The Brain Place

Continuing our story of the New England vacation from Sermons in Stones . . .

Indigo expressed a desire to go to “the brain place” while we were in Boston, which, it turned out, meant a university. Any university, really. But a family friend, S., is a rising senior at MIT and is living in Cambridge for the summer, so later in the day of the Public Gardens, we met up with her after her work, had a personalized tour of a bit of MIT, and all went out to dinner, which served as a combined birthday celebration for a couple of members of the party whose birthdays were close to that date. S., unsurprisingly, was a knowledgeable, candid tour guide, and best of all: she is minoring in linguistics, which just happens to be Indigo’s passion.

So we, the parents, trailed behind while the two of them geeked out about Toki Pona (Indigo learned it this spring; S. wants to), other conlangs, the delights of German syntax, and other things of great interest to them. They are not of particular interest to either Joy or me, but there is nothing like watching your kid light up as she finds someone who cares about the same things she does. They talked a mile a minute. This despite the seven-year gap in their ages. S. treated Indigo like a peer. We didn’t expect any less from her, but it was still cool.

Indigo is a ways from making decisions about post-high-school education, but for someone with a well-developed intellectual interest, college starts to be visible on the horizon. The week before our trip, her older cousin was visiting us and colleges, and we trooped along with him to Stanford. Visiting its linguistics department, and then MIT’s–both renowned, and currently emptied out by summer and COVID, of course, but adorned with photos of current students and professors–is the kind of thing that can make it all live in the imagination.

What MIT has that Stanford doesn’t, though, is bunnies. Yes, bunnies run wild and free on this big-city campus. Alerted to their presence, Indi immediately said, “That’s it, I’m going to MIT.” I think she was joking . . .

Goodbye, middle school!

She has officially been promoted from 8th grade! The school did a lovely job of conveying pomp and circumstance via video yesterday (including playing “Pomp and Circumstance”), and today she dropped off the iPad, picked up the t-shirt and tassel, signed the Class of 2021 banner that will hang in the school next year, and posed for photos.

First (?) Mothers’ Day card

Made in kindergarten. Eight and a half years later, Indigo observes, “My Spanish was terrible.” It wasn’t that bad. (Translation of the card: “Thank you for giving me food and care. Happy Mothers’ Day, mothers of my family. I love my moms very much.”)

I love this period, in which we are distinguished by our hair length and our height, and because we are basically stick figures, the way she makes me taller is by extending my neck an even more extraordinary amount than Joy’s. No wonder she used to say I was a giraffe.

Christmas Still Life with Cat

It’s 7:08 on Christmas morning. How come the cat and I are the only ones awake? And who’s the kid in this family anyway? *drums impatiently*

As Joy is quick to remind me, when Indigo was born and we needed to figure out holidays, I didn’t even want to celebrate Christmas. “We’re Jewish Unitarian Universalists,” I said. “I don’t believe in Jesus Christ and all that.”

“Amy, you lead Christmas services every year!”

“Yes, well, that’s for my church . . . If I really celebrated the holiday that means the most to me, we’d just do Solstice.”

“Solstice, schmolstice,” she said. “I want presents!”

“So we’ll do Hanukah like when we were kids.”

“I celebrated Hanukah and Christmas when I was a kid.”

I snorted, though gently. “That seems like trying to have it all.”

“Yep! What’s wrong with that?” she said.

And that line of argument won. Being me, I have to justify it by recalling that I really am very happy Jesus was born. Happy birthday, Jesus!

Joy herself draws the line short of having a Christmas tree. However, the years of erosion from Indigo’s lobbying have led to this rosemary plant from Trader Joe’s now making back to back appearances. Indigo decorated it with earrings of mine. But we are definitely never putting up lights. Bah, humbug.

The stockings were hung from the postcard rack with care

Glass mosaic

As a gift to Indigo, Joy gave her a weekend workshop for the three of us in glass mosaic making. We have been looking forward to it for months, and this was the weekend. It is lovely to see Indigo’s great sense of design expressed in this new medium.

12″ x 12″

Many thanks to Randina Casenza at Studio 9 Mosaics, a very fine artist and teacher.

Artifact from age 3

We are helping Indigo with some serious room purging and organizing, in preparation for getting a loft bed and desk. Interesting discoveries have resulted. I insisted on documenting this for posterity before she recycled it. It really helped with the bedtime routine when she was 3-4 years old. Note the additional drawing by Indigo herself, with snowballs (how does she remember that they were meant to be snowballs?) and the obligatory belly button.

Proud happy kid

She went straight from a yellow/orange belt to an orange/purple belt in karate! Skipping is fairly rare, and her promotion letter said she was only being promoted to orange, but since sending it, the teachers conferred and decided she had attained the next level. They kept it as a surprise until they presented her with the belt last night.