Archives for July 2011

I Forgot the Binoculars…

Ana Hebra Flaster

I forgot the binoculars. I had left them at home on the counter as we rushed our daughter to Lowell’s Tsongas Arena for her high school graduation last month. But even from my perch at the top of section J, I spotted her easily in the sea of royal blue robes and square caps as she walked into the arena with her 500 identically clad classmates.  I thought about those exhausted but determined mother penguins that waddle back to the swarming colonies and quickly find their hatchlings. I turned and saw all the other parents pointing out their hatchlings, too. We shared the same expressions of tired happiness and pride, the trademark of the seasoned parent.

Just as the band struck up Pomp and Circumstance, something struck me. I—we—had been part of this flock for so long, the same group we’d started with thirteen years ago in kindergarten, and this would be the last time we’d all be together. Of course, I’d realized the students would be together for the last time, but as parents and families we were all part of the same flock, uniquely entwined through this particular group of hatchlings. We’d cheered them through their first winter concert in the auditorium, and held them close on the playground when, as third graders, the world got turned around on that crisp September morning. We pulled splinters out of fingers, drove car pools all over town, and made dinners for each others families when illness, or worse, made meals too difficult for one parent to handle alone. We’d faced off on rare occasions, as members of working colonies will, over differing views on parenting, politics or picking up dog poop near the playground, but mostly we’d worked together to shepherd this batch of kids along, as best we could, to this moment, together.

Even before our kids entered school, we’d come together for the first time at a district-wide meeting for parents of incoming kindergarteners. All the dutiful were gathered there that night, in the cafeteria of the largest elementary school in our high-scoring, education-centered town. The superintendent and others welcomed us and explained all the learning and growing adventures that awaited. We took careful notes about supplies and how to best prepare the hatchlings for the upcoming year. There were math games and recommended books to read, libraries to visit and board games to consider. I looked around and marveled at the bowed heads recording this new to-do list. Looking back now, it seems silly to have worried so about the hatchlings. Really, with love and a good colony in which to waddle around, they’d grow up just fine, along different paths—for sure—but they’d be fine.

And look at them now. So poised, so grown up. Walking slowly with an elegance bestowed from more than just this old stately melody.  I’d like to think the rest of the flock, with its swirl of activity and careful tending for all those years, had lent a note of grace to their steps. They were our hatchlings, and with such bonds, who could possibly need binoculars to see them?

 

Ana Hebra Flaster is a freelance writer and  Lexington resident. Ana’s work has been featured on NPR and the Boston Globe.

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The Stanley Cup Comes to Lexington!

The Stanley Cup at Waxy O’Connors in Lexington!

Photos by Jim Shaw

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8th Annual LABBB Special Olympics bring Sunshine to a Cloudy Day

Click to view event photos by Jim Shaw and Heather Aveson  |  It would take a lot more than cloudy skies and a little rain to dampen the spirits of athletes and supports at this year’s LABBB collaborative Special Olympics. More than two hundred athletes competed in a variety of track and field events from a softball throw to relay races. For the first time, elementary age athletes from the program joined the middle and high school students in the competition.

LABBB athletes partnered up with members of the Best Buddies program from Lexington, Bedford and Arlington High Schools along with Chenery Middle School in Belmont. More than 400 Best Buddies volunteers are an integral part of making the Special Olympics a success each year. They help with planning, organizing, setting up and runningtheevent as well as accompanying athletes through out the day.

When they weren’t competing, the student athletes could take a break under the Olympic Tent by making crafts, getting their faces painting or dancing with frie

nds to the sounds of a DJ.

The committed staff of LABBB doesn’t just support the students on the track and field, they’ll even take to the cold Atlantic waters to help their kids. For the second year, a group of staffers known as The “LABBB Legends” braved the frigid March waters of Revere Beach to raise more than $6,000 to support the event.

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Only A Game…Except When It Isn’t

Bill Littlefield

National Public Radio Host Bill Littlefield will appear at Cary Library Thursday, July 21 at 7:00 p.m. in the Large Meeting Room. From the Boston Red Sox to bodybuilding, from badminton to bowling, Bill Littlefield has covered it all on his longtime National Public Radio sports show, Only a Game. With both humor and gravity, Littlefield covers nearly every aspect of sports: reporting on big time professional and college sports, as well as such offbeat competitions as the “Santa Speedo Run.” On each program, Littlefield not only discusses sports, but also gently reminds his audience that between the winning and losing, there is something essential to learn from athletics about the human experience. Whether it’s a feature about the Bruins’ Stanley Cup victory or a segment about a bunch of neighborhood kids playing a pickup soccer game, Littlefield’s reports reveal his own insight, humor and humanity. Bill Littlefield has been a commentator for National Public Radio since 1984, and the host of Only a Game since 1993. A graduate of Yale University and Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, Littlefield currently teaches in the Humanities Division at Curry College in Milton where he also serves as writer-in-residence. He is the author of several books including his most recent, Only a Game. In addition to writing books and essays, Littlefield has regularly contributed commentaries to The Atlanta Constitution, The Los Angeles Times, and Newsday. Bill Littlefield has won six Associated Press Awards, and has been celebrated as one of Boston’s “Literary Lights” by the associates of the Boston Public Library. Cary Library is excited to host Bill Littlefield, one of our MVPs (Most Valuable Presenters!) Please join us. The event is free and open to the public. Space is limited. Seating will be on a first come, first serve basis.

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