4 07/19/2012 parenting Parenting Issues

(not) Home Alone

A couple of weeks ago all three kids went for a sleepover at Sean’s parents house.
I woke up the next morning and came downstairs to see Sean sitting at the kitchen table sipping on a coffee, going through his twitter on his tablet.
I made myself a coffee and sat down. And drank it. HOT.
I had nobody else to take care of. Nobody’s breakfast to make.
I had no fights to break up. I sat with Sean at the kitchen table and drank my hot coffee.I said to him “Omigod this is amazing! This makes me excited for retirement. Nothing to do. Nowhere to go. Nobody to take care of.”
Sounds so boring – but I could use a good dose of boring these days.

I sat daydreaming about the future thinking about that when our kids are grown up and we’re back to how it all started – just him and I.
It was a nice little bubble to be in – until I snapped back into the reality of what my life is.
It may never be just Sean and I. We may never be “empty nesters”.
We might have Cuyler with us forever.
As parents, our expectation is that we raise our children to be responsible adults who at some point will leave home and create a life of their own. Independent. With meaningful relationships and friendships.
That is certainly our hope for all of our children. Cuyler included, however I am very aware of the fact that there is a possibility that Cuyler may not be able to live independently.
There’s even a bit of a sting that as my kids grow up, some of the things that make life easier probably won’t happen for us (or at least on the same timeline as other families).
We should be able to leave the boys unattended for short periods of time over the next few years as our friends with kids similar ages to ours are starting to do.
I would think that in the next 3 years I could leave Cam to babysit Eva if needed.
But would I put the responsibility of caring for his autistic brother on him? No.
Chatting with a friend last night about travelling, I told her that even when our kids are older it won’t be as easy for us. I thought about when Cuyler is an adult and if Sean and I wanted to go away, would we need to find someone to care for him when we go?
We couldn’t just leave with a stern “No parties!” as many parents of older kids can do.
I really try not to get too far ahead of where we actually are. Where we are is not a bad place.  Sometime I really hate it. But then I’ll get a glimpse of such great potential for him – like when I came downstairs last week and Cuyler had made his own breakfast (toasted and buttered a bagel).
He’s had a rough week this week and I’m feeling somewhat exhausted with him lately. I think the thought of this being the rest of my life can be a bit depleting.
So I need to try and stay in the present.
<sigh…> I sure could use a few more of those kid-free mornings…
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  • Kath

    One of my friends just moved her adult autistic son into a home, where he is thriving and doing so very well. You will hopefully find a great place like this for Cuy, too – where he can be more independent, grow and be happy.
    Until then, enjoy those rare uninterrupted coffees!

  • Julie

    it’s always nice to have glimpses of normalcy. but i guess you’re right, you may have a dependent child forever. i find it hard to believe that that could be the case knowing how much you are working with him. just from what little i know of your family there has been so much progress made!
    hot coffee uninterrupted is one of life’s little joys!

  • Amy

    Based on what we know now, we will always have our son wit us, we began talking about our next move… The house with an apartment, he will always be with us, a basement apartment? It’s not negative thinking or not think positive! Hope for the best!
    It’s realism… What kind of parent would I be if I didn’t plan for both? Of course I hope he can live independently or with assistance… However…my future plans include 3… Not 2

  • Tracey

    Oh dude… I feel you. I think you’ve got the right attitude about trying to just live in the moment – it’s really all we can do, anyway – we just don’t know how the future will unfold. None of us do. But yes… le sigh… I feel you, my friend.
    I’m glad you got to enjoy your coffee!! xoxoxoxox

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