Reflections from a mother of a young man with Down Syndrome
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Another Chapter Begins
There are signs around the house...announcements next to envelopes waiting to be stuffed, a t-shirt with "Seniors 2012" written down the side, an unopened letter from the local community college. My son is graduating; sort of the end of one journey, and the start of another. My job lately seems to be that of "transition director". "No," I tell Jared, "you won't do chorus at school next year. You are a member of the church choir now. No, you won't take regular classes when you walk back into the high school next year; work studies, five days a week, will fill your time. No, you won't wrestle on the team; you will be the manager. You will wear the coat they gave you at the banquet, and you will help out where you can." I think I say these things more to define for me the role of my graduating son. Hearing it out loud makes it easier for both of us to accept, with excitement, yes, but also with some trepidation, that things are changing. I would be lying if I said I didn't have twinges of "graduation envy" as I look around at the other seniors who are leaving those hallowed halls to pursue dreams of their own. The dictionary defines "to graduate" as to receive a degree or diploma on completing a course of study; or to pass by degrees, to change gradually. I guess that Jared's situation best matches the latter. There is change happening, yet it is gradual change, and once again, I have to be content with that. I will be content, but not without some reflective struggle as, once again, Jared must define his place in the world. He is ok with it, I think. He wears his senior t-shirt with pride, looks forward to taking Gabby to the ball, and waits with anticipation to walk down the aisle to receive his diploma, his degree, as he changes gradually. And I stuff the envelopes, trying to remember all of the people who have touched my boy's life (there are so many), while thinking about the cake (there needs to be a gluten free option), and how I might decorate the tables. And the music; there HAS to be music. Jared wouldn't have it any other way. And neither would I.