Looking Ahead And Behind: 9-13-11

Full Schedule: Our daughter’s Fall schedule is rich in variety. She has a concert date to see Cobie Caillot, her current favorite, a trip to her alma mater for the memorial service of her school friend, the resumption of her riding class, Pegasus, this Saturday, hopefully new volunteer options including ROAR the animal shelter in Ridgefield, and her SPHERE program which begins their theater component this week. She will continue her two days of DSO (Day Service Options) programming and Yoga on Monday nights and swimming at the town’s Park and Recreation Center.

Greatest Asset: The greatest asset in her new life to date appears to be the strong and cozy bond she has formed with her apartment-mate. Almost six weeks into their shared life, and not a word of difficulty has emerged from her lips or the staffs’ regarding their relationship. Separate bedrooms help and somewhat separate schedules. But frankly they spend an enormous amount of time together on weekends and evenings and one day of DSO a week is jointly attended. What allows for this magic? The usual components, similar backgrounds, shared humor, good natures and great staffing. And the essential splash of luck. The luck of arriving at the same moment of aging out with similar entitlements including priority housing, a consequence of both girls having been at boarding schools (living out of their homes.) Sheer luck.

No Contact: From our kiss goodbye Friday afternoon, with mom and dad heading to Cape May, and daughter home alone with staff, to a brief chat last evening while driving up the Garden State Parkway, we had no contact with our daughter. How many hours is that? I’m counting eighty, and we called her. She had no need for contact and when I did reach her, was too pooped to chat. This break is not new. After all, she spent five years at boarding school and is accustomed to life without daily sharing with her folks. For the parental side, I felt relief. She is fine and we are relaxing. Only the care of the dog, who developed a “skin condition” the day before we headed out, was problematic. With back up from a dog sitter, our son was able to negotiate the required spray to the now hairless portion of her leg and still conduct his life. Other than making sure of coverage for the puppy dog, we were free. Free!

Imagine: Years ago I never would have imagined that within three months of our daughter completing her education, her mom and dad could be “free” to roam at a whim, or a weekend or a week. In the past leaving our daughter with anyone was problematic (though we never did it but for an overnight without suffering tremendously for the privilege). Boarding school afforded us that first sustained taste of freedom when she was 16 years of age, and we seized every strand of it that we could. But with each additional year of boarding school, we were brought closer to the “return” home that promised a regression to a form of servitude, though far improved, that rankled and frightened me. Now we are there with no such outcome. Starting early, working hard and being lucky brought us here, free at last, perhaps for the rest of our days, perhaps not. But free for now. She is happy, we are happy and grateful. How did that happen? Wow.

©Jill Edelman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2001

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