On Turning 21 in 2020

I have mixed feelings about my son turning 21 in this year of pandemic and turmoil.

His 21st birthday, even in a pre-COVID19 world, would not be like most kids’ celebrations as they come into “legal” age. I could be disappointed about that for him.

But at this time, I’m just relieved we don’t have to argue with him about the safety of going out—like some of his young adult peers who are ignoring medical experts and partying as if they (and their loved ones) are invincible.

He stayed home for pizza and cake and games with his parents instead.

Unlike most others his age, he’s not working or going to school, and that’s a loss in some ways. 

But, at this time, I don’t have worry over the safety of his job, if his college campus will be open in the fall, if his dreams and ambitions will be delayed. 

From home, he shared a virtual roller coaster ride with his friends from his day program, and listened to everyone singing a joyous if slightly disjointed “Happy Birthday” song on their regular Friday Zoom meeting. 

Although my son is coming of age during an important time in our country’s history—a time when many of his same-age peers are getting involved in political activism for the first time, debating over issues of great importance to our nation and (hopefully) gearing up to vote on them—he’s unable to play an active part or voice his opinion. I’m sad about that, remembering the causes I began to care about when I was his age. Read More

Stepping into the Next Decade

After our son’s 20th birthday celebration, my husband and I were reminiscing about this emerging adult of ours. I had to admit, though, that sometimes his younger years are hard for me to remember.
I remember all the things we tried and did, how crazy-busy life was, learning how to be parents and then how to be special needs parents.
But it’s somehow hard for me to fully remember him, his little personality, what his language and behavior was like when he was just a wee guy.
I catch glimpses in my memory of a happy, quiet kid—content to watch the same movies and read the same books over and over; to dance with his reflection in the sliding glass door; and to play in the sand in the corner of the playground while other children ran together around him. But I feel like I don’t remember as much as I should.
Then, I happened across this email, written to my girlfriends a few months before my son turned 10:

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Now, wait just a minute.

This can’t be right. 

OK, I’ve known this day was coming.

But, there must be some mistake.

Sure, I’ve been talking with lots of people in preparation for this day, arranging for things like “legal guardianship” and “transition” and “adult services.” Read More