We are sinking into home. Beds. Couch. Kitchen sink. Julia’s cello. Machines. My first batch of tomatoes from the Farmers’ Market being sauced as well as a small pot of tomatillo sauce. To be ultimately frozen for winter dishes. I have missed the wonderfully large bunches of basil at the market. I have none growing. Me thinks no pesto this year.
Julia and I have been cutting down out terrace garden beds. Most of the plants are not in compliance with city regulations. I need to clean and weed all the other beds now and see what I can fit in. It will be another week before transplanting can begin. Probably. Unless we get more rain. And here I thought I was going to spend the fall seeding and cultivating my lawn. I do not enjoy lawn work and usually find reasons to avoid it, as long as I have something green between garden beds. I remain sad and resolved. I could drastically trim now and see if anyone complains next year, but I felt my paranoia rise when a car slowed down as we trimmed and at heart, I am a rule follower. I gritted my teeth and teared up some as I cut. I will miss some of the shapes that have been created in that garden. I hate losing it but . . .
IDS, our former therapy provider, has agreed to doing three transitional sessions with Julia, two this week and one the next. Julia has agreed to do one. She is sad and angry. I am expecting she will do all three but I’ll follow her lead on this.
Last week’s phone calls and emails are bearing some fruit. The Waisman Center is starting up two treatment programs this fall and Julia is on their list. No guarantees of when these will begin or how long they will last. We did an initial assessment at one of the other therapy providers in town. Their model is different from IDS, groups are interest driven—book clubs, broadway club— and I don’t think the therapy plan will be as specific as what we’ve known. But I like the person we spoke with and we are waiting to take the next steps to work with them. I’ve checked them out as much as I am able and they seem to have a good reputation. I’ve not heard negatives.
The silver lining in this awful dark cloud is that we found out that Julia would be without therapy before some of the other families who were also at IDS was told. It meant that I was probably able to call other providers a bit sooner than other families and possibly get some high positions on lists. There are very limited resources for teens on the spectrum and so there will be wait lists for what there is soon. Resources may expand with families leaving IDS but I am still set on getting Julia back to therapy as soon as I can and not wait for market adjustment.
Another thought I had was to use this time to have her engage in other activities—music with a cello group led by a newly retired music teacher or sport. She wants to swim. I have to see if that is possible. Could these activities be as valuable as programmed therapy? I just don’t want to waste her precious time. I want to be able to encourage her growth and social engagement. This is where the crystal ball would come in handy. What is best? What works? What will move her along to a good life?
I want to expand her world.
Today, we did some some expanding. Julia has not been to many parades. We may have tried watching one or two when she was first home, but crowds scare her, unexpected and loud noise is hard, and she hates balloons. But we’ve met all those in our travels, especially this year and Julia did well. So today, we tried marching in a parade. There was an opportunity and doing is usually better for Julia than watching. We marched behind our church’s Standing on the Side of Love banner in our local Gay Pride Parade. Julia carried a rainbow flag. She walked the entire way—not that long considering our recents tourist treks but still considerable for her. She was not phased by the many balloons and she seemed happy with the loud music. She wore ear plugs but decided not to wear head phones. Our contingent was not at all flashy which Julia regretted. She loved the tutus and sequins and crowns and extravagant makeup. She spent a lot of time watching while she walked. Looking up and out can be a challenge. She liked people cheering for her. And waving. And the messages on banners and posters and the sides of cars and trucks were what I believe in. And a bit of political education.
When it was over, we talked about the parade over Madison gelato. I wanted to know if she understood why we were parading. “So people can love who they want to love and get married when they want to.”
She got it.