Don’t Let It Get You Down
I was going to write a post about the helmet. We're now dropping Charlie off to school in the morning and picking him up; if he rode the schoolbus, the school district insists that he wear the helmet. The helmet now resides strictly at the public middle school in our town. In the morning, Charlie's teacher and an aide walk down the hall with it and meet Charlie at the four metal doors. In the afternoon, Charlie is usually sitting in the office (leaning over, head down) and his teacher or aide remove it. The whole thing makes me feel [UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE YEAR] incredibly aggravated. Because when you get down to it, the helmet is being strapped on my kid's head not because some psychology professor/behaviorist/ABA consultant says so but, ultimately (not that anyone would ever say it) because the district's lawyers say so. So much for education in this school district.
But enough of bile, black or yellow.
Yes, it's what I'm supposed to feel, moral outrage, maternal anger, a full dose of spleen at the heinousness of it all. When I feel such strong emotions, Charlie always, always picks up on them. And that's not the sort of peaceful easy-feeling parenthoodness, of acceptance and hopefulness, that I'd like to teach Charlie.
Charlie's been clamoring to hear a CD of Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five in the car (he indeed seems to have relinquished his iPod, stocked with Coldplay, U2, Jimi Hendrix, the Ramones). It's been boogie-woogie to that 8-beat rhythm in the black car and I'd snap my fingers if I could (I can't snap my fingers) (really, I can't! I keep trying). Louis Jordan is highly danceable stuff and (as Charlie wants to hear the CD on the way to school), I've found myself doing a little two-step and sway as I walk with him to the door. I nod hi to the Assistant Vice-Principal and the policeman and wave my boy good-bye.
If this all sounds ludicrous and, I don't know, goofy—what is with this woman, she's the one with the huge kid with the plastic helmet with the face mask and straps—I suppose one could see it that way and could see our life with Charlie as having become some sorry mess. But really, and I can't say it enough, the messy part of life with Charlie has been pretty much confined to these days to the beige and brown one-story structure that is the public middle school in our town.
The rest of the time:
I have been pausing to feel sad about Ngin Ngin passing for sure, grinning at so many good memories and finding myself lucky to be able to call her my grandmother.
We have been celebrating Jim's book On the Irish Waterfront: The Crusader, the Movie, and the Soul of the Port of New York. Last night he spoke at a local library. (And tonight he's speaking at Words bookstore in Maplewood.) Charlie and I dropped him and some twenty books off. We sat in the car in the parking lot for awhile (yeah, what a glamorous life we lead) and then Charlie said "yes" to going in. I found a door to the room (actually in the community center) where we could hear Jim (Charlie was all grins) only it wasn't the main door, but one that opened directly to the front of the room, so that Charlie and I walked in right behind Jim speaking about containerization. We were introduced and then Charlie wanted to go out, so we walked around the community center, watched a boy Charlie's age playing what was maybe an Xbox (I wouldn't know) and then wound up back in the room where Jim was now signing books.
I chatted with some friends and was happy to be introduced as the so-to-speak missus. A man heading out the door told me his son was "like Charlie" and talked about how the town's schools had provided him with what he needed. A woman said she was an occupational therapist for children in Early Intervention; she commented on how well Charlie was handling all the voices, noise, new people.
Yes, things are all right and we drove home ebullient, and listening to guess who.
I'll be dancing. I will.