Spectacle Island

When I picked up my Little Sister, L for our third outing on Saturday, she greeting me by running to me and giving me a huge hug. It made my morning!

Weeks ago I’d read somewhere that there would be a kite making station this weekend on Spectacle Island, one of Boston’s nine harbor islands. While a 30 minute ferry ride after a trek into the city seemed like a long way to go to make a kite, I knew it would be a fun adventure.

Running a bit behind, we had to hustle to get to the launch dock to catch our ferry after parking the car in a Haymarket lot. Being eight years old and having shorter legs than I, L is always one step behind me. I would holler “Marco!” and she’s holler back “Polo!” as we weaved through the crowds and the stalls of fruits and veggies (this was of course mostly for fun and to make ourselves laugh since I wouldn’t actually let her out of my sight).

I like giving L little quizzes and she seems to love solving them, so as we approached the ferry I pointed out a man at the entrance of the boat, “Take a look at that man in the orange vest. Do you see the little metal thing he’s holding?” She did see it “What do you think it’s for?” I asked her. She did notice that he was pressing some sort of button, “He’s counting the people getting on!” she figured it out with very little clues provided.

We boarded the ferry and found some seats. The ferry left the dock, and we were chatting and people-watching when my insulin pump suddenly buzzed. I looked down and read “Low battery. Replace battery soon”


I had my lunch, water, our magic picnic blanket, cash, glucose tablets, my glucometer, but I did NOT pack batteries. Maybe they’ll have them at the snack bar? I wondered to myself. I decided to make this a teaching moment. I have no idea what Iwas teaching L –  How to problem solve? How to not panic? How to ask others for help? All of the above?  I turned to her and said “Well, I need to find a battery. You know how I have this insulin pump here?” she nodded (although we’d never talked about it, I know she’d seen me take it out. She’s never asked me anything about it, and I’ve wondered if her mom briefed her since they have paperwork about me and vice versa). L just rolled with it when I told her we needed to leave our seats and solve this problem.

The ferry cafe did not have batteries and I thought Well, I’m just going to have to ask strangers until I find one because this is going to turn into a medical emergency in a few hours. I asked around a bit and no luck. We took our seats again, which happened to be near the cockpit. The cafe cashier mentioned that he thought for sure a park ranger ont he island would liekly have some and I’m sure he’s right. As one last attempt while ont he feryr though, I stood in the open doorway of the cockpit and asked the captain “Weird question for you – any chance you have a double-A battery you could spare? My insulin pump it low”

He did, actually! He reached out and took one out of a little box right next to him. Crisis averted. You can’t imagine the exhale that comes with seeing the battery icon on a little device turn green again when you’re dependant on that device to keep you healthy and alive. My Diabetes is just part of my life. Melded in. I only really notice it when  something goes wrong.


After our half-hour ride on the boat, we spent two hours on the island itself. We trekked the somewhat oblong island’s walking path, which went in a sort of swirl, and uphill, to the very top, only to find that the kite making area was not so high up. Ugh!

Once we found the right gazebo for kite making, we decorated what would be our kite together, assembled it and made a brief attempt to get it airborne before heading back to the bottom of the island for a picnic on the beach.

As we sat in the hot sun on our blanket, I used a conversation-starter that I learned from the Badens. L and I don’t seem to need help in the area of chatting, but I like it’s purpose, so once I explain it to L, we each named our Rose (the highlight of the day), our Bud (what we are looking forward to), and the Thorn (the low-light of our day). Mine was making a kite, enjoying the ferry ride back to Boston harbor, and the long hike we accidentally took to the top of the island’s peak (although at least it was good exercise!). Her’s were the ferry ride, the ferry ride, and “Right now is my thorn!” because the spot we chose to picnic was in the hot sun.

Our ride back on the ferry was not as crowded as the way to the island, and we had fun waving at the passing boats to see who would wave back, and I told L about how the buoys are like traffic signs in the water. We talked about our next outing (kayaking!) and in the car ride home, I played some KidsBop (kid versions of current pop songs) and we laughed as we rewrote the words to the popular song Havana by making “Half of my heart is in Havana, ooh-na-na” into “Please give me a banana oo la la”

BBBS policy is that Bigs are to spend three hours with their Littles twice a month. After clearing it with her mom, our third outing together ended up being six hours long. It went by in a flash.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: