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September 3, 2015


Lima Bean and I sit at the dining room table. She does and does not want help, does and does not want me to be there. We have a plan. I sit and don’t speak. She works. She grumbles and sighs and tells me random things about her day. I wait. She says, “Check this,” and shoves the notebook towards me.

Her writing is fine and light. My eyes are not as young as hers. I squint and check and copy and work it out on my own, black ink bright and bold across whatever scrap paper is close at hand.

She forgets to distribute, I forget to change a sign. We both remember units.


I push the notebook back. “Good.” Or sometimes, “Bad math! Try again. Check the distribution.”

Sometimes she stops herself before she starts. “Ugh. This is stupid. What am I supposed to do?”

My answer is always the same. “What do you know? Write down what you know. Start from there.”

I am not alone in this helping. Tonight it is just me, but I am blessed with the brightest, mathiest Auntie Brigade a girl could ask for. At least three bona fide math majors. At least one educator. I am so very thankful.


Two days down. Many more to go.

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