New Year…same old us…

We rang 2015 in by barely managing to stay awake.  J announced he was done with being up at around 11:45, and we got him up to his room, read him his story (he chose If You Give A Moose A Muffin…one in a series we refer to as vagabond stalker mammals begging for food and causing chaos,) and then we sat to wait for the clock to chime midnight.  Five minutes later we dragged our butts up to bed, and didn’t regret being “those boring people.”

On New Year’s Day we milled about, the most boring people on the planet, and took our recycling, stopped at the grocery store (where we were possibly the most alert people milling about,) and then came home to do whatever had to be done to keep our household going.  In the evening we weighed J…

We started 2014 with J still weighing in in the 280-285 pound range.  A year later we are in the 220-230 pound range.  Size 44 pants are way too big, and today J went out to the store wearing size 38 pants quite comfortably; we bought him two more pairs of that size.  We also had to buy him new, smaller, underwear, and then we had to label it because he’s not the only person who wears size L underwear in our household.  J is one pant-size above Dada, and two above TGG…  J is no longer making the Wii tip over the “OBESE” line when he is weighed…he is simply, purely, strictly “OVERWEIGHT.”

I know we’re probably too excited about this, and it’s not a big deal at all.  I know we probably build up this process because it becomes second nature when you have an autistic individual in your home.  Your entire life revolves around very small achievements, and you savor them because you won’t get some of the other bigger ones people tend to celebrate when they have neuro-typical kids.  We get excited about weight loss like other people get excited about their kid making quarterback; we get excited about a tantrum that has rhyme and reason to it in the same way other people are thrilled when their kid wins a debate.  This morning I was over the moon with joy because J didn’t want to wear one t-shirt because it just seemed SO BIG on him, and he was mortified that I’d take him out of the house like that…

J has downsized, and we are very happy.  We are even happier that he will eat what we’re eating, and that he will try something new when it’s presented to him.  J looks forward to going to the gym.  The kid…who wouldn’t move from the couch…except to get a snack…yeah…

So we enter 2015 with good news, and we are hoping for better.  We enter 2015 knowing that J will be 20 (yes, no more autistic teenager…that’s something to ponder) and that he can only stay in school until his 22nd birthday.  This year, my friends, is crucial in our future as parents of an autistic individual…this year we have to find the proper resources to move him forward for the rest of his life.  The very thought of “the rest of his life” starting in a little over two years is rather daunting.  There are moments when I feel like the girl who cries wolf…

Every year I spend a great deal of time asking myself what I’m going to do when J no longer can go to school.  I ponder the possibilities.  I weigh the alternatives.  I put it aside for a little longer. The thought of J being old enough to age out of the system can be overwhelming, and it’s easier to just push it aside than to grab it by the horns and wrestle with it.

Don’t think I’m living in La-La Land here.  I do think about it, and I do try to figure out the best choices for J, but I also have to be realistic about what IS out there.  When you boil it down to the most essential element, the answer is “not a heck of a whole lot.”  The system is not designed to encourage thriving among the developmentally-disabled population, and -in a way- it’s not supposed to; “thriving” is a very reduced concept when it comes to people with disabilities.  People cheer you on, but they don’t always really know why, and it frequently comes with a little sadness for the circumstances thrown in for good measure.

Do I wish I could find something that would make J happy when he’s done with school?  Of course.  Do I wish I could find a way to make his efforts profitable?  Of course.  Do I think any of these things are possible?  Not necessarily.  The thing is that, just like everyone else on the planet, J has to work to make a living, and that doesn’t always imply being happy with how you earn your living, or making enough to live comfortably.  We are all in the same boat, and we all have to do the best we can to move forward.  Whatever we end up doing, our attitude towards it is what counts, isn’t it?

So that’s the way we start the year.  J is closer to his target weight, and he is wearing much smaller clothes.  He is excited about winter break being over and school starting again tomorrow.  He is happy that his birthday is coming up, and that the weather will not be slapping us around until later this week.  We start out great.  We want to keep going like this.  We’re going to work on it…

And, between now and the 31st of January, I will ponder if I change the name of my blog or leave it as is and keep going in spite of J no longer being a teenager…  We’ll see…

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