Photo: I’m getting back to knitting in the round, which isn’t one of my strongest skills. My sister complains a lot about chilly fingers while typing in air-conditioned Texas spaces (or in the winter, which I guess happens ever-so-briefly down there), so I’m knitting her these fingerless mitts! If you’re curious about the pattern, it comes from this pattern book, which I love. Blocking it will help straighten out stitches, but I recognize that there is a bit of wabi-sabi to this mitt. I’m good with it. I think she’ll love it (and its mate) no matter what.
After the election, I decided that the boys would do summer camp in Maryland from now on. Major’s kindergarten class was more diverse that I expected (or that I gave credit for), but still, I wanted him and his brother to have a summer spent with a completely different set of kids who were far more likely to be of a similar background. So to come back here to my hometown, where the fading (but still clear) lines of segregation are now being redrawn by gentrification, has a little touch of irony.
This is my two boys sitting at the waters edge of what used to be the “Black” pool in town. My mother and her siblings used to play and play here, her childhood home just a few doors away. My sister and I would splash here during the summers, too, when coming up to see my grandmother. Now, there are more white families sunning and splashing than there were Black and that’s just… well, it’s weird, Dear Reader. Progress and change are inevitable, but still notable. There is a feeling of loss of place, a feeling of something slipping away. And yes, again, irony: I know that my living and raising my boys in white, exclusive, MetroWest is a similarity. Believe me, people note how weird it is to see me walk into places early and often! Again, change is inevitable, but also notable.
The boys have really loved their week in camp. Major, especially, who has spent his time under the hot summer sun playing soccer and basketball. He came home Monday and Tuesday mellow and happy, all of his energy completely gone. When I picked them up on Monday afternoon, I was so very worried that they were going to beg not to go back. Instead, they were sad to leave! Thanks be to God!
I realize that this week probably doesn’t mean the same thing to the boys as it has for me. They are simply having fun and exploring new things, not really looking into the faces of their fellow campers and seeing anything more than another kid who wants to play. For me, there is a satisfaction in seeing them walk into rooms full of all sorts of faces. It reminds me of my own experiences growing up here, though it also makes me ache a bit. This is such a short time. We’ll end up back in Massachusetts before long, and they’ll walk into classrooms where they won’t be the only children of color (thanks be to God), but they’ll be one of only a few. As they get older, this will increasingly matter. To me and to them.
So, as you can imagine, all of the older people in my life have been strongly lobbying for my return to the area. “We’ve gotta figure out a way. There has never been a better time to be here.”
When that starts up, it makes me want to just go back to Mass. Better not to return to this place than to come here, fall back in love with it, and then have to leave all over again. It’s been a tour of memories, culinary indulgences (how many crabs can a girl manage to eat? All of them. An entire bay’s worth!), and happy times listening to the summer storms roll past. You know what made me the proudest mom in the world? Watching Ursa Major pick three crabs all by himself over the weekend. Three! Beginning to end, all by himself. Oh my goodness, I would have cried if I wasn’t surrounded by people. It was just the best! That Maryland blood runs strong and true.
Another afternoon is coming and going. The clouds are heavy here, and I expect to hear the roll of thunder before too long. My mind wanders and wonders, but my heart, soul and stomach are happy to be here. That’s something, isn’t it? Maybe it’s even enough to calm the mind down. I have to let go of the things I can’t control so that I can relish in the joys and blessings however I happen to get them.
It’s mid-week, Dear Reader. How are you holding up? Drink some water, get some sleep, and commit to finishing the week strong.
I’ll see you Friday for Quiet Thoughts.