Gulp: Today I spoke with our residential coordinator from ABD who is busy tying up loose ends, training staff and figuring out the Wi-Fi conundrum. I asked her about the move-in day, August 1. “Do we just send her off to her DSO (Day Service Options) at 9 a.m. and then she goes home to her apartment? When we will see her again?” Gulp!
Welcome Home Party: Excitedly our coordinator described the plan to have both girls, who share the same schedule that first day of occupancy, driven from the DSO to their new home where they will be greeted by staff and program coordinators for a house warming of sorts. Festooned with balloons and what not, the young ladies’ new life is to be celebrated with staff. Yes. Not parents. And when we will see her again?
She Should Have Choices: “Can I call her or staff and ask, do you want to go to the movies with us tomorrow night?” Well, not exactly. “You can call her and ask her what she has planned and offer an invitation. She should have choices.” That makes sense. They will have a scheduled life, too. As the Services Manager, the backbone of our ABD residential operation, reassured me, you are the parents…the implication being whatever you would like to do or share with her is fine, but she also can make decisions based on her preferences and what is already in the works at “home”: her new home.
Weird, Maybe? That does feel a bit weird. Yet, when she was at boarding school for five years, we didn’t just pop-in either. Of course, that was four hours away. But she had a life, a schedule, and her weekends were almost as booked as her school week. I would check schedules and make plans based on what she wanted and what she would miss if she came home. Primarily extended family reunions and celebrations, which are very precious to us, were priorities. But even then she missed many because of the travel issues. Now she can attend any Bar or Bat Mitzvah, weddings, graduations, baby namings or birthday celebrations if she wishes. It will be her choice, always has been, but minus the travel challenge of the last five years, it will be interesting to see how she makes her decisions.
All Grown Up Now: The girl has always had a pragmatic side. Unlike her mom, who tends to go with the emotional end of many decisions, she favors her dad’s style. If it takes too long to get there, or interrupts too many other plans, or could be too noisy or too tiring, she forgoes it. Of course, her presence is requested and desired but now that she is all grown up, not necessarily required.
It’s Different Now: When she went to boarding school, her home was still here with her parents. But now her home is there, not here. Here is her family home. The bride to be is off to be wed on Monday, August 1, to her future. Rice anyone?
©Jill Edelman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2011