We haven’t blogged in a few weeks. Meanwhile, our son and our family lived with autism for 21 years.
Yes, Joey turned 21. We took him to a “21 or over” pub in town. Not that we would serve him alcohol, but just because we could. They make a milkshake with Jameson’s whiskey, and since it got into Happy Hour he downed two – minus the Jameson’s, of course. Plus a huge burger and crisps.
Melissa and I mused about not having any kids anymore. They’re all adults now. Not that having Joey at home isn’t the same as having a kid, both for endless chores to support his day and for the simple joys that he brings.
Then came a magical email from his community based program:
Hope you are well –
Just writing to let you know that Joey has been selected to tour one of our residential homes. Keep in mind this is only a tour as we cannot provide a guaranteed offer until the moves committee goes through their processes and makes a decision. I can explain this more in-depth at the time of the tour. This is a first step that we take when we anticipate there is a potential opening coming up that fits his support needs.
And so it begins. Well, it goes into a higher gear – it’s been beginning for years now. This is the process that will move Joey into a group home setting, and make us empty nesters.
There’s so much to think through and more stuff lurking to feel. Yes, we’ve wanted this for a long time. But he’s more than just a demand on our time and effort – he’s in our hearts more than in our house.
So there will be the worries about “how he will do.” And the disorientation when all the routines he creates in our days become vacant hours. There will be deferred marriage maintenance to catch up on, no doubt. And financial readjustments. And, and, and.
And as the email said, “no guarantee.” There might not be an opening in the system, or we might not agree with a setting that opens up. So there’s no absolute date to mark on a calendar. Could be months, could be years.
Time that will seem to drag for some things and fly for others. We continue to hang on for the ride.