My nephew Jack is what I call a deep thinker.  He’s 7 and ever since he started talking he’s been astounding me with his sensitivity and profundity.

 

When he first learned to talk, he would come up to me or any other family member and draw you away from the crowd into another room where you could have a heart to heart talk.  He was mostly speaking nonsense words, but he would draw up next to you in a chair and it was like he was telling you his deepest secrets.

 

Then when he learned to REALLY talk he would go on and on forever about what it was like in my sister’s womb before he was born and at first it was kind of cute and charming.  Then it kinda got creepy.  He sounded so all knowing and he would go on forever that it was like he wasn’t making it up.  And finally my sister would have to demand that he stop talking about it!

 

When he lost his first tooth he called to tell me and after giving me the basic details he went on to ask me (unprompted) about my recent move into a new apartment and what it looked like, how I was doing, etc.  I mean, we as adults have a hard time getting over ourselves long enough to ask how our friends are doing when we have big news. How did this 5 year old get it?

 

One of my favorite conversations with him took place about 6 months before Rahul came home with me.  Jack was 5 and he and I went for a walk.  And after a while he invited me to sit down for some deep conversation.  He wanted to talk about my adopting Rahul and after a few minutes he said,” I want to badopt a child someday.  Because sometimes parents can’t take care of their children anymore and then I could take care of them instead.”  And he went on and on about the service work he wanted to do for people in need and I sat there floored.  In all the conversations I have ever had about adoption no one has ever so succinctly summed up my own motivation for adopting.

 

So this weekend when he came to my son’s birthday party (YAY Rahul turned 10!!!) we played this game where I made up little clues about each guest and they had to guess who it was.  Jack’s was one of the first to be read, and most of the kids didn’t know him.  But when the first line of the clue read, “I am a deep thinker…” I could see from Jack’s face that he knew the clue described him. Later in the evening he and I were chatting and he had me read him his clue again. And then he told me that he’s pretty sure that he gets his deep thinking from me.  Now, his parents clearly have passed this gene to him–they are highly intelligent and very sensitive people.  But I’m glad he sees that we have kindred spirits!

 

And all day I have been striving to think the deepest thoughts possible.

 

Jack and moi

 

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I don’t know when it started, but many years back I started accumulated a series of “holiday” movies that I loved watching each year.  They were so special to me that I only wanted to watch them once a year, so I could savor them and anticipate them.  And I have to see them in a certain order. (Oh My God, I just realized that that’s a little OCD.  Uh-oh.)

 

The first one I watch each year is When Harry Met Sally.  I watch it whenever I feel like its really Autumn.  And my film series culminates in my absolute favorite movie of all time, Its a Wonderful Life (please see the title of my blog for proof), which I watch right before Christmas.

 

So yesterday I watched When Harry Met Sally and remembered all over again how much I love that movie.  And here’s why:

 

10.  “Oh, I’ve been looking for a red, suede pump!” The perfect excuse to pull over a girlfriend and vent/gossip/discuss while you look like you are perusing the shoe display.

9.  “No one I know would call at this hour.” How Bruno Kirby answers the phone in the morning.

8.  “…this stupid, Roy Rogers, garage sale, wagon wheel coffee table!!” Sometimes when I go off on a rant I end with this line, just to get my point across.

7.  “Pecan Piiiie.” I can’t see pecans or pie without quoting Billy Crystal and his weird accent.

6.  “People were always crossing rooms to talk to Maxine.”  Aha! Obscure WHMS reference, n’est pas?  Its my favorite line from the vignettes where the couples tell how they met.  I can relate, as I’ve had a lot of friends that people crossed rooms for.

5.  “Tell me I never have to be out there again.” “You will NEVER have to be out there again.” Someday someone will say this to me.

4.   “At least you can say you were married.” This is how people really think. Its said in response to Sally’s friend suggesting she marry a dying man.

3.  “And I’m going to be 40!” “…In 8 years!” I don’t think turning 40 is a big deal, but I love this line because I have been there before.

