Wednesday, November 05, 2008

While we breathe we hope*

On Election night, Ben and I gathered the polling place signs in the First Ward in Ann Arbor. He wanted to sleep, but insisted I wake him so we could go the the “Barack Party” at the Dem headquarters.

By 10, he was sound asleep in the back seat, and I took the last sign out of my trunk. Pennsylvania was blue, Ohio was likely blue, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Connecticut, all blue.

I opened his door and gently said, “Do you still want to go to the party, or do you want to go home and sleep?”

“I want to go to the party," he said. “Will you carry me?”

Forever, my son. It is a new world.

*President-elect Barack Obama, November 4, 2008, Grant Park, Chicago

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Class

This is Ben's whole class, just after the Halloween school parade on Friday. I love this picture because each kid is doing his or her own thing. The array of costumes cracks me up. Miss Janice, the only adult in the picture, is singing to them, which she does all day long, making up songs about them, using their names and singing what they are doing. Parents ring the blue rug snapping pictures like so many tourists at the zoo.

New Glasses

Yesterday, we picked up Ben's new glasses. He put them on at the optical shop, looked at me smiling and said, "I can see!" I swear, his balance is better and his gait more steady already, although he's been dancing and wiggling all day from too much Halloween candy, so it's really not easy to detect the difference.

After he got in the bathtub, I realized he didn't have them on, and I didn't see them on the bathroom counter. I asked him, slightly panicked, where they were.

"I put them in the case on my table, Mom, so Lily wouldn't get them," he answered. He's already a more responsible glasses-wearer than I: last week I stepped on mine in the middle of the night and bent them a bit. How they got on the floor I will never know, but they sure weren't in the case.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Homemade Halloween

Last night was Ben's first real Halloween. Three days ago we finally settled on him being the Conductor from Polar Express. I took a 12 year old suit coat of mine (Jones New York, yet) and cut it down for him, hemming cuffs and bottom with that iron-on fusing tape. Then I ironed on metallic gold ribbon for cuff stripes and replaced the black buttons with gold ones.

Two years ago he inherited a real New York Central Railway conductor's hat from an old friend of mine who was a train fan, so I took that and added "Polar Express" across the front with letters from the scrapbooking store.

Then, I ironed on more metallic ribbon to an almost too short for him pair of blue slacks. Add one button down shirt and tie, and presto! The obvious favorite costume of every adult who opened a door for us. People kept saying, "Oh, I love that book," or "Oh, I love that movie." One scholarly type said, "Did you know that author was a Michigan grad?" We do live in U of M territory, after all.

Ben was in character all night, intoning "All aboard!" in long form to anyone who would listen. He really got into it, loving the hastening darkness and every cheesy Halloween gimmick from the giant spiders and fake cobwebs to the amazing witch on a wire at one house who zoomed down from a tree to say "I want candy."

My mom used to make our costumes, and usually added make-up to shame Hollywood. Now I understand why she put that effort in. How wonderful to see your kid loving your efforts (no matter how amateur or lame) and lapping up the admiration of perfect strangers, who rewarded him with gobs of candy.