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
This stay-at-home thing is really putting our new house to the test. We had no idea when we moved in here a year ago how much we would be appreciating the extra space. We can be at home together. All the time. And not kill each other (so far). My son and I have developed a fairly decent weekday schedule. We toggle between active engagement on various things and downtime (for him) so that I can work or find other creative ways to ignore my still lengthy “to do” lists. Since we’ve been gifted more time at home together, my son is making steady progress on learning how to do his household chores. Enough so that I’m already scheming which things I could move from my list to his. He even expressed an interest in my sewing machine, and actually learned how to stitch a few runs for some cloth masks – perhaps a new skill in the making? (The sewing part, not the mask-wearing part. That won’t be sustainable for him, so we’ll be staying isolated a lot longer than most, I’m afraid.)
It’s been over two weeks since my son has seen anyone in person besides his parents. Well, we’ve waved to a few neighbors on walks around our block, so at least he’s had a glimpse that the world still exists. But he hasn’t seen “his” world in awhile. I’m seeing a bit more stress in his eyes, as the novelty of a “vacation at home” with mom and dad is starting to wear off. But I think this will be our new reality for a while longer. I’ve tried to explain to him what’s going on, using some“social stories” like this oneand offering some simple language like “We have to stay home to stay safe. People are getting sick and we want to stay well. We are safe at home.” We don’t have our regular supports of respite providers and day program and therapies and recreational activities. It feels strange and worrisome—I want our “team” to be safe in their homes, but to also have income. We are trying out some video conferencing sessions for some of his therapies and adapted recreation, and that looks promising. At least to give this kid something to do, connect with some familiar faces, and give these valuable people a way to have an income from a distance.Read More
I’ve been working on setting up some new opportunities for my son, new therapies and other classes he’s going to try out. This always means I am asked to describe him on intake forms and in phone conversations, to explain his “level” of ability, his challenges and strengths, his preferences and dislikes.
It’s a necessary evil, to attempt to distill my son’s attributes and needs down to shareable soundbites. Semi-verbal. Developmentally delayed. Autism. Anxiety. History of self-injury (but better). Understands more than he can say. Can read. Sensory issues. Likes Pixar.
But no amount of questionnaires, recent evaluations, or interviews could ever provide a full picture of this kid, the picture that you need to really “get” him.