Time’s a-wasting…but all we can do now is wait and be mature, right? Right? Yeah, yeah…right! Right?

J woke up in a surly, angry, cantankerous mood this morning.  That it threw us for a loop goes without saying.  That it could be he’s absorbing all the stress permeating our household is a distinct possibility.  The pile of paperwork we have to work through for the guardianship/conservatorship petition is significant (and convoluted,) and the delays surrounding the process are not helping promote peace of mind.  Outwardly, we are cool as cucumbers, but we know (and it roils at the bottom of the kettle of our anxiety) that the clock is ticking on this whole legal process.  I’m sure J, with his super-Spidey senses is completely in tune with what we are trying, very desperately, to mask from him…

So this morning was not bad, but it wasn’t good either…he left for school feeling happier, but not -by any stretch of the imagination- “happy.”  As I wrote in his comm book: it could be that he’s not feeling well (we are, after all in Flu Country, and he’s been vaccinated but…) or that he is seeking attention.  If it’s the first option, at least I bought medicine for helping alleviate the symptoms and I’m ready to nurse him back to health.  If it’s the second option, oh, how I wish he would just say “pay more attention to me, please.”  This morning, in the middle of a rant, I asked him how he was feeling.  He picked up his iPad, found the Feelings folder in his Proloquo2Go and simply said HATE.

At the age of nearly 18, it is easy to boil down our discontent to HATE.  I didn’t take it as a personal affront, and I know that J wasn’t in a hateful mood.  The symbol matched what he was doing with his hands and face at the time.  If he had found FRUSTRATED more quickly with his eyes, he might have picked that one instead.  In a nutshell, he was not in a good mood.

His shoulders were very tense, and he was angry.  The weather, after a few pleasant and unseasonably warm days, has turned again, and I’m sure he is feeling a wee bit of the winter blues, the stress we’re all concealing (something that it seems we’re sucking at massively,) and any of the teenage angst that is common at his stage in life.  I wrote a note, as I said, and I’ve been waiting to hear if we need to run over there to get him…

In light of our interesting (I don’t want to say catastrophic because we are not quite done yet) experience with J’s guardianship, I will offer some advice.  It’s entirely up to you to take it, or leave it…

1)  Call the court first.  They know, better than attorneys, what the process is and what forms you’ll need.

2)  Keep notes of what you’ve done and when.  Not only will they help you keep a timeline, but they’ll also refresh your memory and take you back to the person you contacted, when, why and what they suggested you do.

3)  Track down all the documents you might need, and make sure all the copies are official and up to date.

4)  If doubt nags at you, listen to your inner voice; it’s talking for a reason, and if something is bothering you or doesn’t seem clear, it’s best to ask and ask and ask and ask again until you’re comfortable.

5)  Make a list of what needs to get done, and try to come up with a workable timeline; give yourself plenty of time in case any issues arise that you weren’t counting on.

6)  If you hire an attorney, you will feel more empowered if you’ve done your homework beforehand.  Read about the process; learn the requirements; don’t let the attorney do all the talking and guiding.  If the attorney gets the impression that you know nothing, he/she could take it as a sign that they can take their time and lead you through a significantly more ornate and curlicued path than you need to follow.

A quote from The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel keeps coming to mind (in Dev Patel’s voice, no less): Everything will be all right in the end… if it’s not all right then it’s not yet the end.   It’s not yet the end, is it, of this whole convoluted thing, and so we have to trust that everything will turn out just fine.  (It WOULD be lovely if Dev Patel could come and tell us this in person, but we’re not going to be picky…)  I do feel like we’ve managed to cut a path through the entangled vines of the process; we also know that, in trusting the attorney, we helped the vines grow and become more entangled more quickly.  Now it’s not about damage control, but rather about having started from scratch and peeling as many layers as possible from the process without losing track of what it’s about.

We are worried.  We are more aware now of what being J’s legal guardians and conservators entails.  In essence, it is not much different from being J’s parents with all the obligations and responsibilities that involves, but it is daunting nonetheless.  It almost feels like we are now about to become J’s parents…on steroids!  The scariest part, however, is not that we are about to become his guardians, but that -because of timing issues and unexpected delays- our son will be guardian-less, unfettered from parental interference and participation, until the court responds to our petition by granting us the permission to care for, and look after, him.

I know I am being redundant.  I’ve spoken (written) about this many times before.  It still is something that gives me (us) pause: J is about to become an adult, and -as such- he will be able to declare his choices freely while assuming responsibility for them, and unless we actively request the honor and privilege of looking after him.  For a few weeks, I won’t be able to participate in J’s medical appointments, and even if I’m allowed to sit in, I legally have no say on what the treatment is…

THAT is some scary crap, I tell you…no wonder the anxiety is seeping out like a noxious gas…  :/

And deep breath…

and let it out slowly…

and deep breath…

and the clock keeps ticking…

 

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