I took the day off from work yesterday and devoted it to family time. Took Isaac to school in the morning to find that one of his teachers was at a doctor's appointment and they were a little short-staffed. So I stuck around with Isaac, read Harold and The Purple Crayon twice, and, when he was ready, we made our way to the table with the other kids. There were four trays, each with a selection of magnetized objects: balls, colored discs, metallic bits of different shapes and sizes, and big magnetized paddles to pick it all up with. We contented ourselves with making long strings of magnet balls and arranging them into the shapes of numbers and letters--big fun. Soon a couple of the other kids got into the game, and I found myself becoming the impromptu ringleader. "A., that's beautiful! Let's see how big we can make it. Isaac, what number does this look like? E, that's great--uh-oh, it all fell down! Let's start again." Smiles all around, so lovely to be surrounded by all these kids, so good for the soul.
When I got home, my dad was waiting on the front steps. I'd invited him to visit for some father-daughter time and see Isaac's therapies, since he's always been curious about what they are like. When it was time, we picked up Isaac at school and took him over to OT. He usually is a little more distracted when I'm there, because I don't get to go very often [cue the working mother guilt]. So he was a bit oppositional at the beginning, but then mellowed a bit and showed us how he's learned to jump with both feet, do an obstacle course, cut with scissors, swing a little on the trapeze. It's all so simple and elemental, but I felt myself cheering him on like it was the Olympics. [One of the unexpected gifts of this experience: it really makes you appreciate the little victories.]
At dinner last night, J., my dad and I were doing a little reminiscing, and J. recalled the time we went to visit my then 96, 97 or 98 year-old great aunt Grace (birth records not being very reliable in those days) in her apartment in Brooklyn. J. was in the early throes of a nasty flu, and, sick as he was, he braved the experience like a trouper. At the time, she was still living on her own with the assistance of a part-time aide, and she received us into her apartment with all the old-world rules still intact. "You'll have some cake," she commanded my poor, bilious then-boyfriend the second he crossed the threshold. "Thanks, Aunt Grace, but I'm feeling a little under the weather." She didn't miss a beat. "You'll have some ice cream." After more than 80 years in this country, her thick Romanian accent was still largely untouched.
J.'s impression of Grace sounded a lot more like Patty and Selma Bouvier [Marge Simpson's chainsmoking sisters, for you non Simpsons fans] than my aunt, but we all laughed anyway. And then Isaac, who had been sitting quietly in Jesse's lap, piped up in his best gravelly monster voice, "You'll have some cake!" And we all broke up. And then, the magical bit: he looked around the table at each of us, and when he was satisfied that all of us were laughing at his joke, he just...beamed.