October 12, 2010 by Marj Hatzell
As it happens, one of them mentioned to me the other day that just because their “children” have moved out on their own doesn’t mean they stop being a mother.
I thought about that for a moment. They don’t stop loving and caring. They don’t stop thinking about their children every moment of every day. They don’t stop meddling offering unsolicited advice.
But what about me? What’s in my future? Bug Boy may go off to college or live in my basement until he is thirty and I’m not worried that some day he’ll strike out on his own, leaving our cozy nest to do his own thing.
But what about Bugaboo?
We’ve already begun preparing ourselves for the fact that he may be with us for a very long time. We’ve been realistic about his chances of living in a group home or in a slightly more independent living situation but we’re also prepared to care for him for a very long time. That is, if we live a very long time. If health permits. It’s something we never thought we’d have to plan, taking care of Bugaboo into adulthood and beyond.
Chances are he won’t go away to college. He probably won’t hold down a full-time job. Don’t say, “You never know what will happen!” Because even the highest functioning kids like Bugaboo are looking to a lifetime of care. We’re preparing ourselves for that. Bugaboo may never “grow up” or “move out”.
And we’re ok with that. Our main concern is that Bugaboo receives the best care possible, no matter where that will be. It may be with us, it may be in an independent living situation, it may be with his brother – though we’d NEVER ask him to do it and he currently insists he will take care of him “forever, so you don’t have to, Mom!” That’s my boy.
In a way, I’m fortunate. Bugaboo, at nearly eight, is very much like a toddler. He gets into things, has tantrums, is interested in toddler toys and shows. While he has made leagues and leagues of improvements since starting at his school last year, the truth is that he has a very long way to go. We’re so very with how far he has come but we’re also realistic about his current development. Believe me, we’d love to have him function as a “normal” eight-year-old. But we get to experience parenting a different way. We get to parent him longer. We have the opportunity to spend much more time with him, more than Bug Boy. We know him better than most people know their children. For that, I am grateful.
See, I don’t view Bugaboo as a burden on my life. No. He is a blessing. A gift. An opportunity. He makes our lives better, makes us better, changes our perspective on life. Believe me, it is rarely easy. It is never boring. But every little thing that he does, every milestone he painstakingly passes, we celebrate and appreciate. Bugaboo helps us see the little things in life.
A life worth living.