Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Fear

As I sit here this morning sipping my coffee and looking at the clock, I'm just one week away from taking Son2 to college. Next Sunday morning, he moves into his dorm. And I'm filled with excitement for him. But I'm also filled with anxiety and fear.

For those of you who have read along, you know enough about Son2 to have some understanding of all this.

The excitement is obvious, for sure. Any parent is excited to see their kid head off to college. Meeting new people, learning new things, taking a big independent step out into the world.

But there have been so many times in his life when we felt that college would never be a realistic option for Son2. The anticipation of him going to college has always been tempered by the reality that he might never go. The complexities of his disabilities just can't be ignored. This was something we knew might never happen.

But now it is. And we are grateful for the opportunity he has. Something for which he worked hard and struggled. And we are excited to see him take this step.

But oh, the anxiety! What will it be like for him? Can he make friends? Will he be able to be successful? Will he have a complete breakdown without the support network he has relied on for his entire life?

I have no doubt he can do the academics. He can read and write well. He can memorize names and dates and places. He can do algebra. He can formulate a good thesis and write a pretty good paper. He is no straight-A kid, but he can do the work.

But will he? Will he be able to make himself? Can he learn to organize his time? His materials? Can he handle the social demands of living in a dorm and attending college? Can he overcome the executive functioning disabilities that are such a part of Asperger's?

Yes, this is a program specifically designed to assist kids with learning disabilities. He'll have lots of help - if he learns to use those resources. And he wants it so badly. But will he take advantage? Can he?

And he feels the anxiety, as well. He just told me this week that the stereotype of the 40-year-old man living in the basement with his mom was, as he put it, "not entirely uncomfortable" for him.

We all have doubts. We all have fears. It will be a long week of final preparations, family dinners, and packing. And we'll move him in next Sunday with our fingers crossed and our lucky rabbit's foot in the pocket. We'll leave him behind....this kid who has never spent a night at a grandparent's house without us there. He'll be there in the dorm, on his own, starting college classes the next morning.

I'll want to call him Sunday night. I'll want to call after every class. But I won't. I know he has to do this.

But how long will it be before the fear goes away?

Friday, August 20, 2010

She says it so well

For any of you who have hung in there with me since early on, you've read posts about Son2 and his struggles with asperger's syndrome, ADHD, OCD, and anxiety disorder. Not an easy cocktail of special needs. And at times, I've tried to write about our struggles to help him and the impact on the family.

Tanya says it so well, I thought I would just send you over to her today. Our stories aren't identical, but I've surely carried Son2 from the store, leaving a week's worth of groceries in the cart, while dragging Son1 along behind.

Thanks, Tanya, for putting it so nicely. Let's hear it for Plan B!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

That will be 25¢, please.

Went with Son2 to the DMV this morning. Time to get that official state ID card, since he doesn't drive and have a flashy driver's license to prove he exists. And my dread was just how long it would take. The DMV, at least in CT, is not known for being speedy. People die and wither away just waiting in line at that place.

But I have to admit, they were quick today! We were in and out in less than 30 minutes - ID in hand with a pretty decent photo as a bonus.

But one thing had changed since my last visit.

The entire purpose of the DMV is forms. People filling out forms. Signing forms. Bringing forms from home that allow them to get new forms to be filled out. Forms.

And what do you need for all those forms? Something to write with. The usual pen-on-a-chain kind of thing glued to every counter top in the place.

There were no pens. No dangling chains where pens used to be. In fact, the most basic tool needed to actually accomplish your reason for going to the DMV has vanished.

In its place? Vending machines. Multiple vending machines selling cheaply made pens for 25¢. Yep, you gotta buy a pen to fill out all those forms.

I'm all about saving money, cutting budgets, reducing overhead. But seriously...shouldn't an agency that is all about forms at least have the necessary implements for dealing with those forms?

Just saying.

Monday, August 16, 2010

31 and Counting...

Yeah, I started writing again and then went away. What's up with that? VACATION!!

I have been very lucky this year to get 6 weeks off from work to enjoy time with family and to relax and have fun. Well, really just 5 weeks and 6 days, but rounding up sounds even better.

During that time, there has been very little computer work. What there has been has been fun. And more fun. And relaxing. And reading. And napping.

Let's take a quick inventory...

We've gone camping three times...or was it four? Either way, plenty of time to relax and swim and kayak.

We spent 7 nights and 8 days on St. John in the US Virgin Islands. Oh yes, just as awesome as you might imagine. Beautiful beaches. Lots of swimming and snorkeling. Fabulous food - all served in open air restaurants. Wildlife, scenery, ruins, hiking - we had it all.

Reading. I love to read. But during the school year I end up mostly reading things related to work. So far during my time off...9 books under my belt! And with almost two weeks left, I'll get another couple of books crossed off my "to read" list.

Napping. Lots of napping. A boy is never too old for nap time!

So was it all about being lazy and hedonistic pursuits? Nah. I've also done a bunch of chores around the house, helped the neighbor lady with some of her chores, helped move Son1 back home. And helped prepare Son2 for his move away to college. So I've actually found time to be productive when I wasn't reading, napping, swimming, snorkeling....well, you get the picture.

A few more days to go. I hope YOUR summer is just as awesome!!