Sunday, March 6, 2016

Staying Safe and Calling Home

Last night Rob worked as usual.  There was a big MMA fight and I knew that he and two friends were going to a local restaurant after work to watch.  He had plans to stay with the friend for the night as he didn't know when the fights would be done.  This was fine with us, he has stayed with the friend several times now.

However as he left, we reminded him as always that if anything ever happened that he wasn't comfortable with, to just call or come home.  No questions asked, just make the safe choice.  I have always worried about this with Rob.  He is so easy going, so hakuna matata that I have often wondered if he would look critically enough at a situation and see that it might not be a wise move to be part of it.

Last night he made the choice to call home.  He actually could get home but had forgotten his key and would need someone to let him in.  I am thrilled that he made the call.  He seemed relieved that we did follow the "no questions asked" plan.   I did hear him tell his younger siblings that he came home because his friends were going to go somewhere he didn't want to be part of.  He is of an age where making those decisions is so very important.

With Rob, food has always been comfort, security and proof of love.  Lissa asked if I would make chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast and I said yes.  I asked Rob (who is usually only eating healthy/fitness oriented things these days) if he wanted some too.  He did and he inhaled about 6 of them, along with my artful strawberry garnish, which was the nod to healthy eating!


I have been the recipient of the family plague.  Congestion, coughing, chills, lots of fun.  I am on week 2 and despite the note of whining you may detect in the above sentences, I am not deathly ill.  For the most part I have been able to totter  toddle along fairly well.  But the coughing thing is hard and annoying so I did something I almost never do, and asked for a substitute teacher for my RE class.  An hour and 15 minutes of nearly constant talking in a hot dry room would not work particularly well.  And when the parents arrived to hear me hacking like a TB patient in one of those old movies, they would also be likely to be annoyed.

So although today is a "lazy" day for me, the days up till today have not been.  Thursday was Fiona's team meeting for her annual review and planning.  Her worker from DDS was there, as was her house manager, her behavioral specialist, and others who help along the way.  It was by far the best meeting that we have had.  Fiona did an amazing job advocating for herself and articulating things that she would like to achieve.  The DDS worker and I helped Fiona to open up and explain what made her uncomfortable with the experience. This helped us to suggest changes to the process so that she might be able to achieve success.

The DDS worker also makes unannounced visits to the home that Fi lives in.  Apparently this is mandated so that she can make sure all is as it should be.  Unfortunately, partly due to the way the DDS worker presents herself and partly due to Fiona's own lack of understanding, Fiona hates this. She feels that DDS is putting "her business" out for the other peers in the home to be knowing.  Intensely private, this has caused Fi to have a full blown meltdown and numerous late night calls to me when these visits occured.  I brought it up, trying to frame it in a way that did not embarrass Fi, anger DDS etc.  I thankfully succeeded and there was a good explanation to Fi about what is really going on when DDS visits.  A plan was made on a place for Fiona to go and wait for the worker so that she was not sitting with peers and feeling anxious.  Fingers crossed that it works.

After the meeting, Fiona asked if she could take me to lunch and we went to a sub shop together and chatted some more and just relaxed.  It was really great to see her feeling positive about this and feeling like these were goals that she achieved.

Then yesterday, Cousin N came out to do the maintenance session for Lissa's locks. They are coming along beautifully and it was fun to hang out while she did Lissa's hair. Fiona was home for the visit and N brought her daughter C who hung out with KC and Fiona and Rob while Lissa got her hair done.  I cooked a big lunch for everyone and there was also an epic nerf gun battle.

Blending families, understanding where we all come from and what gifts and challenges we bring to relationships takes time.  N and I have a really blooming friendship.  Lissa considers her her "big cousin" and N is deeply touched and considers us family as well.  Just watching everyone interact together and listening to the laughter and sharing the dreams fills me  with joy.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

KC will be Coming of Age next church year!

That's KC in the pageant at church this December.  That guy is going to be in the Coming of Age class.  As in NEXT YEAR!  I can't quite wrap my head around that.  KC is my fey child; a lover of music, dance, art and magic.  Not ready to give up fantasy, yet also funny, intuitive and smart.  Coming of Age will be great for him. It will challenge him enough for growth but give him the steadiness and security of beloved friends and compassionate adults around him while he does that.

This past week our Religious Ed director asked the kids who they would choose as a possible mentor.  Mentors are really important in this process.  Good ones are more than there on Sunday mornings.  In Rob's case, the mentor really has become a true friend and they seek one another out at fellowship time.  Rob finished COA many years ago, so it is a testament to the program and the participants.

KC chose Jane, an artist who attends our church and with whom he has been friends for years.  He took some art lessons from her for a time and loved that.  Jane gets the softer side of KC--he's not the guy who wants to go throw a football around with another guy.  He cheers on the Patriots but doesn't really follow anything else.  And he still dances in the aisles of our local supermarket.  Jane is a perfect fit for him.  A mom of 2 boys herself, she is also quirky, emotional and uber talented.  She will simultaneously help our boy grow roots and spread wings.

But KC in his own quiet way, also is an agent for change here.  In all the years our church has offered this program, kids have unfailingly chosen their mentors along gender lines.  Till KC.  It would just never occur to him to do that.  He likes guys, and has guy friends but there is a dearth of artsy guys in our church at the moment and that is the component in a personality that he craved the most.  Our director was fine with it, Jane was honored, KC does not know yet that his wish was granted.

Now I'll go sniff and remember the wee little fellow who used to fit in doll clothes when we brought him home.