Book Bag - no. 20

So we are back in Cambridge and I feel like I'm dreaming.  With summer, and bikes and the library; words cannot express the change I feel about this next chapter. Yesterday I met an old friend at the library. We talked and swapped our latest family favorites while the kids got lost in the shelves.  It felt indulgent.  For a couple of hours, I think I experienced what I have heard called the "sweet spot" of parenting.  As annoying as that sounds, it is a little bit true. Translation:  I didn't know the precise location of my kids for a time, and I finished my ice coffee on my own terms.  

Today the parenting story is a bit different. The highs and lows are present every day, but really how low can they go? It seems as though summer tempers and moving box chaos have tested that limit.  I want to determine myself to set the highs as a back drop for our dips.  I am not great at this.  When I am in the midst of a struggle, I reach despair rather quickly, helping no one.  For example, when today it was hard to find a trace of empathy in my son towards his younger family members, it doesn't mean that yesterday's kindness no longer counts. It is like everyday I am trying to set the world record for consecutive days of sibling harmony, and failing.  Is this the long winded and awkward way of saying, life is not a zero sum game? Probably. 

Tomorrow morning we are headed to Concord for an outing with a picnic.  We hope to rent a canoe, and paddle away our worries.  The treat of being able to do this in twenty minutes was basically why I moved. Sort of. I love this town. It really is a thrill to drive by Louisa May Alcott's old, brown house.  I think this year the kids are ready for the actual tour. Especially after rereading, Alvin Ho.  It is his hometown too, you know.
Remember, The Great Brain? Myles finished it yesterday and said it might be his new favorite book. I love new favorites.  



At the risk of sounding whiny, I am just going to going to tell you how I am feeling. It can be a tough gig being a woman. My friend just reminded me that women were not officially allowed to run in the Boston Marathon until 1972. That date shocked me.  And I am feeling that reality right now, being the lady in the house who runs the circus around here. It can be a very thankless job which requires deep self resolve to find significance from aspects of home life the world undervalues.  I try to remind myself that the details matter.  But sometimes the opposition to what you hold dear, can deal you set backs.
     This weekend our family was stretched to its limits. It was wonderful in many ways but trying in others. At the end of a very long day on Sunday, we stopped into a favorite book store and found a couple delights for some emotional mending. Myles has found a new favorite in these highly acclaimed titles, and Fiona found an easy reader for the ride home (not pictured).

And, I have my sights set on our next road trip.  Come August, we plan to camp in the white mountains of NH, and then continue north to Quebec City.  At the top of my list right now, is visiting Musee Des Ursulines, the first all girls' school established on the continent.


Book Bag - no. 19

The deal I made with myself was that as soon as I finish these last set of shorts, I will get the wool out of the top drawers, and the snow pants finally hidden away.  I had made Fiona one pair a few weeks ago and they were so adorable, I decided the whole (extended) family needed a pair.  On Sunday evenings Myles and Fiona head to a local track for a running club, and watching Fiona bounce around in her homemade cotton shorts makes me bubble over.

     We have a couple of things in motion around here that has made life a wee full.  We decided to sell our house and move back to the city. Eric finally finished up his requirements for ordination in the Episcopal Church and was offered a part-time job at a parish in Cambridge. We have been three years here now in Scituate, which is south of Boston, and it has indeed been wonderful to have the beautiful seaside at our fingertips for this time.  But it has been hard for me here in many ways too.  So when the job came up, and an apartment near my sister was available, we decided to go for it.
     So in between the business of finishing up the school year, and getting the house tidy for the millionth time, these are the highlights from the library this week.




On Friday, Myles downloaded, Hatchet from our library's online catalog and listened to it in a day.  So that was that.  This reading process takes me by surprise when he consumes semi-classics at the speed of sound.  Could this be an expression of the information age?  I had forgotten how heavy the book is, as Brian, the hero sorts out the divorce of his parents. Oh well.

This was a long week and I am taking great solace that we are in the midst of a long weekend. (Patriots Day) Last week I concluded that I am not very good at teaching math. I keep waiting for Myles just to take off with his arithmetic prowess, but its like the pipes have frozen inside his brain. And so I have grown a deep understanding of the person who says, "I could never do that!" when it comes to homeschooling.  I think this citizen is much more in touch with his/her inner self that I was. Or way more patient.  I may now be able to say, "I thought I could do it. I knew it would be hard. But it was actually ten times harder that I thought, and I'm not sure I can do it anymore."  Myles' personality is that if there isn't a thousand pound boulder hurdling down a mountainside headed directly at him, he does not see a need to get out of the way. Or in terms of mathematics; If there isn't someone standing over him with a hatchet threatening bodily harm,  he sees no reason to learn how to find the area of rectangle.  Clearly I am doing something wrong, for this causes me to break out into hives and I have to excuse myself to scrub the toilets with ferocity.  So that's the silver lining apparently. Sparkling Bowls.

These are our fields of expertise.

And this is our current family read aloud. If you could only hear the howls when I pick up this book. "Its about some dumb ole' chickens."  But when we learned that that dumb ole chicken was the only of her brood to survive an attack of a couple of wild dogs, silence prevailed.  Here's to perseverance.