Monday, October 1, 2012

October Thoughts

Mom, on the last day of September
It's the first of October... and what will this new month bring? Certainly more visits to my mother, twice or thrice weekly, sometimes with a boy or two in tow, sometimes not. (This past Sunday, with.)

Mom & Jake on Sunday
The air took a turn for the crisp today, and I was so ready for that, as my thoughts are gliding towards the autumnal too: a little sad, the bitter mixed in with the sweet. These are the days of waning and I feel that in nearly all things right now.

None more so than when visiting Mom.

She is so diminished, I don't even know what to do with my feelings when I see her. I just try to care for her as best I can. I hold her hand and look into her eyes. We talk a little but not so much, the deafness being a barrier as well as the cognitive dimming.

I take her out into the courtyard every time I come so she can get fresh air and see the trees and flowers, birds and squirrels - what passes for nature in a paved suburban enclave. I massage her shoulders - feeling the muscle melting away, more bone and less flesh each time - and try to make sure she is being properly taken cared of.

But "Mom"? Pretty much not there any more. Just a sweet old lady with a few of her memories (and fewer by the day).

Ethan is a soccer player now

And yet there is also this: Ethan woke up earlier than usual this morning, at the same time as Jake. Unable to fall back asleep, he joined us in the living room, and instead of his usual cranky not-ready-to-be-awake self, was incredibly helpful with getting Jake ready for school.

Ethan remarked upon the still dark at that wee hour, pondered the breaking dawn. He also kept track of the time and kept himself rather on schedule to get ready for school, too. And that was just the beginning...

I had a trying day today. Literally. An Impartial Hearing is in progress with the city's DOE over Jake's schooling, and today was an in-session day. I obviously can't talk about any of the details of it, as it is... in progress, other than to say: it's about as much fun as you imagine it to be.

The hearings are in downtown Brooklyn, and we are keeping our babysitting down to a minimum these days, which meant that Dan was in charge of the boys this afternoon until I could wend my way back to the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

I came home to find quite a scene: Ethan was in the middle of patiently helping Jacob with his homework (had gotten half his own homework done already, too).

You could have knocked me down with a feather. If you are at all aware of the normally fractious relationship between my boys (just this weekend, for example) you will be stunned at the miracle this event represents.

And then? And then? And then...

Ethan made dinner for himself and Jacob. Nothing elaborate, rather basic - organic hot dogs grilled in the toaster oven, cut up fruit, baby carrots, bread / rice crackers. But still, he took the initiative,  volunteered, followed through. Incredibly proud of himself afterwards (and rightly so).

So maybe another thing this month that's autumnal and waning is a good thing: Ethan's nine year-old obnoxiousity giving way to some incoming ten year-old maturity. A mightily welcome October surprise indeed.

And I'll leave you with a little more bit of October:

A live performance from The October Project - an old friend of mine's band from the 90s. They're lovely if you've never heard them. Haunting alternative rock. Had a few albums out. Enjoy....


  1. I have a theory - just a theory, I may be totally off track and you are welcome to say so. The boys are twins so they are 'supposed' to be the same. The fact that Jake is different has been very frustrating to Ethan at times. Maybe he has found a better role for their relationship than twin brother. Maybe he is trying out the role of older brother? Maybe this is an easier role to play in the circumstances.

  2. You have given me hope that my boy will one day start to be a good kid to his sister :)

  3. Your post pierces me today with the difficulty and the beauty of life. Have you ever watched Grand Canyon? Where Mary McDonell says "Everything is so close together--all the good and bad parts of life." That's how this strikes me today.


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