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Posts Tagged ‘A Little Princess’

So I was editing the last post, and “similar posts” came up along the bottom.  Among them I found:

my 100th post mother’s day mystery

in which I bore you all with the same exact story about Sara Crewe and A Little Princess.  Oops.

I rarely read my old blog posts and I’ve never read the whole blog through start to finish.  I wonder how many times I’ve gone on about Laura Ingalls Wilder, Guster, Elfquest, A Little Princess, etc. in the same way, over & over? Am I getting forgetful in my middle age, repeating myself without realizing it?  Or am I autistic and fixated on telling the same stories and references ad infinitum?

At least now I know the first year the magician started coming, which makes this year 7. That’s new information for sure.

I COULD just go back and edit that last post, but that would be a lie of sorts.  This memory thing is part of who I am.  I do often forget that I’ve already told someone something, or I forget to whom I told what.  

Sometimes I forget because I need to forget.  In the process, other things get tossed out in the wash.

I suppose there are worse things that could happen to my mind.

Tomorrow I drive down alone to visit Boo with Andy.  Jonah has had a rough week; yesterday he even bit a caregiver on the stomach and fought with another.  And here I thought I just might start to maaayyybe hope that his aggressions were gone for good.  At least mostly.

But no.  No, again.  No.  Again.

I have to be careful tomorrow.  Follow all the old rules.  No glasses, be vigilant, tuck the sheets under him and not me when we take a nap.  If we take a nap.  I’m nervous about it, and sad, and it makes my PTSD kick in, my heart pounding pounding pounding, teeth clenched, muscles tight, jaw like stone.

Plus it’s been raining and dreary all day, and there was another school shooting yesterday. 10 people dead in Texas.  I read the comments on the articles about it, all the solutions, all the suggestions, the angry finger-pointing name-calling righteous people who blame and lash out, mock and ridicule, troll and flame, everyone saying it has to stop, it has to stop, it has to stop.  We have forgotten how to be kind to one another, even in the wake of a tragedy.  It’s more important that someone else is wrong and you are right.  It’s more important to be heard than to listen.  Ours is a broken country.

I’m exhausted from caring about too many broken things.  I’m exhausted from crying about it and about Boo earlier, and exhausted from rage cleaning – scrubbing and sweeping, vacuuming and doing wash, whirlwind style, vigorous and hard.  I always clean like this when I’m feeling angry and helpless.  It’s a giant metaphor.  I can’t scrub the world of its hate and I can’t wash the aggression from my son, but I can at least do the dishes and make the fucking sink shine.  I can clean my own little corner of the world.

Wish us luck tomorrow, Andy and me.  That last time he hurt me pretty bad.

If he does it again, though, at least I’ll probably forget it.

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I love that phrase:  “I should say.”   I hear it in a stuffy, 18th century, crisp British accent, complete with Mr. Carlyle pulling a kerchief from the lace wristlet of his velvet coat mid-quote.   Do you know who Thomas Carlyle is?  It’s okay if you don’t.  He’s but a click away.

The weird thing about me coming across this quote is Mr. Thomas Carlyle wrote The French Revolution:  A History, which was the favourite book of protagonist Sara Crewe in Frances Hodgson Burnett’s children’s book A Little Princess which is my favourite book.  So that makes me want to read this enormous 3-volume account of the French Revolution (while remaining largely ignorant of our own right here in the U.S.)  I feel the need to learn more history.  All kinds of history.

My father and I went on a ride to Massachusetts today and I “interviewed” him from a book I’d bought, Conversations with my Father, which asked questions and left blanks so you could create your own memory book.  What was your first memory?  What were your grandparents like?  Did you have a nickname when you were young?

So I listened to my father’s the stories and wrote as fast as I could, and it was a beautiful day; we drove to both Magic Wings and Mt. Greylock, he telling me about his parents, grandparents, uncles, his brother — so many stories and memories.  I could almost see him disappear into the memories…as ballboy for his Uncle B’s softball team, full of adolescent pride to be part of the game.   His mind re-visiting the comfort of living above his grandparents, and having them nearby to visit.  He told me how his grandmother used to put an egg in her hamburger meat before cooking it, to make the burger extra-moist.  How he still remembers how delicious it was; how her apple pie beat all.  And how, when he was a very little boy, his pretty, sturdy, red-headed mother sang the Irish Lullaby to him at night.

It’s obvious he is someone who learned honor and respect at a young age.   Maybe even someone who didn’t need to learn it, because it was part of his personality already and then reinforced by necessity.  Who knows what makes us what we are?  It’s all these stories, all these memories, all these little details.   We came nowhere near finishing the book, but it was a good start.

Magic Wings:  where butterflies abound year-round

And

Dad & me up on Mt. Greylock.  Gorgeous view!

