early book access!
ThAnK YoU FOR FOLLOWING MY BLOG! SOME OF YOU HAVE ASKED HOW TO GET A SIGNED BOOK: YOU ARE THE FIRST TO KNOW ABOUT EARLY ACCESS TO SIGNED COPIES OF MY NEW MEMOIR, STRUGGLING WITH SERENDIPITY! I am so grateful for your support and encouragement since I started sharing our story in this blog three years ago!
One fall morning, Beth wheeled across the pool deck at Blodgett, and the Harvard men’s coach led his team in applause for her Rio medals. She swam six days a week in and out of the HWSD season during her senior year.
Coaches planned her training cycles to build up to her most important swim meet to date, the Paralympic Trials in April.
Occasionally, I met Beth in the Blodgett lobby, helped her over the alarmingly-inaccessible bridge to Harvard Square, and bought us brunch, our favorite meal of the day. I encouraged her to use the bus after practice more often, but she didn’t.
Maria taught five preschoolers with multiple disabilities in the Cambridge Public Schools.
She started the classroom with two full-time teacher’s aides, including one with a master’s degree. In the Boston area, many adults with college degrees settled for underemployment to obtain health insurance.
One of Maria’s students with complex medical needs moved away from Cambridge, a sanctuary city, to Boston with her mom, an illegal immigrant. I worried with Maria about their deportation to a country with subpar children’s services. I volunteered in her classroom a few times and helped with field trips.
Maria's enthusiasm and compassion created a safe space for the children, who progressed at a surprising pace.
Maria created and followed an intense schedule in 15-minute increments to allow her and her teacher aides to maximize instructional time. She had high expectations and energy. I remember thinking that the residents at my old jobs would benefit from Maria’s level of passion. Sadly, staff tended to have low expectations at too many institutions and group homes.
I watched Maria work enthusiastically with a boy speaking his first words. Later, she sat quietly on the floor, blocking the only exit out of a padded play space where a little girl threw a major tantrum. The child tried to get Maria’s attention in negative ways. My daughter ignored the screaming. I thought, “She’ll be a great mom someday.”
During a musical performance for parents, all the children, nonverbal and otherwise, played a role. I sat on the stage next to a girl’s tiny wheelchair and held a toggle switch for her to push. The switch played a recorded phrase. The boy learning to speak wore a butterfly costume. He flapped his wings and bounced to the microphone at regular intervals to cheerfully yell, “Chomp!” It was a word he couldn’t say a few months before.
The audience loved it. I did, too.
Next: Another spike!
3/6/2019 05:33:02 pm
Aw, I love watching the exuberance of the little ones when someone reaches them. This was a extremely cute read.
3/8/2019 07:03:17 pm
Thanks for following and commenting on our story, Jason!
3/7/2019 10:07:20 am
Congrats on the book Cindy! Due to my eyesight, I will be ordering the ebook on April 9, it's on my list! I am so happy for you.
3/8/2019 07:06:33 pm
Thank you, Cindy! I'm glad we're family, and I appreciate your support of my blog and book!
3/8/2019 09:30:32 am
Cindy! So happy for you!! I am constantly inspired and encouraged by you and Beth. And...I'm so happy to know you will both be in the Boston / Cambridge area later this spring and summer!
3/8/2019 07:09:54 pm
Hi Nance, so nice to hear from you! Thank you for the kind words and for ordering my book. Looking forward to seeing you this spring!
3/8/2019 10:30:42 am
3/8/2019 07:12:12 pm
Yes, I look forward to the book events coming up. Thanks so much, Deb!
Wonderful to hear more of Maria's work, and sad to hear about the child who moved from Cambridge to Boston. All our cities should be sanctuary cities--that's who we have always purported to be, a nation of immigrants.
3/9/2019 05:19:32 pm
Thanks, Amy! "Celebrating wildly" sounds like fun. I think I'm too old for that! ;-) But seriously, I agree with you about sanctuary cities. Our country needs to do better with immigration (and other things, too)!
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