Sunday, September 6, 2015

In a Week...

In a week, Jared will go away to school. In a week, he will share a house with other young men and a woman, fixing meals, completing housework, studying, and interning to see what type of job might be a good fit. In a week, my voice won't be the cue that directs Jared's life; he will be guided by his teachers and ultimately, by himself, his grown-up self. I thought of this yesterday, while Jared was trying on clothes at Kohl's. And as I stood there, outside the dressing room, I began to cry. My husband just looked at me, said nothing, but in that nothing, let me know it was all ok. And we laughed together; me through tears and him with the purpose of making sure to lighten a heavy moment. I will have to thank him for that sometime. He gets it. He gets that I need to do the mushy mom things, that I will do the mushy mom things, but he always helps me balance raw emotion with some levity; that is so necessary as we let our kids fly.
In a week, I will not hear the gentle swish of the C-pap machine above me as I stand in the kitchen drinking my coffee. I will not hear him ask: "What's the plan for today, Mom?" Because, he will be making new plans with new friends in a new place for the next couple of years. And, if he decides to let me in on them, he will call, or text.  In a week, I will not be making sure this mentor knows this and that mentor makes sure to do that.While mentors are fantastic and allow our kids to lead somewhat independent lives, I'm kind of glad to step back from it. These mentors, individuals who supported Jared and taught him so much, were a good stepping stone for my boy. They were in the right place at the right time, and when Jared is done with college, they will be there again, as he continues grown-up life.
In a week, I will still wonder if I did the right thing, sending Jared to college. Because his college is not like Jake's, but it is the right fit for right now. Some will say that it is not inclusive, that because it is a college for individuals with special needs, that it is more institution than college. To that, my sister, Kathy said," Aren't all colleges institutions? Aren't all places where people attend for one purpose, to learn, somewhat istitutionalized?" The dictionary defines institution as , " a society or organization founded for a religious, educational, social, or similar purpose." So yes, Jared is attending an institution, but so are we all if we attend church, go to college, are get my meaning.
In a week, Jared's college will enfold him, care for him, laugh with him, and teach him things that I can't teach him if he stays with me. You see, he needs to know he can go away from me and I have to know he can go away from me. And we both need to know that we will be ok. My dad once said, "They are supposed to go away, your kids; that's what you spend your life preparing them to do." All kids need to fly at some point, especially our kids with different needs. It may take longer for some, but this world needs to keep getting better, to keep creating opportunities for each and everyone of them to spread their wings.
In a week, we will drive away from you, Jared. We are not going anywhere, son; you are.

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