Thursday, July 16, 2015

"The key left with the time traveling boy."

It's a good summer. We are stopping. We are going. We are playing, like children. We are sleeping late. We are rising with giggles. We are taking new routes, and traveling familiar paths.

Maria wrote a sentence generating program in Scratch. William calls it "Immediate gratification Mad-Libs," which I think is an apt description. We've generated dozens and dozens of random and silly sentences. I cannot forget "The key to the front door left with the time traveling boy." It's the start of something...

Another consequence of our Downtown journeys... a luxurious and scrumptious stop at an old favorite, Karen Krasne's Extraordinary Desserts. Maria and I spent almost as much time admiring each of the edible art pieces as we did sharing this flourless chocolate masterpiece, and Alex arrived just in time to help us, too.

Almost seventeen. I think this surprises me more than anything about our children growing up. My cousin Vicky wisely noted that, "because of the three boys, he is your baby." She's right. He's always been the little brother, keeping up with the big boys, but the truth is he's no longer just keeping up, he's making his own way, sometimes leading the way. His interests, his skills, his plans... they are shaping into good things, his own things. There's nothing to do for it but to watch admiringly, appreciatively, supportively, and make room for his growth.

Yeah, we've got this summer wired.

{Pun. Can't be helped!}

Alex's sculpting class has us captivated, with what he's making, with the materials he's dabbling in, with what's next. We are in love with this wire woman, 6'4" tall, an elegant form. Now he's moved on to clay and plaster, building a totem. I have a special appreciation and gratitude for his teacher who implores her students to look into found sources, and hardware shop materials for their art supplies. {Have you priced college textbooks, lately?? Good grief. Resourcefulness, and economizing, are good lessons.} Alex likes clay... that's what he learned yesterday, and I couldn't agree more. Clay is good stuff, and when I told him how I loved ceramics when I was in middle school, he observantly reminded me that I could love it, again. Take a class. Smart fellow, that Alex.

Be a lifetime learner, has been an expression I have repeated to my children all their lives, especially when we were homeschooling. "When I don't know the answer, we'll figure it out together," I would assure them. And this was well before the Internet was the gem it is today. They have taken me at my word, and soared. It troubles me that in this country we continue to make education a financial hardship, an untenable burden. Why make knowledge and skills such privileged information that students have to sink themselves into massive debt, or say pass when choosing higher education. Don't we want, eagerly, selflessly, to have the brightest and best, to support and nurture intelligence, critical thinking, and practical skills, for the greater part of our population? {Not to lecture anyone... I simply cannot help expressing some of my frustration and confusion.}

Where was I?

Sewing! William is back at it, and he is soaring with this dress shirt pattern. Not to say it's been easy, that he hasn't brought out the seam ripper. But, together we are figuring out all the pieces, and the shirt is looking quite sharp, even for a muslin. I share this as much to acknowledge his accomplishment, as to recognize how much he inspires me. I'd still be stringing fabric squares together, taking the easy way, if left to my own devices, especially if I were the beginning tailor. Not William, though... he keeps jumping into the challenging stuff. Sewing plackets, fitting collars, customizing fit and sizes. There are moments when my head reels, and I think "quit!" Not William, though, and as a result he is getting better, and better, and inspiring me to do the same.


Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

"The gateway of truth talked to her blue jar of jam."
This stuff is great. I should let Maria's Random Sentence Generator write my blog posts from now on!

Jennifer said...

Love everything, just everything, about this. A summer of joy and a summer of learning (and they go so hand in hand). I am taking a pottery class this summer -- my first foray into that kind of clay. It is difficult and it is challenging me in ways that I don't always like to be challenged, and it is incredible. Take the leap, reap the benefits!

Natalie, the Chickenblogger said...

I had to go outside and feed the crew, clean out water dishes... meditation in chores, to clear my head after losing a perfectly lovely message I wrote for you.
Second attempt: I miss you. I want to see your vacation pictures, enroll in your ceramics class, make a craft mess together. And even when there are lulls between our visits, we, of course, are somehow closely in synch. I am >< this close to searching for a ceramics class to take in the fall. And speaking of fall... I am still fixed on being in New England the fall break of Maria's sixth grade year... and suddenly that's really not so far away!