photo credit Fox Boston

photo credit Fox Boston

Before I graduated from high school, I knew I wanted to live here.

When I graduated from college, I moved to Cambridge with my cousin.

I can drive the confusing and convoluted streets of this city better than any New York City or Washington D.C. grid.

I have walked The Freedom Trail with my son. Stood on the streets where history was made.

I have lunched in the outdoor cafes on Newbury Street.

Watched my favorite bands play on Landsdowne Street.

Jaywalked across Mass Ave.

The Red Sox are my team.

This city is my adopted home.

No one – NO ONE – will take that away.


Well I love that dirty water
Oh, Boston you’re my home (oh yeah)

‘Cause I love that dirty water
Oh, Boston you’re my home (oh, yeah)” – Dirty Water by The Standells


I have a million and one things jumbling around in my head.

I want to write about them all.  But I can’t seem to get them out.  They are stilted fragments of mixed up blog posts stuck in all different parts of my brain.

So I needed something good.  Something short.  Something that made me smile.

Yesterday in Howie’s backpack, this came home:

“I used my fingers”

There are so many things I love about this.  Here’s a few:

1) He answered the question.

2) He answered it very literally.  Because that’s him.  How did you count them?  I used my fingers.  Of course.

3) His teacher did NOT mark it wrong.  Because it’s not wrong.  Was it the answer she expected?  Nope.  Is it right?  Yup.  This is what good teaching is.  His teacher GETS him.  She could have said that wasn’t correct.  Instead, she prompted him with another question about it to help him get to the next level.  It takes me back to my friend Stimey’s post Not Even Wrong.  Good – GREAT – teachers respect how our kids think, give them credit for that, and then work with them to see it from another perspective.

4) I love how he spelled out “yoosd”.  Phonetically it’s perfect.  And another example to me of how tough our language is to learn – especially for literal, rule minded, pattern loving thinkers.  Of which I have three in my house.

5) Howie’s handwriting.  It’s better than my husband’s.  This kid struggled with holding a pencil from the start.  You’ve come a long way, baby.

6) My kid is doing math.  And he’s writing.  And he’s getting the concepts and generalizing them.

Ask me if I thought this would be possible for first grade…on second thought…don’t.

There are so many ups and downs on this parenting rollercoaster.  So many times my heart breaks a little for my kid when I watch how hard he struggles just to be comfortable in his own skin.  So many many sleepless nights for us all.

And then there’s this.  The progress that happens in an environment tailored to celebrate the successes of my child and challenge him to think in different ways.  The willingness to think outside of the box for my kid to help him think outside of the box.

That’s worth celebrating in a blog post today.

“I built a bridge across the stream my consciousness
It always seems to be a flowin’
But I don’t know which way my brain is goin’
Oh the rhymin’ and the timin’
Keeps the melodies inside me
And they’re comin’
Till I’m running out of air
Are you prepared to take a dive into the deep end of my head
Are you listening to a single word I’ve said

Ha La La La La
Listen closer to the words I say
Ha La La La La
I’m stickin’ to the wordplay” – Wordplay by Jason Mraz

I went out to greet the mini-bus this afternoon.  Howie was returning home from his second day of his Extended School Year program.

I stepped up into the bus.  Mrs. S, the bus monitor, looked at me.

“I have to tell you…”

Gulp.  Waiting for shoe to drop.

“Howie has been doing an amazing job on the bus these past two days.  It’s awesome.”

Howie’s whole body puffed up with pride.  Mrs. S said it looked like he grew an inch in that very moment.

“Inside and out,” I said.

He came bouncing off the bus with a huge smile.

“Did that make you feel good when Mrs. S said that?” I asked.

“Yes.  It did.”

And then the smile got bigger.

When you’re smiling…

“Now take some silly ones of me!”

Who could say no?

“I’m going to move fast to make it blurry!”

“Now I’m a tiger!”

And we went happily into the house.

I’m not going to focus on the fact that his log sheet said he had a hard time at the program today and had to be removed.  And I’m not even going to think about the three times he hit his home therapist today because she asked him to clean up. In this moment…it’s just about that smile and the pride it represents.

And right now, that’s enough for me.

When you’re smiling
When you’re smiling
The whole world smiles with you

When you’re laughing
When you’re laughing
The sun comes shining through” – When You’re Smiling by Louis Armstrong