This being a short week, and next week being the last full week of school for J, we are kicking “getting ready for summer” into high gear. Yes, we are thinking of all the fun that can be had, but we’re also thinking of all the hours that J will require some sort of occupation to feel more like himself, and less like that Grumpy Cat from the internet.
Our summer will start with a family trip to Washington, D.C. My feet are already tired, and I’ve yet to walk an inch. We have three different maps, and we have selected every single landmark, museum, tourist attraction we’d like to visit. As it usually goes with maps, it all looks a lot more accessible and close than it would in real life. And we haven’t even factored in weather. I have, however, factored in our ages, the persnickety nature of my bladder, and the fact that my heel now decides to take ten minutes to warm up before I can walk without looking like Long John Silver.
J hasn’t yet fully grasped the concept of “we’re going on a road trip,” but it’s mostly because he’s so focused on “school is almost out!!!!” There is the usual combination of excitement and dread attached to this focus. There are moments when I wonder if he’s just “let’s get it over and done with,” or if it’s “I can’t believe it’s almost over!!!” I had hoped that he’d be more into working in the garden, but there are two dogs that live about six units away from ours, and they are barkers of the most excitable and persistent sort. J sees them out there (he approaches the railing gingerly, cautiously peering to see if they’re there,) and once the first, sharp, relentless bout of barking happens, my son dashes into the house like his life depends on it. That the dogs are usually allowed to roam about their (unfenced) backyard without leashes adds to the stress. That the dogs will bark insistently regardless of how often they see us…well, let’s say we question their sharpness of intellect and the acuity of their eyesight.
Our garden, by the way, is doing quite nicely. We have put enough effort in to make it a good little garden, and we’ve learned from past mistakes and have decided to be more discreet. The abundance of herbs is in response to J’s up-and-coming cottage industry manufacturing soaps. Yesterday we made a batch of soaps, and it was slow going, but it will get easier, more efficient. J certainly seemed to enjoy it, and he was very happy writing his name on the labels.
This weekend I am mailing samples of the soaps to the ten brave souls who have volunteered to test and rate the products. This doesn’t mean that we’re ready to launch, but it does mean that we’re ready to get ready. The process is slow, and we’re not rushing it either. We want to make sure that when we decide the time has come to go “live,” J is ready for the pace of work that this entails.
Our main strategy is to diversify J’s work as much as we can. We have homed in on some areas that we’d like to explore: soap making, screen printing, block stamping, ceramics, and paper products. For some of these we will be combining skills so that J always has something to do, and so that he can be as creative as possible. The craft supplies closet has become a very convoluted and interesting place. I am going to address it as soon as I figure out a friendlier way to organize it…maybe when we come back from D.C. and I feel the urge to sit for hours, sorting this, that and the other.
There’s a lot of reading and note-taking involved in all this. There’s a lot of brainstorming, discussing, suggesting, outright nixing, flashes of inspiration, and going off on wild tangents. Once in a while I have to rein in my wild imagination, and my optimistic view of things; I often remind myself that to everything there will, hopefully, be a season…and that season might be autumn or winter, or maybe even next spring.
J’s spot in the I/DD Waiver wait list calls for seven years of patient waiting, and we cannot just sit idly until something happens in that particular department. SO we’re being as bold as we can be within our circumstances, and we’re willing to try something that may end up being a magnificent wild goose chase. It beats waiting. It beats feeling frustrated and let down by the system. It’s a lot of work for everyone, and J might decide he’s not into it at all.
Ten days from now school will be out, and we’ll have to rally and help J adjust to this new routine. A year and ten days from now, the routine will change forever and we’ll adjust to that, too. There’s nothing that says we can’t be bold and decisive at a modest pace. Our courage is not diminished by our discretion…it’s just dispensed in smaller, more prudent quantities…