened. Apparently there were only a couple of kids expected to march in the parade with their respective Media teachers, each dressed as a character from a book written by various authors who will be at the Festival. The Festival committee decided that in lieu of the parade, they wanted each kid interviewed for the GBF website about their love of reading in general, as well as about the book and character they each chose. You guys KNOW Boy was all over that too. Ha. So one of the committee members, a lovely woman who has worked for 20 years as a local reporter, came to our home on Thursday after school to interview Boy. I wish I’d had a video camera going. I bet she wishes the same. He waited at our front window for her to arrive and when she pulled up in the driveway, he propped open the storm door to greet and welcome her enthusiastically. Great start but she had no idea what she was in for.

I had cleaned up the house before her arrival, as most civilized people try to do, but turns out I shouldn’t have bothered because as she asked questions and Boy answered them, he trashed the joint, pulling out every single one of his favorite books to illustrate his responses. He pulled out all of his sketch books which contain his volumes of comics and graphic novellas. He opened Google Docs to show her his stories. He told her about the stories my Dad tells him, especially the one about the time machine, and the way they collaborated to keep it going. He showed her the time machine he made and demonstrated how it works. And then he took her to his room. He pulled his favorite books out there too. He showed her his CD player and his stack of audio books. He showed her his favorite plush characters and demonstrated how he creates epic stories with them. He opened his closet and a pile of cardboard boxes tumbled out, his ongoing work to create an arcade inspired by a YouTube video. He told her about the various businesses he operates out of his classroom and this house, showing her his big red bag full of crap he drags around for his “fair trade store”. And then, I heard them go into his bathroom. And, horrified, I screamed from the family room, “OMG Boy, you didn’t take her into YOUR bathroom did you?!” OMG, the pee stains people. Just NO. And then he goes, “Yes! This interview would not be complete without her seeing my theater because my plays are stories!” He explained to her that he recently began to put on one man shows staged in his bathroom because the tub is a perfect stage and has A CURTAIN. So in addition to the pee, which I swear I try to keep up with, she saw his tub full of props and his counter covered with dollar bills, the price for admission to his original masterpiece theater. No doubt she was given the best seat in the house, also known as the commode.

She was so patient and engaged, she clearly enjoyed all of this while I waited in our big, green, overstuffed chair and giggled to myself like a crazy person. When they came downstairs, she very kindly looked at me and said, “You really keep busy, don’t you? And your home is lovely, its like a workshop.” Yes, yes it is like a workshop.

They settled in to talk a little longer and as he stood on his head on the sofa, Boy let his vocabulary freak flag fly and he showered her with his beautifully articulate language and observations about stories and the way they transport him to another place and time. I’m realizing more and more that he pulls it out when he needs it and stuffs it back in when he simply wants to be a “normal kid”. I’m reading a fascinating book right now, a memoir about verbal giftedness, called Weisenheimer: A Childhood Subject to Debate. Anyway, he went on to tell her that one of his many dreams is to publish his own work one day and that he wants to be famous, not for money, but to make people happy, just as the authors he loves have made him happy. But he did admit that he likes money too. Don’t we all. He told her more about his passion for graphic novels, about his teacher who includes comics in his classroom, and about meeting several of his favorite authors, including one of the authors who will be at the GBF, Dave Roman. He told her that his mother understands his need to meet people who inspire him because BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN. He talked about Roman’s Astronaut Academy series and one of his favorite characters, the one he was going to dress up as for the parade, Senor Panda. She asked him to put on his get-up so she could grab a photo or two and then they wrapped things up. She was here for over an hour and it was pretty excellent, I have to say. No idea when or exactly where her little blurb will get published beyond the website, but I’ll share it when it goes live.

After dinner that same night, I subbed for Husband at Cub Scouts, which technically is his gig with Boy, not mine, because I did Girl Scouts with Girl for many years and we made an agreement, but when work gets in the way, I’m it. And somehow, it turns out that I’m the one taking him on his 4 day/3 NIGHT camping trip in June too – the kind of camping where you sleep outside in a two person tent – but whatever.

