A Complete Program: Last week ranks as the first ever where all pieces of our daughter’s independent adult life were up and running. Miraculous. For starters, she went to three volunteer jobs, and none of them had a glitch. Ridgefield Crossings, the senior residence, gave her the task of escorting seniors to their yoga class. Our daughter helped set out the equipment (not sure what that was) and participated in the activity. From what I could gather, since she texted me later, the seniors did their yoga sitting on chairs, “I like it better on the floor.” Okay.
SPHERE: That evening, Thursday, she returned to her SPHERE group after a hiatus during her “lapse” and apparently had a “ball” — even singing a solo of “Deck The Halls…” Friday she had both her ROAR job, and The Complete Cat Clinic, whose chores included combing cats and cleaning counters, “Which I did not like.”
Pegasus and Angelfish Therapeutic Swimming: Earlier in the week, she and her apartment-mate swam with Angelfish, with the director sending me a video of our daughter splashing the water with one of those foam noodles, having a great aquatic time. Saturday morning she attended the second-to-last of her Fall Pegasus riding classes where she jumped, which she describes as a sensation like being in a “rocking chair.”
Weekend activities included walking a staffer’s golden retriever Cinnamon, attending a holiday stroll through the Ridgefield community to participate in the festivities which included ice sculpture displays and culminating in a holiday party Sunday hosted by the male residents of an Ability Beyond Disability group home in town.
The Dream Week: Really, what more could a mother want? I visited with her briefly on Friday afternoon and didn’t hear a word from her until Sunday evening, when she called to follow up on an earlier conversation with the name of the actress who stole Robert Mitchum away from Polly Bergen, his alcoholic wife, in a made for television 1980’s World War II series “Winds of War” based on the Herman Wouk novel. The aforementioned Mitchum paramour was played by one Victoria Tenant. Who could figure that one out? She did.
The Interloper: I just returned from a quick visit with our daughter and found her, her apartment-mate and two staffers seated at the dining room area table. The two ladies were busy filling out a questionnaire of some sort. All were totally immersed in what they were doing, happy and barely lifted their heads to acknowledge my presence. I felt I had interrupted “family time.” And I think I did. The interloper. Though our daughter knew I was arriving to drop something off and take measurements for the Katy Perry photos we plan to hang above her bed, the staff did not know. I busied myself, than chatted for a bit, and went home, kind of feeling weird. The normal weird.
Kids All Grown Up: I think our kids are grown up now. All grown up in the sense that our home is just a temporary place for them now. A place to “come home to” but not to live in. Leaves a hole, doesn’t it?
©Jill Edelman, M.S.W., L.C.S.W. 2011
Wow. I’ve obviously been following this whole journey, through the ups and the downs, but I never expected to feel so sad as I read your last paragraph, Kids All Grown Up. My daughter is only 7, so I’ve got plenty of time, but what you wrote resonated powerfully with me. Still, you made it this far. What do I say? Congratulations, or, I feel your pain?
Both are in order. I felt both. Thanks Jeff for sharing all with me, all this time.
The empty nest, a.k.a. the hole left behind. Both emotionally and phsyically. It’s what they fill the hole with when they visit home that you have to look forward to. I’ve got proof!
Filling the hole with shared journeys, building new memories and relishing the marvel that they are. That is your proof for sure.