The car ride was very quiet, yet my mind was filled with an enormous amount of chatter. She sat behind me clutching her extra-large anatomy book and overstuffed purse, her mind likely as filled as mine.
It felt something like her first day of kindergarten, yet now I was aware of my own sense of preparation like no other time in her life. Having been primed with all the information I could gather and months of decisions mulled around, I was confident that I knew more than I likely even needed to.
As I drove I thought about how fast we got to this point. It seems so cliché to say in a blink of an eye, but yet it really is a fast ride from kindergarten to adult day program. I was amused at how within just the past year, I have soften and grown into this place of ease and acknowledgement for what is. This does not mean I am passive, it merely means I am more accepting.
There was a time not so long ago that I was adamant that EVERYONE in her environment be vigilant with working on her “stuff”. That meant when she approached you with her oversized book, you did not say “ohhh what are you reading”, because that meant she had you hook, line and sinker without any efforts on her part to initiate a conversation. It also meant that there was a constant effort to sabotage her environment so that she would be forced to problem solve and advocate. This meant that she was sent to retrieve something that was not there, she was asked to go talk to someone who was busy, she was given partial information or materials in an effort to get her to ask. At home, I pretended to not have a clue what she wanted or needed and I was suddenly unable to open any items that I had previously been able to open without her having to ask me to open. Exhausting.
To be in the current mental place that I am in feels so right. I find myself asking her more often what would she like. Whether it be how to spend her money, which shampoo she would like, or offering her more choices in her daily routine, I am finding that easing into having adult person with a disability as your child is okay. There is less panic today than there was three years ago. There is a sense of companionship that has risen through the murky waters of disability. There is peace in my heart knowing that I did everything I could along the way to get her to this point. She has shown that she has the skills needed to work in an area she loves, the personality to be liked by others, the compassion to be a loving person, and the ability to be as independent as she needs to be.
I am amazed at my own shift in paradigm. I feel as though I was turning a gigantic page in the book of her and the following page says Part Two.
(side note: She had a wonderful day and I got a text mid-day that simply said “I love you”)