I guess I’m going backwards in the telling of things this weekend…

On Saturday it was the usual visit to see Boo.  It was so usual, it was almost an amalgam of all the visits we ever have.  He was good about half the time but definitely what Andy and I have come to call squirrely and he did, at one point, pull my hair in a double-fisted hard yank, but I know what to do — you grab the child’s wrists and push their hands into your head.  If you pull away it will hurt.  Then he mangled my spare glasses (thank God and little baby Jason I remembered to bring the spare pair).  But other than that, he was mostly just wild to swim.  Take a bath.  Go to the swim-pond.  Go to the river.  There were many kisses and smiles, and all was certainly not ruined.  So, a pictorial for you…

swimmin?

he was meditative for a while

i like this picture

It has, I should say, been an eventful weekend.  Now I’m getting a wicked headache and may go to bed even though it’s only 8:13pm.  ‘Night.

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I love Guster in the same inexplicably passionate way I love very few other things.  Laura Ingalls WilderElfquest.  My beloved books, some that I’ve read dozens of times.

I’ll never forget the winter of 2002-2003, the first time I heard Guster – in the car, rounding the bend of Buckingham Pond, on EQX: the song was Barrel of a Gun.  I forgot about wherever it was that I was headed and went straight to the closest music shop.  I didn’t know the name of the band or the song, so I sang it to the guy behind the counter.  “I have to have this,” I demanded.  He nodded in an okay, just please don’t hurt me way and, luckily, knew just what I was singing, so was able to provide my first Guster CD:  Lost and Gone Forever.  I’ve been hooked ever since and have, quite unapologetically, seen 9 or 10 shows now.

My ability to expound on Guster in an uncool fashion really warrants its very own blog, so I won’t torture you too much about it here.  Suffice it to say that I was incredibly excited to be able to see them 2 nights in a row, on Black Friday and Whatever They Call The Saturday After That, in Montclair, NJ at the Wellmont Theatre.

First, though, was Thanksgiving.  My mom, God bless her, made a whole dinner – some for M and me and some for Andy.  We drove down together to see Boo and bring him to Andy’s apartment, where we all had turkey sandwiches and black soda for lunch.  Jonah took his usual two baths while we were there…

Jonah, of the water

…and then we took Boo for his regularly requested car ride? and came back to the apartment.  My mom and I left after Jonah’s second bath and another request for car ride.  During car ride I asked Andy to put Guster’s Easy Wonderful in the CD player, and Jonah and I sang songs in the backseat, moving our clasped safe hands up and down to the rhythm, singing the oooo-oooo-oooo-oooo-oooo part of Architects and Engineers like two little grinning goofballs… Jonah bursting out in a laugh every so often.  He loves Guster too now.  Score.

I like to joke that I have a bachelor’s degree in Guster and am working on my Master’s.  I know to bring canned food and ping pong balls to their shows, and I know better than to try to win the “meet and greet the band” prize after the show.  One time when I set out to win (and did win, by bringing box after box of food) the opportunity to meet and greet the band, I brought them a gift bag full of cookies and goodies, a mix-CD, and a letter that undoubtedly said something very very geeky.  Brian-the-drummer came out first after the show, and tears came to my eyes.  I was barely able to choke out “Your music makes me so happy” before I abandoned all hope of appearing normal, shoved the gift bag at him, began to cry, and ran away.  Fail.

But the shows were both fantastic, each featuring a different song off their first album, Parachute.  They almost never play songs off Parachute live, and they said it had been something like 18 years since they’d played either song.  To those of you who may be reading and knew me in high school:  nothing’s changed.  I’m still the geeky girl.

So here are some pictures of the shows.  At one point Ryan put a disco ball on his head; all the lights hitting it made the whole place a big disco – always the whole band and crowd laughing, dancing, joyful, energized by some cool twist on every song.

Adam on the horn

Ryan singing and jamming

All the Gusters

…and Ryan with his disco ball head.

I want to bring Jonah to a show.  I hope someday I can.  If not we’ll just keep on singing Guster songs.

While I was in New Jersey I was contacted by A.H., another beautiful singer from Shaker High School.  She said that a group was getting together that night (Saturday) to reminisce about Mr. Fleischer – but I was a state away.  Shit.  I would’ve loved to see everyone (and beg two or three people to sing).  I am so touched by the comments my old peeps, and Ned’s old peeps,  have left me.

Lives intertwined.  It’s all so amazing, this world and how it works.

P.S.  Jack and Almanzo are buddies now.

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Today, Jonah brought home some Mother’s Day presents he’d made for me at school (3 different cards/posters) and a pink, stapled package.  Inside the package was a pretty orange geranium (?) in a little ceramic pot- it made me grin.  Thank you, Wildwood.  🙂

Then when I got home to my apartment, M told me a box had come for me from 1-800-flowers. I could tell it wasn’t from him because he was just as curious as I was.   A Mother’s Day gift, I thought with a smile.  Likely from my mom, or my dad – or even Andy, even though he’d already told me that Jonah’s gifts from school were all I was getting for Mother’s Day. 

