Susan's Blog

Monday, October 12, 2009

Nat and the Beanstalk

The other day was kind of a long one, but one that bore fruit. I had to get Nat to his doc, so he came home from school at 12:30. First we went food shopping, which was great, because Nat is so helpful and skilled in the supermarket. He is not skilled in the way Max would be, where I could say, “Max, go get oatmeal,” and Max would find the right aisle, the right kind (the 5-minute Quaker), the right amount (not the biggest). With Nat I have to actually be in the cereal aisle, right next to the oatmeal, and I have to say, “Don’t get the really big one,” and I have to indicate with my head where to look. It’s like playing huckle-buckle beanstalk, where you hide the classroom eraser and then say, “you’re getting warmer! Nope, colder!” as the person moves inch-by-inch toward or away from the eraser. When Nat finally grabs the right product, you almost want to yell, “Huckle-Buckle Beanstalk!” His skill lies in how well he has listened to my descriptive words, and how much he is paying attention to my body language. Sometimes he has to read labels, as well. From each according to his ability…

So we went food shopping, tiring but exhilarating. Then we had to get Ben early from school, to drop him off at home, because I didn’t know if he had his key. Then we hurried off to the doc, at Children’s Hospital in Boston, which in some ways reminds me of the circles of Hell, particularly as you careen up the spirals in the parking garage. Then there is this strange, slow revolving door that you are not allowed to push. Who thought of such a thing, where children are involved? “Nat, it says not to push! See the sign? What does it say?”

“Do Not Push.” He says this with his hands pressed outward, ready to push hard.

The doctor had something interesting to say. He was wondering if I’d considered a rural, farmlike option for Nat in adulthood. Something that was self-sustaining, like a nursery. Nat’s job could be right there; public transportation and city streets would not be in the picture. Instead, there’d be lots of space, cute animals, benign absorbing tasks like watering everything (ah, flowing water, Nat’s personal version of Lost). It would be further away from us, because we’d have to find a house over an hour away, where all the nurseries and acreage are. But suddenly, I loved the image. It seemed so safe. It felt like there would be so much less to worry about. Nat would be in a Victorian farmhouse with 7 other guys and some live-in staff (truly live-in, so that there would be someone around-the-clock). I wouldn’t have to worry that Nat was being stretched too far, burdened with too many Real World demands. I wouldn’t have to worry about cars. Animals, plants, fields to roam. Hmm. Things growing. Flowers, vegetables, tomatoes, corn, beans. Maybe I’d move out there as well.

That was the part of the day that bore fruit, almost literally. As we walked back to the car, fairly exhausted (an EKG was involved, too; Nat’s meds need quite a bit of oversight, but he smiled throughout the procedure!), I said quietly, “Hmm… I thought you were wearing your jacket.”

“Your jacket! Yes!”
“What? Did you leave it at the doctor’s?”
“You left it at the doctor’s! Go get your jacket!” He was panicking.
So we walked quickly (except for that damned revolving door) back through the hospital maze, all the way up to the tenth floor, and retrieved the jacket — just where Nat said it was. Hurried back, exhausted, piled into the car, and wove our way through the cement Inferno and then through the writhing, angry Boston traffic.


I agree with the pacific setting for Nat. It certainly helps me refocus sometimes. My only gripe is that I have to return to "reality" every weekday.

— added by Andrew on Monday, October 12, 2009 at 7:43 am

Thanks for sharing this slice of life Susan. I have also envisioned a rural setting for Hallie for the very same reasons. No literal or metaphorical revolving doors…

— added by JoJo on Monday, October 12, 2009 at 7:53 am

What a great day, glad all went well. While it sounds wonderful and idyllic for Nat, that increased distance makes me worry that could make things more than a little difficult for you. I know you will be strong, blah blah blah, but it has been important for you to easily see Nat. Maybe you could Skype? I'm all for a new environments, and I know we're not talking about a farm in Siberia, but be very honest with yourself about how a greater distance will impact you. Lisa

— added by Anonymous on Monday, October 12, 2009 at 10:14 am

That sounds like a wonderful setting for Nat!! Heck, for me even! Nick simply loves the outdoors as well. That was one of our biggest reasons for buying our camper. He gets into this zen-like state and just seems totally at peace. He has also discovered our faucets…running water… 🙂 Sounds like you both had a good day!

— added by Amy on Monday, October 12, 2009 at 11:41 pm

We live in a rural area now ( we moved back to where I grew up about 3 years ago) and have seen a great improvement with Jarrett. Schoolwork has improved greatly and there is the added fact that it is a small town, I do, in fact know practically everyone. No traffic to speak of ( we live out of the town limits anyway). I know someone who has a store that not only could Jarrett work there when he's old enough, would sell his DVDs and Joey the Pirate Monkey stuff ( she's a family friend& my brother's best friends mother & carries local artwork, crafts and things of that nature). It's worth looking into for Nat.

— added by cameramom on Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 5:38 am

I'm glad to hear your doctor is reading my blog comments. There are potential settings that wouldn't be too far from home. Once again, we will be looking to you to sort it out for those of us with younger kids. Perhaps they will all be harvesting vegetables for a local CSA someday soon. Thanks for sharing your road with all of us who are closer to the start.

— added by toadysmom on Tuesday, October 13, 2009 at 2:41 pm

I think that this setting would be superb for Nat. He has probably inherited a love for gardening from you anyway and connecting with nature is more peaceful for all of us. Good luck (and good job!).

— added by Donna on Wednesday, October 14, 2009 at 3:41 pm

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