I am not sure how it happens but it seems to happen, quite a lot actually.
I think you will know what I mean.
How many of you can think of those times when you have a great, air clearing talk with your children. Sure, you can interpret the word talk however you wish….
But you know after one of those talks where you make it clear to them all the changes you want to see. You know, picking up their clothes, cleaning their own dishes etc. So things go pretty well for a while, as they are on their best behavior, probably to avoid another “talk”. Then s-l-o-w-l-y you see a random dish not put away or a random sock sitting on the floor. Soon it is a dish and a glass and a sock and shirt. Then it is as if the “talk” never happened. It is this slide that happens so subtly, so slowly it is almost unnoticed. Not to say some things don’t stick long term, it is just that some simply don’t. And then it is time for another “talk”.
The same kind of thing happens at times now with Elizabeth, her goals, our plans and our follow through. We seem to have entered a part of her life when what used to work as a schedule or plan does not seem to take hold as well as it used to when she was younger.
It seems as she has gotten older that our best laid plans take effect but then somehow get switched, adjusted or get on the back burner for a while or dare I admit, forgotten for a bit.
It goes like this for us: we start off with a new plan. Maybe to do more oral motor work. (She is working on some lingering misarticulations). That plan holds up for a while and then something happens to interrupt the new plan or she is tired from her day so we don’t do the work at home or I am running her brother to practice and we skip a night. Whatever the reason for the hiccup, it seems once we get interrupted anymore, then the whole plan kind of follows the example above of the socks and dishes.
We end up making a new plan. Just like having another talk.
I am sharing this struggle because we are 21 years into this journey so I want to tell just what happens at this time for us.
Sometimes, I think that it has to do with her age, she is 21 years old.
Sometimes, I think it has to do with the fact that she has a busy schedule.
Sometimes, I think it has to do with the fact that her life, her needs and our journey simply change…a lot.
I would like to think it has a lot to do with the last one because then it makes me feel better and somehow less responsible. I have always enjoyed working with Elizabeth and seeing her successes but now life is complicated for her because she is in the world, using money, making decisions, relying on others to help her when she does not know what to do and pretty much striving for independence.
All those things she is doing makes us so proud of her but to be honest, there are splinter skills that still need worked on. And it is these skills that are part of the schedule we plan and find we cannot seem to keep up on. I want to feel encouraged that we keep trying and I have her tutor reassuring me that our very days are so accomplishing that I should not worry or feel badly about all the above.
I am working on adjusting my thoughts but after so many years, it will be a process for me and Elizabeth. Our journey together has taken so many twists and turns and now it is time for another turn, one that I share because it does not mean we will be stopping any of our work but it does mean acknowledging where life has her and I now. I think this might just be a good thing, strange to us, but good.
Just wanted to share, maybe these words will help someone feeling the same way.
I wish everyone a peaceful month.
Michele Gianetti author of “I Believe In You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey” and “Emily’s Sister”