A Five Year Ritual Ends: 5-31-11

Holding Pattern: I think I have been in a bit of a holding pattern for the last couple of weeks. There were a series of meetings that had a finality to them: Ability Beyond Disability some weeks ago where we officially signed our daughter over to their care, come July; the Project Forward, Cape Cod Community College final evaluation on May 12th; the Exit PPT from her school district last monday; and the Project Forward graduation ceremony last Tuesday. Since then, I guess I was just sitting on my hands waiting for the Riverview/Grow graduation weekend June 10-June 12th.

Hands Out from Under Me: The sun hasn’t even set on Memorial Day when I get a call from the dorm supervisor, who sounds a tad tense, about packing up her room. She asks “boxes or garbage bags?” Oops, I guess it is final countdown for sure. There was apparently a minor skirmish between the supervisor and the daughter over timing on this chore but all worked out. As our daughter stuffs a giant suitcase and some garbage bags with shirts, sweaters and pants, and hopefully tosses out the enormous stack of magazines I saw on her desk last week, I can be showing up at animal shelters and grooming sites with a smile, a story, lots of questions and a request for them to consider a lovely young lady as a future volunteer.

Her agency will be in search of such opportunities as well but I am eager to check out places, staff and of course, four legged inmates.

Other Chores For Mom: I think a quick review of the contents of our daughter’s bedroom before she hits town with an entire school year’s worth of clothing (minus the UGGS, I took those home a month ago) is in order. The drawers in her fairly well-ordered room are filled with tee shirts and jeans, more than anyone could possibly wear and the thought of shoving a bunch more into those same spaces makes me shudder. So first order of business is to set aside some items that qualify as “way too worn” or “way too small” for her to review upon return. Fingers crossed, she will want to chuck them too.

Ritual of Return: This is the fifth year for our daughter and I to share in this ritual, of packing up the dorm and returning home in mid-June. Once she was home and unpacked, I would wash and set aside her sheets and towels, laundry bags and eventually a memory foam pad, to be stored until I brought her up for the summer program, a month later. Four and a half weeks subsequent, she would return home for a month and we would unpack, wash and store the same items.  Then in early September we would haul it all back to school for the academic term. These were happy times. Now that ritual is over. We will never do it again. Gulp.

The Best Antidote To Overwhelming Sadness is Make a New Plan: My new plan is to scout out volunteer opportunities, when I have a moment. We are also waiting on an apartment for the two young ladies and if we get lucky, maybe something will turn up in the next week or so. Making the future exciting offsets the pain of saying Adios to a joyful past.

©Jill Edelman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2011

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