This blog was initially set up as a means of communicating with my son's team. Since then, I've heard from other parents with similar stories. If you are living with challenges or journeying alongside someone who is, you are not alone. There are many of us. I'm a single adoptive Mom ( of a young man who lives with many abilities and many diagnoses. We have journeyed together through many challenges and a few adventures over the years as my son has tried to find space in this world that makes him feel more comfortable, an attempt made especially difficult when living with Attachment Disorder, PDD-NOS (Autism), Developmental Coordination Disorder, ADHD, prenatal substance exposure, etc. Some of the strongest elements used in this journey have been music, visual arts, therapeutic parenting, team-connection, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, boundary-setting, communication skills, community-building, continual lifeskills training, and elements of Theraplay. (Click here for some written resources.) On this journey, there is laughter and tears and growth and hope. The greatest of these is hope.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Robe, Reading, and Retreat

June 22, 2011

Chef has spent the past two days lounging in his bathrobe eating bon bons and watching soap operas. No, not really. But he has been living in his bathrobe, preparing meals, doing dishes, and reading. He hasn't put his laundry in recently and has run out of clean clothes so I figured this is as good a time as any to see if he tires of living in a bathrobe if left to his own about it. Friday will be the cutoff, though. I wonder if I'll need to prompt him for Friday since he is fairly set when it comes to doing our weekend errands, especially when we start running low on food items he enjoys.

(Along those lines, I might add that he's recently been pointing out when we run out of other items as well and, with much training over the years, he will now talk about what we're out of while we're at the grocery store and is just recently starting to independently initiate picking up some of the items after checking with me. "We're out of baking soda, Mom. Can I get some?")

Chef has three books on the go: Their Majesties and Other Folks, The Poems of Al Purdy, and Unraveling the Mystery of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorder. He says he's going to read all summer long.

Today I was offered a bursary for Chef and I to attend an instructional music retreat in another city. I hadn't applied for the bursary because it didn't work to try to take Chef along last year and I wasn't able to arrange accomodations/ transportation by this year's application deadline. When I was told today I could have the bursary regardless, I tried again to find a place to stay and transportation to get there and back home. A friend immediately informed me that she was going to be away that weekend and was wondering if we'd stay at her place and care for her dog. Perfect! Only two pieces to figure out - transportation and getting Chef onboard. I'd also had a bursary last year for both Chef and I to attend, including specialized meals for Chef at the time. I think it was the night before the retreat when Chef was outside in our yard around midnight wearing not much more than a tent with his head poked out through the zipper and announcing to the neighbourhood that he wasn't coming to the retreat. He ended up staying with the neighbours. That respite option is no longer available (aside from a couple of hours here and there if occasionally needed). Until today, I'd ruled out the possibility of attending this year's retreat. But after being offered the bursary without having applied and after my friend offering her place for us to stay, I told Chef about the opportunity. "Oh, that's good. Where will I stay?" "Well, there isn't anywhere else for you to stay this year." "You mean I'd have to come with you?" So, I had a very respectful yet very blunt talk with Chef about how family members do things for other family members and sometimes we just have to figure out how to deal with things with which we'd rather not have to deal, tried to demystify the retreat for Chef as much as possible and pointed out that Chef could gladly just curl up in a comfy chair somewhere and read to his heart's content, reviewed coping mechanisms, talked a lot about my friend's dog (presently one of two highlights of this impending "adventure of doom" in Chef's life), and about the wonderful food (you guessed it - highlight #2!) they'd had at last year's retreat. I sort of feel like I've pulled the pin on a grenade, and am thinking the next week will now be just chock-full of downtime/R&R! But I really do believe Chef can do this. Maybe this year, and maybe not, but I know he is capable of facing this challenge. Please let it be this year!

I was wrong! The tent incident didn't happen around the Retreat! I looked back at last summer's blogs and found the tent incident happened right after a week of camping and just before a week of attending a cultural event. It's a good thing we have blogs these days ;-) Chef did choose not to come to the retreat and did stay with neighbours, but that all happened much more mildly than the pre-Folklorama incident. So now I'm that much more hopeful for a smooth departure....

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