2.  “Sally, please report to me.” Right before H and S sing karaoke Surrey With The Fringe On Top, which is the rendition I hear in my head anytime I see Oklahoma.

1.  “Oh, and Baby Fish Mouth is sweeping the nation.” Well, my dog is named Baby Fish Mouth, if you didn’t know, and my “cool test” when I meet new people is to tell them my dog’s name and see if they get the reference.

Baby Fish Mouth (taking a bath)

 

They Are Special

October 1, 2010

Today was the 4th Grade “Get Aquainted” day at Rahul’s school.  That’s the PS 24 version of an Open House–each teacher prepares a short presentation for the parents of their students outlining curriculum and expectations for the year.  For the last two years Rahul has been in General Ed classes with students of some of the most dynamic and involved parents in the school.  Every time parents were invited into his class for an event the room was packed with parents, grandparents, and tons of food!  And I have tried to learn from them what it means to be an “involved parent”.

 

This year I moved Rahul to a Special Ed class and it has so far seemed to be a great move.  I was really looking forward to this morning’s meeting, so I could get to know his teacher a little better and see where Rahul sits.  He told me the other day that the class had all written notes to their parents and they were going to leave them on their desks for us to read today.  I love that stuff!

 

So this morning, I trudged (2 blocks) through the wind and rain to the meeting, and when I walked into the classroom only one other parent was there.  The class is small, there are only 13 students, but I couldn’t believe we were the only two people there!  The notes the kids had written to us were laid out on their desks, along with a guide from the teacher and a bookmark she had made up for us.  We waited for a few minutes to see if anyone else was coming, but finally Ms. Vedevino began her presentation.  She opened by reading the poem that was printed on the bookmark, called “Unity” (Author Unknown).

 

I dreamed I stood in a studio

And watched two sculptors there.

The clay they used was a young child’s mind.

And they finished it with care.

 

One was a teacher; the tools he used

Were books and music and art.

One a parent with a guiding hand

And a gentle and loving heart.

 

Day after day the teacher toiled

With a touch that was deft and sure,

While the parent labored by his side

And polished and smoothed it over.

 

And when at last their task was done

They were proud of what they had wrought,

For the thing they had molded into the child

Could neither be sold or bought.

 

And each agreed he would have failed

If he had worked alone.

From behind the parent stood the school

And behind the teacher, the home.

 

 

By the time she finished reading the poem I was choking back a major crying situation because my heart just ACHED for the kids who’s parents weren’t able to be there.  Of all the kids in the school, these kids need their parents there.  But many of them don’t speak English, or don’t live nearby, or have to work, and maybe some of them just don’t care.  Or believe that they could make any difference.  But as I looked around the room at all the notes these kids had written with the expectation that their parents would be sitting in their seats and learning about their class, and looked up at the presentation Ms. Vedovino had prepared for us, I just wanted to weep.  I wanted to go around and read all the kids’ notes and write them a little one back, like I did for Rahul.  I wanted to go to all their homes and talk with their parents and learn what had kept them away today.  I wanted to invite them all over for a playdate.  Except Jose, who Rahul gave a wedgie to yesterday because he was bullying him…oh, OK, Jose, too!

 

I have already experienced the second rate attention parents of ESL students and Special Ed students receive from the school.  I know we are the quiet wheel and without a little squeak we won’t get anything we want for our kids.  And I know that without the unity of parent and teacher described in the poem, our kids won’t make it.  I feel prepared to fight the crusade (because if Special Ed in public schools is not a crusade, I don’t know what is) and I hope I can drag a few others along with me.  I have become BFF with Manny, the vice-principal in charge of Special Ed, have emailed the PTA presidents, cozied up with the looney school psychologist, I do the ESL teacher’s hair (and her daughters’)…I’m trying to engage a strong team of people to help my son get through this year.

 

And I also volunteered to be the room mother.

Rahul with his grandparents in his class last year