Friday, September 03, 2021

Lingering and Accelerating

When she was a baby, I would write down milestones about smiles, and sitting up, first shoes, or first steps. It's a pleasure to come across an old post, about any of the young folk, when I mentioned what they were talking about, interested in, how tall they'd gotten, what size shoes they were suddenly wearing. It's not something that ends when they are two, or four. They keep growing, well past 12, 17, 23, and it's such an honor, such a treasure to witness their becoming, evolving, what they love, how they engage, so I feel thankful about those notes I jot down. In a future time I will have a picture, made of words, reflections of who they were, at a moment in time, and it tends to recall even more moments, and happy times. Just now, I notice that she lingers. We pull up to the curb, in the long drop-off line, and she could hurry out at the street, or at any point along the driveway, but she lingers. We are usually deep in conversation about art, physics, literature, cake, or we are simply exchanging our terms of endearment, and I detect the mild irritation with time, the incessant ticking of school clocks, alarms, schedules. She lingers. Our eyes meet, and there is one more squeeze of hands, or assurances, "See you soon. I love you. Have fun learning!" It's seconds, only, but the mindfulness, the connection is eternal, penetrating. One of these days, I will reach for her hand, and tug her back into the van. We will drive away, and have a picnic, with books, paper and paints, and we will talk about the horizon, acceleration, what makes a good chai, and all the things that make us smile.
One dining table, two cats, two pumpkins (last year's), a T-shirt, a big sheet of paper for taking notes and making plans, a grocery bag, two coats, three rocks, two acorns, some books on D & D, probably a few pencils, maybe a coffee mug. Yesterday I devoted time to matching clean socks, folding underwear, hanging shirts, and ordering a dinner to pick-up. I also rode 14 miles on my bicycle, with Geoff. We have increased our rides from 10 miles, to at least 12. Last week we rode 26.5 miles, 21 miles, 16 miles. Still neighborhood loops. Still up and down our street. I haven't calculated, lately, how far I've gotten on my ride to Boston. But, I know it's over 3,500 miles, so I could probably take a scenic route. It's a very big adventure, in my head. I enjoy a lot of big adventures, and ideals in my head, like being tidy, and fit, writing novels, painting daydreams, visiting the Red Woods with all of my loved ones, organizing a holiday closet, with a cupboard just for table cloths, giving away bicycles, and building things, ideas, dreams.
In my head I am a much more capable, accomplished person. I have yet to be the equal, in real life, of my aspirational self. I let a pocketful of Smarties go through the wash, the dryer. I can't remember names, or the very important things on the list I made of very important things. I can't find the list.
Ah! One more for the memory book... last night she confirmed with Max about a physics debate she had with a classmate, in which she argued that a ball falling in an arc from a table would drop at the same rate as a ball that fell straight down, and the boy insisted otherwise, that 'the ball dropping straight down would land first,' and Max was happy to affirm that Maria was correct. Physics is her favorite science subject, and I will just write that down, as though it were in her baby book of milestones and memories.

Max has loved both physics and math, as well as poetry, welding, forging, mentoring, teaching, Magic the Gathering, cooking, and music. I have something special to share. Max's internship is almost over. He has been programming for a gaming company all summer. It's been from home, with online activities for socialization, but mostly a lot of challenging experiences, learning new languages, and about corporate culture. This has been special enough, but the latest news is that he was offered the chance to stay, as a contract employee. He's accepted the offer. He's happy, and he's coping as he grows... graphics programmer was never his plan, or dream. He's always been diligent and focused on the task at hand: school, the next class, the next assignement, but without much certainty about what might come next, what could be possible. I shouldn't give the impression that he didn't think about these things, it's only that he wasn't committed to a particular career path. Now he is immersed in a field that is challenging, interesting, and gives him an opportunity to put into practice the skills and instincts he has to reason, to create, to solve problems, and share ideas, concepts, solutions. For my part, I love that he landed some place where he can put his skills to use, apply them and enjoy cutting edge opportunities to learn more, and all of this in an environment where he is appreciated by smart people who are considerate, creative, supportive, and encouraging.

