The thought of our son packing up his autism and moving to a group home is something we’ve been waiting for.
But it will be disorienting for all of us. He’s a considerable influence on how our time, attention and energy is deployed every day. He’s as big a part of our days as are we of his. When he moves there will be lots of empty space and two people looking at each other and wondering, “OK, now what do we do?” As married folks know, that provides lots of room for misunderstandings, disappointments, fights…
Of course it won’t be all relief and freedom when Joey moves. We will miss him. He doesn’t just fill our time, he blesses it.
I (Tim) am much in touch with that today. I tend to be an early morning person and I use that time for, among other things, prayer. The pets are “mornings” as well, and after haranguing me for their food, brushing and the dog’s trip outside, they curl up and hang out while I pray.
He sits across from me, bundled in a blanket (for people with autism, that can be a sensory comfort apart from any warmth it provides). I play some recorded sacred music as part of my prayer time, and he takes that in.
He chit chats when I’m reading or praying silently – just little quotes from movies and his usual small talk, which isn’t really small because it is his way to build connection with others.
As you can see from the picture, this is a happy time for him. And it is for me. And it’s the kind of Joey time that Melissa and I, as much as we will enjoy a new empty nest freedom, will miss.