Teacher Professor

October 14, 2010

Spending Gathered Strength

Filed under: Home Things — Teacher Professor @ 9:18 pm

A few weeks ago, I drafted a blog that read, in part, this…

This past weekend was one of total and complete quiet- for all of us.  For some reason, we all slept- a lot- and did very little.  After the soccer games on Saturday, I slept for 3 hours, and then dozed while we watched a movie.  Sunday, more of the same as Elizabeth and I watched 3 movies in a row, I graded, and Ray played on the computer and with his airplanes.  We all read.  And we all slept for 9-10 hours each night.  We didn’t go anywhere, do anything.  No fighting, no squabbles, and actually, very little interaction between all of us.  It was a dozy, sleepy, do-nothing weekend, like nothing I’ve had in a very long time.

And although it’s Thursday, the week has continued- dozy, quiet… not a lot happening.  It feels like we’re gathering strength- For what, I’m not sure…

It never got posted, basically because I didn’t want to imagine what could be happening when we would need all of that strength…


But I now know what we were gathering strength for… and it was an awful lot of fun!

Don’t let em push you to the limit cause they like it a lot
And if they not witcha then tell them to just
Keep it moving (Keep It Moving)– Mary J. Blige

In our house, there are two ways we deal with meltdowns and issues- we either shut down and shut out the world, or we keep ’em busy and moving and so stimulated that there is no time for meltdowns.  There is very little in-between.  My grandmother says that we have two speeds as a family- Off and ON!  This past weekend was definitely an ON! weekend.

My mother-in-law lives in Boston in a nursing home.   James and an alternating child go and see her about once a month- two months if times are particularly busy or financially bad.  We’re too unstable in our jobs to move her here and honestly, it’s the best nursing home I’ve ever seen.  But… it’s been three months since she’s had company.  It was time- past time.  So we decided that all of us would go up to Boston over my fall break, and since we were already there- have a really good touristy time. We invited Emily to come with us, since she’s never seen Boston and Vicki, who also has family in Boston.  We were quite the caravan.

And so, over the course of 2.5 days, we (and they):

Visited with Yiayia every day

  • Walked the Freedom Train- with the Old South Meeting House, the Old North Church, Paul Revere’s house, Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, the Old State House and some other brick buildings I lost track of
  • Ate cannoli in Little Italy, “chowda” at the Salty Dog at Quincy Market, and a “lobstah roll” at the Weathervane in Plymouth
  • Leaned against the railing surrounding Plymouth Rock

Boarded the Mayflower

  • Played with gravity and dinosaurs and light effects at the Museum of Science
  • Admired Monet’s brushstrokes and Richard Avedon’s fashion photographs at the Museum of Fine Arts
  • Ran the hallways and gawked at the city lights on the 50th Floor of the Prudential Building
  • Got to say “Pahk the cah in Hahvahd Yahd” while standing IN Harvard Yard
  • Watched a Jamaican band, a Bronx hip-hop dance troupe and a “living statue” performance artist on sidewalks all over the city
  • Played in the park near Yiayia’s nursing home that they have played on since they were babies- and got to say “Oh, look how little it is… I remember when…”
  • Bought soap that smells like cranberries, a “tea shirt”, and a model of the State House for Ray’s fish tank
  • Rode the Green Line, the Red Line, a T bus, AND the Orange Line of the Boston T- and compared the car design of each of the lines

Sat on the statues of the Make Way for Ducklings ducklings

  • Ate doughnuts at four DIFFERENT Dunkin’ Donuts near our hotel
  • Did cartwheels in the perfect grass of the Boston Commons (well, they did- I didn’t)
  • Took pictures and discussed the possibilities of attending of MIT, Harvard, Northeastern, Berklee, Boston University, Boston College, Emerson, and UMass
  • Rated the bathrooms of four different planes
  • Played with the two-year old nephew of Vicki AND helped change his diaper
  • Walked for miles through Kenmore Square, Cambridge, downtown, the Charles River, Little Italy, Mass Ave., Comm Ave., and Plymouth

Signed copies of my book at the book store of James’ alma mater of BU

  • Fed swans and ducks at the Boston Public Gardens
  • Bought copies of the Mayflower Compact, the Declaration of Independence, AND the Constitution for all of the teachers
  • Experienced perfect New England Fall weather with changing leaves, warm but crisp air, no humidity, and the last of the fall roses
  • and even bought Yiayia a pair of slippers at Kmart.

Yes, there were squabbles and fights.  Yes, there were tantrums and meltdowns.  And yes, that included grownups and children alike.  But with such a packed schedule and so many things to look at and do and experience, they never lasted long.  Distraction and refocusing was easy.  Laughter and interest were never far away.  We never had a prolonged challenge because we kept the focus on moving forward- what came next- what there was to do.  We had a schedule, but it was open to change and impulse and if the change was too much, we refocused on the next thing.  And there were so many of us that any volatile combination could be changed up, amended and shuffled.

We fell into bed every night exhausted- physically and sensorily- and slept in to awake, refreshed and ready for the next day’s adventure.  I’m not sure about tourism as a treatment for autism or Tourette’s, but it worked for us!

This weekend?  Nothing.  We’re doing nothing.   Gotta rebuild our strength for… whatever comes next.


  1. Sounds wonderful! I wish Peter and I could have been with you. (Peter hates vacation schedules like yours). So, I wish I COULD HAVE BEEN WITH YOU! I hate to admit it, but I’ve never been to Boston, or even New York City, for that matter. They have been on my want list for a long time, but too far down the list. Oh well. I long to tour around Boston and see John Adams home’ and where he rode his horse for “therapy”. (I can relate). When I was in high school in Fairfax, VA, I could get a station on my radio out of Worcester, MA, and listened to it’s pop music many nights when I was doing my homework. It was a high-watt station, and I loved it. Well, I’d better get back to packing for our move to Arkansas.

    Comment by Claire Goldrick Hughes — October 16, 2010 @ 6:46 pm | Reply

    • Boston is everything they say… It’s pretty wonderful to visit. My first trip was when James and I were dating and he showed me Boston in January… needless to say, I have no intention of ever LIVING in Boston! Next time we do this type of kamikaze tourist thing, we’ll let you know!

      Comment by profmother — October 16, 2010 @ 8:00 pm | Reply

  2. This is going to be a very off-the-wall comment, but the thought that is uppermost as I read this post is: “I’ve never been to Boston in the fall!” (Veggie Tales, from The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything, YouTube here.)

    Comment by JoyMama — October 16, 2010 @ 7:06 pm | Reply

    • I laughed until I cried… thanks for sharing! I now have that tune in my head… 🙂

      Comment by profmother — October 16, 2010 @ 7:59 pm | Reply

  3. […] and Ray are in Boston for the weekend, visiting Yiayia- like we did last month- only without all of us, without Emily, without the whole touristy thing.  But the most important […]

    Pingback by 24 hours « Professor Mother Blog — November 20, 2010 @ 6:19 pm | Reply

  4. […] for all 3-5th graders and is headed for the state competition.  He entered a picture of our family visiting Yiayia that said something like “… remember the past and touch the future.”  The great […]

    Pingback by A Cascade of Accolades « Professor Mother Blog — February 8, 2011 @ 6:52 am | Reply

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