Friday, April 2, 2010


This gorgeous day, coupled with enforced time off, inspires me to take stock in where we are as a family today. As I walked through my neighborhood and enjoyed the sounds of the birds and the sights of nature's fireworks as buds burst into bloom, I considered the fact that things that were not options a year ago *suddenly* are.

We are overnight sensations, nearly a decade in the making. Yet we blend in almost perfectly with everyone else. And THAT, the blending, is the secret of our success. Perhaps I am a bit premature, but we are definitely on course to independence and fully realized lives.

The conference last weekend was an eye opener. I've been living the inclusion gospel for years, but even in some ways, I was still buying into the 'separate but equal' myth. I constantly need reminding that I don't know it all, as much as I'd like to think that I do.

This includes my own assumptions about B. We went ahead and took our trip into the city as planned, and of course his mom called after we had left. Hubby called me a jerk. I reminded him that we upended many a plan based on a phone call that never came, and I said as much to mom. So we reset for tomorrow, and hopefully that will work out.

Yesterday, we took a trip into the city that was our most successful ever, owing mostly to the boys' emerging independence and taking responsibility for themselves. We had our adventures, and Nic needed minimal etiquette coaching. Dinner at a fast food joint was a delight, because not only did Nic take his brother to the restroom, he also cleared and saved a table for us, then helped me bring the food over.

Not a big deal, on one hand, but once upon a time, a stop like this was onerous.

A woman waited next to me at the counter. She told me she was getting a tea and asked if I were from around here. I feel a little guilty, because I might have engaged her if I were alone. I noted later that she had dumped half a dozen or so creamers into the tea and that she was eating ketchup out of the packets.

I'm slow at processing. I was walking along with the boys a half hour later when it registered that she was obviously hungry and subsisting on next to nothing. She clearly had some kind of cognitive disability. I spent the ride on the train home beating myself up for not registering all this sooner, for not going over and asking her what I could get her for dinner, for not doing something besides registering her presence while I rode herd on my kids, making sure they behaved.

I'm not excusing myself. If I see her again, and perhaps I will, I'll make sure she gets a decent meal. And that she's okay. And if I don't, I'll pay closer attention to what's happening and act faster next time. Because there is always a next time when it comes to meeting people in need.

All this is tied into how our situation has evolved. What were not options before are possibilities for us now. Where these possibilities open up, it makes more community engagement possible. My kids are starting to notice these things, too, and the best example I can set for them is to not 'try' but to 'do.'

Because the more that they can DO, the more that they will DO.

But I missed an opportunity. And that will haunt me.

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