A Flip of a Coin and The Illusion of Permanence: 6-26-11

So Far So Easy: The new apartment has one large bedroom, clearly the master, with two fairly spacious closets. The other bedroom is a good size with a small closet. This could be a real challenge for two young ladies to come to terms with, but not our gals. At least not initially. A coin was flipped: heads! Our daughter won and chose the big bedroom. This was after both girls swore they didn’t care which room they had. But our daughter did yelp with joy. Winning anything is fun.

Decorating Logistics: Apparently outfitting the apartment is the families’ job. There isn’t any funding from the girls’ budget for furniture. Typically if families cannot afford to outfit their members’ home, the Ability Beyond Disability team can help in the search for items at thrift shops. In our case, each mom/daughter team (sounds like a reality T.V. show) will tackle the task of decorating the bedroom. But living room, dining area, kitchen supplies, downstairs basement area, will be a joint effort. Sort of a strange dynamic along the lines of mothers-in-law decorating the bridal couples first home. Same taste? Doubtful. Same budget? Hopefully.

The Hodgepodge of Each Other’s Home: Certainly both families have “stuff” that is not being used. Is a joint tour of “storage areas” indicated or is that just way too “personal” to share. Time is the biggest challenge. The other mother works a ton. And we have an August 1 deadline to move in (when full staffing and programming begin.) If recent history informs, we will move through this challenge with lightening speed, quick decisions and decent unanimity. Fingers crossed.

Compatibility Test For The Moms? This could be a true compatibility test. The young ladies will be a significant part of the process but in fact, parents of special needs can have more power than typically seen. And it isn’t easy compromising on taste. (Again reality T.V. keeps leaping to mind. Images of the two moms wrestling on the floor of Bob’s Stores, cat fighting over who gets to choose the living room set.)

Sometimes You Just Wonder: How much do we compromise on this one? You want your child’s home to be fresh looking, so old saggy couches won’t do. Anything vaguely mildew or doggy smelling, out. Too faded, out. You want the furnishings to coalesce, the patchwork quilt of bohemian decorating — these are not bohemian girls — just doesn’t float here. But we parental entities are not an endless well of funds. Not by a long shot.

What’s Different? Interesting that this process feels quite different in parental perspective from that towards the post-college kid setting up their make-shift apartment with the detritus of former lives. Then all you care about as a parent is that the apartment be remotely safe and remotely clean. Typically you don’t get to vote on this one. And the first post-college apartment seems so transitory, more a rehearsal for adulthood than the real thing. For these young ladies, nothing feels transitory. Ironic, because we have only a 1-year lease, and with the variables of compatibility, rent subsidy restrictions, landlord’s wants and needs, this living arrangement is just as transitory. Yet it feels permanent-ish.

Magical Thinking At Work: Need to examine my attitude here. Perhaps longing for the relief that comes with four little words, “we are done here,” alters the facts and confuses the brain. Magical thinking rears its delusional head. As I mentioned in an earlier post, feelings engendered here are somewhat along the lines of the 1950’s version of marrying off your daughter. We are far from “done” with launching our daughter into adulthood. As if this were a permanent state! Adulthood. Hilarious notion! You should know better, Mom!

©Jill Edelman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2011

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