When I first learned Joseph would have Down syndrome I fast-forwarded 20 years imagining my grown child always by my side, always needing my help and I was scared. I wasn't scared of the baby stage. I wasn't scared of the child stage. I was scared of the adult stage. I was scared of him being dependent on me forever. I was scared of my perceived loss of freedom.
Joe is quickly approaching eight. He's dependent on me like any eight year old would be. He needs me to crush his Thyroid tablet and mix it with applesauce. He needs me to wash his clothes. He needs me to help him with shoelaces.
He's also quickly becoming independent in many ways. He's figured out all the safety measures put in place to keep him from getting outside. He makes his way out the door without so much as a "See ya" and walks to his favorite spot - the water's edge. Last year I had to literally chase him around the yard for fear he would walk straight into the reservoir, but now this year he actually looks back waving his hand in a manner that says, "Go away, you are not needed. I got this."
Recently, while shopping, Joseph had to use the bathroom. The normal routine is to use the women's restroom, but this time he walked straight for the men's restroom, turned to me and signaled for me to stop like a police officer does when directing traffic. I reluctantly let him do his business on his own, waiting at the door in case of emergency. And you know what? No emergency ensued. I could hear him talk to himself, flush, struggle with the lock, wash his hands, and then he appeared in the doorway all happy and independent.
Sometimes I find myself feeling almost sad that he's so independent. It's hard to let go. It's hard to let him spread his wings in this harsh world. Independence means making decisions and living with the consequences. Is he ready? Am I ready?
I suppose we'll keep adding to his list of I Can Do's slowly, just like we do with our other children. I'll stand back, watching, waiting, and ready to swoop in for a rescue if need be. But, rescuing isn't easy when he's always running away from me. My early fears of him at my side 24/7 were just that - fears. And then as the realization of his independence sets in......
I walk into the living room to find this. Leaf added for privacy. We still have a long way to go. And that's OK.
Blogging has been light to say the least. Summer is a busy time. Three teens working at 5 different places. BMX racing and 4-H events are keeping us hopping. The garden is ready for a tilling and the house needs a good makeover, especially those school room closets. I hope to get back into a routine of regular posting, but family obligations come first.
Have a great day!