It's his journey now, I know, and I am at risk of over-stepping... I don't assume I know everything he thinks or feels about this, but as a Mom, as someone who has been in his corner, advocating, hopeful, I feel joy, I feel relief, and gratification for this outcome. At some point our children, and all of the good and hard things we navigate with them, become seperate from us. For some families this is easier, or more defined... like when their children turn 18, or go off to college. When there is neurodiveristy involved, Autism, the lines blurr, the timeline will not be typical. We have always had to make our own way, and Max has honored me with an open, respectful, appreciative relationship. I don't intend to overshare what is his story, his personal details, but I will mark this time as meaningful to me, because we have come to a very good, and hard won place, overcoming societal obstacles, roadblocks, and challenges. Autism, in the end, was never as difficult to live with, as what the world expected, or refused to accomodate. It's no small accomplishment that Max is where he is, and after everything, this moment is sweeter than many could imagine.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

One More August Post

One more post for August 2021, and then we begin September. And tell me, please, I am not the only one who is a bit astonished about this. You know, I have a label on this blog for about any subject imaginable, but the missing label is for all the posts and mentions of me being astonished, shocked, surprised, kerfuffled about the passage of time. I am predictable, and easily flummoxed over simple, forseeable things.
But! Could you have foreseen this? This picture of a goat, with a long mop of hipster hair? I don't think so. I came across this dude, who looks about to grab his long board and survey the surf, at a nursery. What a character. If this goat came around to ask Grace Hopper on a date, I would have to send them out with a chaperone. Bruh.
Back at home, our own goats are at last really settled into being a herd. There are changes since we introduced baby Grace to Ada and Tasha. For one thing, Ada is no longer the talker, the one shouting PSAs from the run. Grace Hopper is the talker, and she still has a plaintive, high baby voice. Her cries are a direct tug on anyone's heart. I guess Ada doesn't need to say much any more, since Grace is so capable of bleating away! Tasha is the top goat, but Grace is the tall goat... her long legs suggest she may have some growth in her yet. The best of all is bringing them out of the run and into the whole yard. Grace has raised the energy, and Ada and Tasha have become more playful again. It's a hilarious, spirited scene when the three ladies come bounding out, springing and ambling about. And of course, as long as I have a bag of Trader Joe's Veggie Flaxseed Chips on hand, I can herd them back home in a snap! I am a goatherd, but instead of a crook, I rely on the crinkle of a chip bag to lead them around.
It's just Feynman, being a cat. I was sitting here, staring at the screen, trying to think of an excuse, some compelling anecdote or reason for posting these two pictures. It's nothing. I mean... he's so cute, and sweet, and handsome. Why wouldn't I share his pictures? Should I mention the humid days? How languid and assuming the cats have been? Does anyone need to hear, once more, about cats on the dining table, cats begging treats? I think not. The cats are being their perfect selves, and pay no heed to the weather, or whether we want them sleeping on our feet. So, really, I have no point to make, whatsoever.
A conspiracy of cats, on a humid August afternoon.
That same humid afternoon, we were treated to an absolutely riveting and thunderous storm! It genuinely rained. A long, sustained rain, with lightning, thunder, petrichor. Cats, and humans, all were up on the covered balcony, watching the sky and enjoying the show. The cats under the bed, because thunder and lightning are too rare, and they didn't know what to make of it. We loved it. And when the wildest bits of it blew through, Geoff and I went for a walk. The wind kept up, and we got rained on a little bit. It was wonderful, and it smelled not only like dry earth waking up to water, but like a tropical garden, plumeria, dampness, like the world when it's washed, enlivened.
Monday, again. Two weeks in. It's starting to feel routine... the whole back to school thing. Maria makes it easy. I have no complaints. But... online, at home learning? It was nice, for us. We do miss her, when she's away. I've been kidding about starting a new blog, so we can chronicle her Outfit of The Day. This morning, William and I dropped her off. It's almost always at least two of us dropping her off, or going to pick her up... eager to be with her, eager to share some news, or start something anticipated.
The backcountry outing Geoff and I enjoyed last week piqued William's interest, and we decided to head back to Julian, including the hardware store in Santa Ysabel, Manzanita Supply. William is not about to pass up on visiting an antique shop and hardware store... the combination is too ideal! And the execution is definitely worth the stop. Ryan and Krystin are keeping the historic site stocked like a genuine general store, from candy jars, to bolts of fabric, with paint and brushes, deer fencing, shovels, and canning supplies. I enjoyed the displays of locally made things like candles, soaps, decorative bowls, and those darling mini quilts made of yoyos! I picked up some postcards, a candle meant to evoke a day in Cuyamaca, and another handful of Smarties! These treats will not stay in my dress pocket, this time.
Late summer, still warm, but comfortable, and beautiful. Apple Season is coming, and that's when this highway, and the towns fill up with visitors. I am looking forward to enjoying some freshly pressed cider, especially when we can return with all of us. William and I hiked around, enjoying the oak trees, and slopes, and even a brisk walk through town. This time we did get a pie, a Mom's Pie, and brough it home for all. There are a lot of pie bakers in Julian, and I don't want to start any feuds, but Mom's Apple Boysenberry Crumb? It's a favorite!