Anyway, the theme Thursday night was developing awareness of and compassion for people with various disabilities. The boys sat together for a little presentation about common physical disabilities, how we can show sensitivity, care and respect for people who have them, and then they were asked to share their own observations or experiences. At one point, Boy raised his hand and from across the room, I inhaled deeply as another boy’s Mom, a friend, looked over at me with love. Thats what it felt like anyway. We both knew what he was going to do. I admit I had mixed feelings about it because, well, you know. Bullying. Teasing. Indifference. And then Boy did it, he shared with all of those other scouts and scout leaders and parents that he has a disability that can’t be seen, a learning disability called dysgraphia which makes writing and school really hard for him. He shared that he has other associated challenges too. Boy is so freaking brave sometimes, it nearly makes me weep. The leader who was facilitating the discussion then shared that he also struggled with a learning disability as a kid, dyslexia. They went on to talk about hidden disabilities a little bit, which was great. I might have added some intentional discussion about modifications/accommodations and that disabilities do not define a person or limit quality of life or accomplishments. In fact, many people with disabilities excel at many things. But it was a great introduction, a really fine session.

The kids then rotated through a series of experiential activities designed to help them better understand what living with a physical disability might be like. That Mom friend and I were facilitating one of the activities and once we were finished and the boys gathered again as a group with the scout leaders, she and I sat down and buried our noses in our iPhones, of course, at one point giggling about a photo of a giraffe or something. A few minutes later we were called out because everyone else had stood up to do the closing for the meeting and we were still sitting, obliviously scrolling away. And apparently it took the whole platoon or den or pack or whatever to get our attention because we were shocked to realize that every single one of those kids and leaders was yelling at us to stand up. Boy was shaking his head, face in hand. As we stood up, laughing, red-faced, I whispered to her, “that’s some great blog material, right there.” You’re welcome.

In weather related news, it snowed in our neck of the woods yesterday. Nothing major, but snow nonetheless. On March 20. The first day of “Spring” in case you didn’t know. But hey, at least school wasn’t cancelled. And today it’s sunny and near 60. Crazy.

Coincidentally, Boy went to a comic book store with Husband this afternoon to see Dave Roman of all people, the Astronaut Academy dude. It was actually Boy’s second time meeting this particular author. The first time was last fall when Boy’s Media teacher snagged some money to bring Dave to the school to talk to the 3-5th graders, the event that really skyrocketed Boy’s love of graphic novels, specifically. And he’s been chasing the dream ever since. Its been a big week in the author meeting department, Lincoln Pierce of Big Nate fame on Tuesday night at Barnes and Noble and then Dave Roman today. Husband said that Dave couldn’t be a nicer guy, and Boy is psyched that they’ll meet again at the GBF in May.

Finally, while Husband and Boy were gone, I worked on cleaning the joint up AGAIN as I enjoyed the musical stylings of the one and only Mr Springsteen. Well, actually, I sat here for quite awhile in my little writing corner, thinking, laughing, typing, because I didn’t know where to start with my train wreck of a house, it was that bad. But it had to be done and I finally did it because poker is happening here tonight. Husband’s monthly guy gathering. And hey, isn’t so great that all of his poker crap was exactly where he left it last month? One less thing for him to do when he got home. 

  
 Just so you know, I think that the steady self-control and maturity I exercised in keeping my mouth shut about that poker crap staying on my dining room table for a month and/or in not putting it away myself as I released a few expletives under my breath deserves some sort of medal, don’t you?

I think that about covers it. 

Ok. So, signing off for now and please forgive me, but I don’t have time to edit this, which could be a good thing. Another really, REALLY good exercise in one thing or another. Surrender. Or something. 

 Have a good weekend, people.

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