Sunday, April 3, 2011
In high school I read the book Power of Now. Since I was 15 years old I have tried my best to live by the lessons of that book. The lessons are to live in the moment of right NOW and soak it all in; don’t waste my time looking at the past because it is in the past and finally don’t project or worry about the future because it’s not NOW. I consistently remind myself to live in the moment, enjoy the moment and appreciate the moment I’m in. The challenge I’m having now is that I need to look at the big picture. Cali is going to be a teenager this year and she has only one year left of Middle School. Instead of class picnics we are having meetings talking about adult transition and what happens after school ends for her at age 25. In this meeting are Cali's teacher, the other special needs parents and the guest speaker, who is presenting a video from 1970 showing college students who have various handicaps bagging groceries or dusting library books. My wheels start spinning in my head. I can see my moments of NOW expanding to the big whole picture....the future. Wow what a scary and intimidating thought. We are not thinking about colleges or sports or even academics. Instead we are having to think about what happens next for Cali after school? Will Cali live with us forever? Will she live in a group home? What skills does she need to acquire so that she can be out in the community independently and preforming at a job. Will Cali ever drive? Will she have a boyfriend? Even will she have kids? What will Cali be capable of doing when her school ends at 25 years old? I sit there in awe and listen to the speaker tell us all about the work programs available and how we should already be putting Cali on a list because sometimes the group homes have a three year wait. He tells us that we have to start planning, looking ahead and working with Cali to get her as independent and functional as possible. I can’t help but think that she has so much to learn its overwhelming. As of right now she has no concept of money or time. She is extremely dependent on us and I don’t see that changing. We dress her, make her meals, wipe her butt! This big picture is now open wide with questions it is crazy scary. I just don’t see much light at the end of the tunnel if we are expecting she is going be independent and functional on her own. I start to feel like I’m going to have a panic attack. I feel like I am gasping for someone to come and save me from drowning. Someone to hold my hand and tell me all the answers so thinking ahead will be less scary. Nobody comes to our rescue and I don’t faint on the conference table which is always good. Instead I gather my thoughts and tell myself one thing at a time, one day at a time. I will sit down with our team of therapists, doctors, teachers, family and friends and we will work together to map out goals and desires for Cali. I have to accept that Cali ‘s future is different and our family’s future is different. I have to let go and trust that with love, hard work and an open mind everything will be ok no matter what the outcome or abilities. Cali's life isn’t easy to plan but really I can plan all day and night until my face turns blue but the ONLY THING I AM SURE OF IS THE MOMENT IM IN RIGHT NOW. There’s something to be said about the feeling of contentment and happiness and living in the NOW.