I began this when I woke up and drifted to my favorite chair to write a bit before getting back to a few more z’s. Finishing up about twelve hours later.
It is the darkest part of night. A lone cricket in my little, dry vegetable garden sings intermittently. A very slight breeze comes in through a dining room window. The breeze and the cricket’s song are all that breaks the solemn, velvet of the night.
A week ago plus a few hours, I dropped Julia off for a week long camp. Amazing. The week and the weekend before went so well. Again amazing.
The last day of camp, the units put on a camp show for caregivers. Last year, Julia would not participate in the show. This year she did! Not anything amazing but dancing and singing with her cohort. At the end of the show, the counselors acknowledged those campers who were aging out this year. This can be somewhat of a trigger for Julia—she has always hated talk of growing up and getting older. And of course, this was an announcement of transition. Well, she did great! She took the tee shirt offered, hugged her counselors and sat down.
Friday evening, we went to check out the Fan Expo. We got shirts—we included Julia, Michelle, her therapist, and me. The arrangement was that one of us would be with Julia during her working time, and those nice folks at Fan Expo thought that by giving Michelle and I shirts and credentials, we could blend in with staff and not be conspicuous. We found out where Julia would be posted the next morning, checked out the art and books in the exhibition hall and went home for a good night’s sleep.
Julia was not and could not be completely independent working at Fan Expo but she was interested in learning how. We worked the long day on Saturday and by the end of it she was doing more to take care of her panel room. She was doing a more accurate job of counting participants at the panels. She readily welcomed people into the room and gave directions to the restrooms and the exhibition hall—the two most popular questions asked of her.
At the end of the day, we did crowd control for the convention’s main event, The Four Hobbits: An Unexpected Reunion. The event reunited the four hobbits from “The Lord of the Rings”—Frodo (Elijah Wood), Pippin (Billy Boyd), Merry (Dominic Monaghan), and Samwise (Sean Astin)—for an evening of stories and questions. Somewhere between two and three thousand people wanted to crowd into the performance space and we were part of the green shirted crew who lined them up, and separating them into gold, silver and general admission tickets. At first, Julia and I were assigned to the same spot. When one of the supervisors asked for volunteers to tend the gold line, Julia volunteered and went off with another young woman without a look back. Pretty cheeky of her to go off without me, but I knew she was safe.
We had the chance to see those hobbits from a very nice vantage place and we stayed for about a half hour listening. Neither of us was too enthused about seeing those guys and so when the red shirts started releasing the green shirt staff, we left for home. By that time, Julia had worked from around 9 in the morning until somewhat after 8 in the evening.
She went back the next day and worked the. day, again doing better and better throughout the day. I was so impressed by her persistence and her willingness to make mistakes and learn. Gives a mother bear a teaspoon of hope that just maybe some kind of a life can be carved out for this kid.
The next morning, Monday, Julia got on the bus for Camp Winadu, in Pittsfield, MA. Five days, four nights away from me—never have I ever! Waiting for the bus to leave, one of the families was late, a bunch of parents stood waiting—checking watches, tapping feet. The bus windows were dark, so we could not even see the kids, and no one was getting off the bus. One mother said that she was dying to leave but didn’t want to feel like the bad mother—she was leaving for a few days vacation and wanted to get started. There was much commiseration and laughter. Interesting how many of those parents were leaving for somewhere right after the bus left.
Julia called late Wednesday afternoon before her supper to tell me she was doing okay. She complained the I had forgotten to pack her water bottle—I don’t think it was me, but that was the extent of her complaints. She texted a picture singing karaoke on Wednesday, and another one on a hike the next day. And she came home tired, a bit dirty and very happy.
Today began the first of two unplanned weeks. Pretty rare for me-absolutely no plans at all—but there should be a new baby any day now. I wanted to make space for whatever happened, for whatever use I could be. Possibly I’ve made too much space. It is just Monday and I am actively waiting—a bit of worry, some anticipation and wee slips of excitement. It is too soon to be waiting like this—the onset of labor would be much more appropriate. And I am just a bit bored already—I don’t wait well. And so, I am grumpy, a bit beside myself and not at all fun to those who have had to deal with me today.
The clouds and rain today did not help my mood although the garden is singing. There is no way I am wishing for the rain to stop.
We did errands today. Stopped at the library to return books, I sent Julia in by herself. She came out in an appropriate amount of time. Without books. And enthusiastically told me she couldn’t wait to get back to Community Connections and back to working at the library.
After the library, we went to a local bank and opened a checking account for Julia. She did moderately well staying on task as we worked through the paperwork and questions. She answered questions and signed documents. The manager was very accommodating and helpful, allowing me time now and again to explain something that Julia was doing or the reason for doing it. It was a good experience.
And then this evening, before supper, Julia’s phone rang and it was one of the girls from camp with whom she exchanged numbers. She exchanged phone numbers! When I asked later, she said it as if it was just something that she does all the time. Getting Julia to greet people who greet her is usually a challenge and here she was talking to someone. Not a brilliant conversation and for awhile it was slow and hesitant, but once they start talking about “hot” Japanese guys the conversation had some life of its own. The young woman’s mother asked her to hang up for awhile which Julia did and about a half hour later she called again and they were talking again.
When the conversation was finished and they hung up, I asked Julia about talking with this new friend. Julia said she liked talking to her. When I asked if they would talk again, she said, “sure.”
And that was that.