On Practicing

“So are we going to Italy?” Jessica asks. “You said you would think about it.”

“I am thinking about it. But it seems like it could be really hard.”

“What will be hard about it?”

“Well, I don’t speak the language.”

“Mom. Sharon went to Italy and she doesn’t speak Italian.”

Yes, but she does not have a cognitively impaired teenager whose neurological condition can destabilize in no time, I do not say. But Jess will never be someone who is not cognitively impaired with a neurological condition that can destabilize in no time. It’s not like she has a broken leg, and it would be better if we waited until it was healed.

“You wandered around Turkey without speaking the language,” Randy says in exasperation when I mention this concern to her. But I was alone in Turkey, and the times when the police stopped me and demanded to see my passport and fired questions at me, questions I couldn’t understand, the consequences were mine alone.

“And Damiano is translating her medical records for you,” Randy points out. “So it will be fine.” She says it in the way that means I need to shut up now, so I do.
That does not mean I have stopped worrying.

“I’m not sure about traveling overseas,” I say to Mary, the teacher for the blind who works with Jessica at school.

“Oh, I’ll get you a traveling cane,” she says in delight. “You can fold it up, which makes it easy to take on the plane.”

“Uh,” I say. “That wasn’t really my biggest concern.”

“It is so good that you take her to see the world!” Mary says. “All you have to do is practice.”

“How do we practice?”

“We go on a practice trip!” Jessica says.

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