 

I opened the pretty multi-colored bouquet and arranged the flowers in the vase they came in, and then I found the note:

Dear Momma,

Thank you for all that you do for me.  Thank you for train rides, moneycoin, waterfalls, trips to Grandma’s, peanutbutterrolls and too many other great things you do for me (and with me) to mention!  You are the best momma any kid could ask for and I love you soooo much! All done.

– Love, Jonah Boo


After I stopped crying my happy tears, I tried to figure out who could have sent it.  Who knows my address now?  Who has the sense of humor to put “all done” at the end of the card?  Who did this wonderful thing for me?  Andy says it wasn’t him.  M denies it, as does D, who watches him most.  And neither my mom nor my dad would write that.  My friends?  K or H?  P or Mx?  Maybe.  Martie?  Someone from 4 Winds?  from Wildwood?  Someone from work?  Someone I used to work with? A random reader? Hmmmmmm.

I kind of want to know who did this and I kind of want to believe in the mystery of it – to allow it to be from Jonah – to give it his voice, to have it be like Santa Claus is when you’re a child…or something from an elf, a faerie.  Or from one of my very best friends who’ve died – Gina, or Jennifer-Sanx.  Something impossible, yet true.  It’s all so right up my alley.

In one of my favorite children’s books, poor protagonist Sara Crewe receives gifts and has no idea where they came from.  Every day new gifts appear to help her make it through desperate, lonely days.  She doesn’t wish to force the identity of the giver if that person wishes to keep him/herself a secret, but she yearns to thank her benefactor.  So she gets the idea one day to write the person a letter and leave it for the next time s/he came.  The letter says, in part,

“I want to thank you for being so kind to me – so heavenly kind – and making everything like a fairy story.  I am so grateful to you, and I am so happy…”

Like Sara Crewe, I say thank you.  Somehow I suspect you’re reading this, whoever you are, and I want you to know you have made my day.  Thank you!!!

…and you’re welcome, Jonah.   You’re my precious little son and I’ll always love you, no matter what.

All done.

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Today Jonah had a ‘3-incident’ day but it’s still less than usual and it was at school, thank God and thank Wildwood and thank his teachers, who are equipped with safe rooms and hold techniques and lots of trained, caring folk to cope with my boy.  (I’d be such a poor special ed teacher, crying like a little girl pushed by a bully every time some kid bit me).

And I never thought I’d love a Monday so much.

Today Jonah was very good at after-school program — and hallelujah the 5-point car harness thing I’d ordered for him came in, so I picked it up at lunchtime.  It looked like kind of a complicated contraption; when I got back to the office, I handed it to co-worker/handyman/mechanically inclined S and asked him to put it together for me.  “Did you even try to do it yourself?”  he asked me.  “Well, no,” I responded sheepishly.  “Then go try first, like a big person!” he half-mocked.

So I did.  I installed that hundred-and-fifty-dollar contraption in the car my own self, and walked upstairs all proud, and S asked me “now don’t you feel empowered?”  and yeah, I had to admit, I did feel empowered.  As if some kind of Superwoman emerged from the ashes of a broken, busted-up, scared little girl.  (If you count installing a car harness to be a superpower).

And Jonah acquiesced nicely to being secured in the thing, so we proceeded to go see his beloved train.  He laughed and giggled the whole way — I kept catching my breath and holding it, forgetting to breathe, almost, thinking:  really?  he’s really happy? and it made me so glad to have my boy back – my sweet, humor-filled, loving, fun, precious little kid.

When the train came he clapped and shouted with joy:

…and then we were rewarded with another train, and when we got home Andy’s mom had dropped off a yummy casserole and m m m for Jonah, and my lovely friend K delivered me a delicious apple sage pork chop dinner with mashed potatoes and stuffing, with amazing desert and candy treats besides – even golden chocolate moneycoin (especially for Jonah).  Sometimes I can see how life works, once I decide I am determined to love it again, come hell or high water…how, as Sara Crewe said in A Little Princess, “The worst never quite comes…”

Jonah was good all night.   Another co-worker, B, had kindly given me a little moneycoin bank for Jonah, and the kid played happily on the floor with it, letting out big shrieks of joy (that maybe would have annoyed the crap out of me two months ago but today sounded perfectly awesome).  Then he ate some of his grandma’s casserole, and took a bath, let me help him brush his teeth, and went to bed, all like a very good little angel of a boy.  Whew.  Hooray!  I am grinning ear to ear, almost crying from the amazing wonder of it all.

I ask for help and am getting it.  I push through and am rewarded with days like today.  Thank you, thank you, thank you I tell God in the same mantra of the help me help me help me from the other day.  I appreciate this day.  I appreciate it even if it is only one day of respite.  I appreciate that others are also dealing with awful things and hellish days and long, empty nights.  That I am not alone.

That we are all in this together.

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