By Lori DeCrescenzo
My son recently turned 16. He is now taller than me, needs to shave and is beginning to showcase his true personality. I have to admit, I really love who he has become! Was I ready for all this? In a way, yes and in some ways, not really. I find myself in some type of transition. It seems that my role as mother/caretaker has changed. While I am really happy and impressed by his maturity, I feel kind of caught between two worlds.
One world is a place where it is exciting to see these changes in him. He needs me less, loves his time with Dad, and is more independent in self-care than he has ever been. He is less stressed in situations that previously caused him a lot of dismay and all these changes are giving our family a little more flexibility in our somewhat rigid life.
The other world is the reality of now preparing for him to become an adult. Guardianship, disability insurance, reapplying to DDS . . .Oh my!!! Not to mention considering the option of Adult Family Care and what life will look like for him when school is over. But I am getting ahead of myself, as usual.
For now I am forcing myself to be in the moment. To truly appreciate and celebrate just how far he has come in his all development -mental, physical and social. Part of me just wants to stop time and enjoy this moment forever. I am finally here, he has grown up and all my concerns that I have had since his diagnosis at age 2 have just morphed into a way of life that is uniquely ours.
Now I don’t want to paint a picture of our lives being on Easy Street.. .they are not. I think it’s more about acceptance, adjusting and believing that we will get through whatever life throws our way.
Maybe it’s this time of year, Thanksgiving, being grateful, etc. I’m not sure. But what I do know is that sometimes you just need to stop the anxiety train of worrying about the future and just rest, even if just for a moment. I have a little over a year before I really need to get into the nitty gritty of adulthood. I know that this will be another time of transition, change and worry. I am not really sure what it will bring. The world of autism is constantly changing.
The one thing I am sure of is that this will be upon us very quickly. Right now I am embracing the really wonderful opportunities that high school has brought for him. . .Best Buddies, Unified Basketball, and the opportunity to attend prom! Since I am unsure of what opportunities will be waiting him when school is over, I am enjoying each one of these now.
So this Thanksgiving I am choosing to be thankful to be in this very moment. Next year, I make no promises.
I hope you and your family enjoy the holidays!