30 March, 2010

What my Little Eye Spies

I have always been a people watcher, on the lookout for future story characters, or friends, or mates (less of that now Honey, I swear). Lately I feel like I've seen more young adults on the spectrum out and about. It may be that I am searching for them now, slightly more aware than by pure subconscious perception, but not quite actively. I look for taller versions of my son as I watch Jake sprout up, knowing he will be 6'5" before I know it. I've been able to spot the little kids for awhile, sometimes before their own parents recognize the signs, but I realize now I've slowly been looking for those tweens on the spectrum, those kids who are just a bit older than Jake (that picture of Jake over there? I think he's not yet 2?)

I like to be prepared. My sister, Demanda, laughs at me sometimes when we are about to embark on an adventure of some sort. She can see what others may not notice: I am assessing a situation to figure out what disaster could/will befall us. Then she laughs a little more because she knows what disaster I'm going to say because she quite often thinks the same way (perhaps a product of growing up under my "Lives like Y2K is around the corner" father's roof). Being prepared makes me feel safe, and calmed somewhere in my racing mind. I do however understand the joy of spontaneity, which is why we have snacks, sunblock, extra clothing, diapers, wipes, medication and water in our car. I want to think I can just switch plans at a moment's notice, but still take care of the basics. This, by the way, is actually not spontaneity, but it's as close as I get.

My point here was, uhm, oh yes, my point is, I want to prepare for Jake getting older, but he is one thing I have a hard time preparing for. We never thought he'd walk, and he did. We never thought he'd hold his own cup, and he does. We never thought he would engage and he does, more and more each day. I don't know what kind of older person to look for as a guide for us for Jake because, thankfully, he is growing and changing and learning every day.

What's really hard is that I don't want to be pessimistic, and research options for living and care that are too restrictive or overly supported. I also don't want to be unsure of my ability to care for a 180 pound 16 year old, or a 220 pound grown man.

Many of the resources, the good ones, with peers and outings and support and a safe environment are small, hard to find, and harder to get into. I am going to need to pay attention now or soon if I want Jake to have "independence" living apart from his parents when he's 19 or 26 or 33. Of course, I also can't bear the thought of someone else not caring for him properly.

I'm realizing right this moment, as I write this, that I am not really ready to think about any of that yet. I want to. I want to have all the facts; have all the files ready to go. I want to prepare for his future, but it triggers so many other things, like money and health care, and we need to make a trust, and a will, and ugh, I forgot to put the clothes from the washer into the dryer, so hopefully they haven't soured since this morning.

And more than all that, if Jake is grown up than that makes Lucy grown up, and there I go into the rabbit hole: we aren't having any more kids, and here I am crying again, because there is something I just cannot let go there. More kids...no, that would be irresponsible.. but wait, no, but wait...

Everything is JUST. SO. BIG. so many things to think about, emotions to sort through, financial decisions to make. I feel like I need to start so many things, but in so many different directions.

So for today I will go as far as seeing older kids on the playground or at the gym, or at the store, and I'll stop there for now so I can prepare to prepare.
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