Today is a different kind of day. Today is a bit of a new beginning. It seems right. It seems peaceful. It seems like I am finally ready to untie the strings of mama's apron and let him learn to fly.
We have a vacation from school for the Carnaval holidays. This is what I would compare to Americas Mardi Gras. The same celebration. The beginning of Lent and the arrival of Easter. And it's a busy time with parades and dressing up and parties and celebrations. We've attended 3 parades since Friday...and the boys have enjoyed becomeing someone else entirely and filling sacks of candy thrown from decorated floats. But today, there is no parade. There is no carnival. Today, there is a young man attending his school daycare, playing with children, eating lunch with new friends, riding the bus home alone. Today, for the first time, I have given up the need for false pretense of everything being hunky-dory, and allowed my son to go off on new adventures of his own, while Jari and I syat home to play and enjoy the peace that life without Kaeden brings.
That may sound hard and disheartening, but standing in my shoes, you may view it differently. I am giving Kaeden the chance to have new experiences, while allowing us a chance at a break from autism for these hours while he is away. It is the first time I have used the school daycare, and upon his acceptance, decided that it is time. Kaeden needs the security of having people choose what he will do, a schedule which can be determined in a school setting much easier than at home. He can play and have his lunch and do what they have already scheduled into his day. Jari and I played Monopoly today, we colored little puppets and played knights. We watched a movie and ate when we were hungry. Jari is now outside hammering away on a 'secret' project.
Kaeden is not home to dictate what will happen throughout our day. His mood isn't determining what we can and cannot do. We don't have to worry that a fight is on the horizon, or that if he doesn't eat right now our lives will fall apart. We don't have to give him reign of the bank during our game, or let him pick which movie we will watch. We can just relax and let things come as they do, without the added strain on our shoulders.
I am happy that I made this choice. I am happy that I finally feel Kaeden is ready to make advances into society without mama by his side. I'm a bit nervous about his solo performance maneuvering the bus system, but confident that with th schedule in his pocket, he'll manage it okay. And Jari and I, well, my little guy is able to be just that...MY lil guy. No big brother to overshadow him. No autism to stand over his head. Just a kid and his mama having a fun, relaxed day at home (or at the park, or on a bike ride, or at the ice cream shop...we can choose without worry of meltdowns and anger and glassy eyed sensory overload). This is the first step in the right direction. For all of us.
It has been a long time coming. For many reasons, we haven't taken this forward step. There are waitlists and red tape to jump through. There was a mama afraid of letting her son go. Afriad of sending him off into the world. But, as Kaeden grows and his issues become more evident, I am finally free of that tight hold I had on him. Emotionally I cannot handle more problems. Physically I can't tackle the stress. And it is time...we can all fill our new roles with a sense of security and faith. We can all be a family, with our own agendas. With our own space. With our own freedom.
And when the time comes, this is the step that will lead to Kaeden leaving home, living on campus, having his own life, still in my heart, still with my concerns, but each of us able to be free. And come together again at the end of the experience with more patience, more energy, more smiles to share. And a lil guy who knows what it means to live without autism commanding his life. Where a kid can just be a kid.