From the pages of
The Sublette County Journal
Volume 4, Number 45 - 7/6/00
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

The Time Has Come

In my article about our Down Syndrome daughter, Amy, in the November 20, 1998 issue of Sublette County Journal, I said that our goal was to prepare Amy to live an independent life. The plan has always been for her to have a job and be able to manage her own life. This was to be done with the support of an accredited agency dedicated to empower people with disabilities to maximize independence and to lead productive lives in the community.

The time has come. With the training she has received from her teachers in Big Piney Schools and through the services provided by the Children's Waiver and Vocational Rehabilitation, Amy now has the living skills to move away from home. Amy has been accepted to live in the supervised program of Community Entry Services in Jackson, Wyoming. She moves to Jackson this week.

Amy worked in the school library during her senior year and has volunteered at both County Libraries for several weeks. Thanks to all the training she has received from the librarians, she has the opportunity to begin working in the Teton County Library. Amy is ready to go.

So, after 44 years of having children or a child in the house, how will Bob and I adjust to being on our own? Not easily, I suspect. For the first time in 38 years, we won't wake anyone with, "Time to get up...get ready for school." For years our schedule has been as regulated as a school bus - take Amy to school, pick her up after school. And then there were CCD meetings and the need to chauffeur Amy to meet with her rehab trainer or respite caregiver. Old habits die hard so please don't say anything if we turn up at the next parent-teacher conference.

The TV ad about the parents saying a sad goodbye to their daughter leaving for college then once she is out of sight, they grin and ask each other if they're ready to live it up may be funny, but I don't think it will be like that. I guess some mothers experience an empty nest syndrome but I don't think it will be like that either. This is one of those times when we need to accept things as they are.

As happy as we are that Amy has this opportunity and as long as we have anticipated this day, we do this with a heavy heart. I have never found it easy to let any of my children leave the nest, but this is the youngest, the one who needed us most. It's comforting to know she will be in a home-like setting with young people to share her interests and social life. It's only possible to let her leave the security of her home because she will be in the care of people who have chosen to work with people who have disabilities. No doubt, all this will be far from my mind when the moment comes to give her over to someone else's care.

I have sometimes quoted the motivational speaker who once told us to trust God. The man said if you think everything is up to you, you will worry. He added. "If you worry, don't pray. If you pray, don't worry." I pray and I try not to worry.

I'm reminded of the advice I once gave to a friend who stayed up until all her teenagers were in every night. I knew she prayed for God to look after her children just as I did. I said that if we asked God to take care of them, then we should trust that He will. I believe that but Amy has always been with us and we will miss her - a lot.

I'm also trying to keep in mind that young people like Amy are looking forward all the time. At my age, it's far too easy to look backward. Hopefully, we can remember that her enthusiasm and excitement for her future is what's important.

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