The Time Is Here
by Jo Pelishek
The time is here. It’s actually happening. I wasn’t sure it would, or ever could. And now it is.
It’s not that we haven’t had children grow up and move out before. In fact, it’s happened twice. But this is monumental. This is change. This is progress. It is success.
I can’t say the years have flown by. Sometimes they shuffled slowly. Yet the memories seem like yesterday. The newborn babe with wires and a heart/apnea monitor, a gastrostomy feeding system. Nights of blinking lights and ringing alarms.
There were weeks of teaching this child to swallow, months of home visitors insisting he drop a little blue block into the red box, years of endless therapies to help him walk, talk and play. Continuing appointments.
As the years crawled by, we dreamed of independence for him. Of friends and his own place to live. And slowly, the dream moved closer. It’s hard to journey back without splashing tears on the memories.
Karl. The second grader enthralled by nature, who predicted weather and described cumulonimbus clouds. The child for whom things came late and with much difficulty. The usually cheerful, often smiling, always talking kid. The young man who still hopes to create robots to help save the world. The son who required fourteen mom-hugs a day. The time has come.
The make-shift basement apartment has sufficed, while we’ve taught the routines of life. Not only can he speak, walk and swallow, but he’s become an artist, an author, an expert on living with autism. And now it’s time.
We’ll help him pack the boxes, order the utilities, check thrift stores for kitchen and household supplies. We’ll canvas friends for no-longer-needed couch and chairs. And the moving will begin.
Our groceries will last longer, our water bill go down. I’ll have more time and space to write. The time has arrived. This colossal step must be taken.
And if he needs me, or I can’t stand the quiet house? I’ll walk across the street to visit him.
About the Author
Jo Pelishek draws on her experience of raising five children, three of whom had disabilities. She has a background in journalism with a B.A. from Augsburg College, Minneapolis. Jo has worked as a disability advocate for several years, doing individual as well as systems advocacy. She and her husband live on a lake in northwest Wisconsin. When not working or writing, Jo enjoys time with family and Skyping with her granddaughters in California.