Dropping By: I like this new phase. Daughter lives twenty minutes away and requests some items. I drive over and drop off the items; we chat, go over her requests, I watch her proudly hang up her chains and bracelets on the jewelry lady stand the staff gave her, and then I leave. Pretty darn good, if you ask me.
Earache Management: Yesterday staff took our daughter to her doctor in the afternoon. No kidding. She was prescribed drops for swimmer’s ear and I didn’t have to cancel patients, or travel in three directions. Someone else got her there, brought her back, and put the drops in her ear. Yet I was able to see her, find out what the prescription is, for how long and what she was feeling about it all. I like this format.
Pinch Me: I don’t believe this is happening. I get all the frosting and so far, don’t have to bake the cake.
Our Friday Date: Always on the ball regarding future plans, our daughter reminded staff and mom that her friend Elizabeth and her mom are driving down from Massachusetts to see her new home and have lunch. Everyone is excited to witness our daughter escorting friends around her apartment. Her DDS case manager wants to come at that time too. So does her residential coordinator. I can guess which restaurant she’ll choose to take her visitors. Great sweet potato fries (my favorite.)
The Apartment-mate: Despite the moms’ worries about the night shift, all went beautifully the first and second nights. Both girls say they slept well and the apartment-mate seems as happy to be there as her buddy across the hall.
Concert in The Park: As I was leaving the apartment last evening, the young ladies were making a picnic dinner with staff to take to the concert in the local park where they were meeting up with members of Sphere, the special needs theater and art group in town. The apartment is still abuzz with “set up” stuff, with extra staff hanging clocks, completing paper work and checking on safety features. Soon, the newness will subside and life will settle in to what I hope will be a fulfilling regimen.
Honeymoon Stage: This is the first blush of the new life, the honeymoon stage. These young ladies are adjusting quickly for a number of reasons, the first being that they have boarded for years much further from their homes, so what others may experience when first moving out of their parents home is muted here. In fact, both ladies are closer to the homestead than they have been for years. Another moderating factor is that the changes were introduced over time: the girls met; the girls hung out together over two school breaks, had mutual friends and were connected on Facebook; the girls attended the ABD day program for a month prior to moving in and met some staff over the last six weeks. And the girls never questioned the plan to live outside their parents’ homes. In our daughter’s case, her boarding school curriculum prepared her for the transition into adulthood that she is currently experiencing.
“I Can’t Wait To Get Away From My Nagging Mother.” In fact, our daughter’s frequent response when folks asked her if she looked forward to moving into her new apartment was “Yeah, I can’t wait to get away from my nagging mother.” Though apparently she sobbed briefly the first evening, telling the residential coordinator that she would miss me, she swiftly recovered and by the time I re-entered the apartment (having just run out to purchase a pencil sharpener) she was totally focused on unpacking and happy to see me off.
Touching Base: A great feature for me, and perhaps for her, is that, unlike school when there were many hours night and day when I couldn’t reach her, now I can call her anytime and she picks up. I love the casual ease of connection. The importance of “touching base” with our children and spouse is a tenet I believe in strongly, and I think also works for them.
Feeling Privileged: I feel guilty boldly announcing my relief and pleasure in this accomplishment knowing that many of my parental peers haven’t had it this easy or are many steps away from completion of this daunting process in an unkind economic climate. Folks keep saying that we got the process going and completed in the nick of time. So whatever I can do to help others, please let me know. And don’t wait, no matter your child’s age, get started now.
That Is The Purpose Of The Blog: To tell the story of one family’s special needs journey in the hopes that it will be of use to others. But now that we are clearly entering “the next phase” of the journey, and the day-to-day progress will likely transform into a more stable, less eventful period, I’d love to open this space up for a dialogue with you, my readers, who may be on your own family’s special needs journeys. Do you have questions I can answer? Are there specific aspects of our journey that you’d like more detail on? You can post your own questions, thoughts, and experiences as comments, or you can email them to me and I will answer your requests on this blog without identifying you. This is a shared journey, with our children, our families, our friends and with each of you. Please join me in sharing your adventure in parenting adult special needs, one day at a time. I know that anyone reading this blog will welcome you.
©Jill Edelman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2011