laywer and launching

Launching and Lawyers

When I was 17, I worked at a local restaurant in my home town. I was a twirler and I was in band and every day I had practice after school and then work, and then all the course load for my AP classes I was enrolled in. In the summers, I would take dual credit courses at the local community college and I was applying to colleges and praying Texas A&M would accept my application and make me the first college graduate in my family. 

Now, in just four short months, I’ll have my own 17 year old. (Which is weird, because I’m only 25, but still…;)) And most of my friends with their own 17 year olds are getting ready to launch their kids into the world. They’re going on college tours this year. They’re feeling that buzz and excitement about all the upcoming senior year to dos. They’re fine tuning those graduation trip destination plans.

But not me. I’m getting ready to hire a lawyer. To petition the courts to keep charge of my soon-to-be-adult son’s rights for his own safety and well being. Maybe not keep them all, but some of them, to be sure. Or maybe we’ll share responsibility in some type of supported decision making model. And instead of applying for college, we’ll be applying for SSI benefits. Rather than creating a wish list for his dorm room, we’ll be making a list of parameters for his Special Needs Trust (that is long overdue in its creation.) 

And that’s difficult. And that’s not fair. And yet, it’s a gift somehow. Because for many years and through countless sicknesses and surgeries of his, I wasn’t completely sure I’d even get to have these discussions about a future adulthood with him. And though it wasn’t supposed to be this way, it is. Embracing it and being grateful for it is all that we’re left with at this point. And I can still feel the sting and sadness when those graduation announcements begin to roll in next year… when those college acceptance photos are flowing on my newsfeed… when those nests around me begin to empty and mine will remain full, Lord willing. But I can also feel the privilege it is to make it this far. 

I will embrace the path we’re on and I will walk through this unique journey with my son, just as other mothers are walking through launching their child into the world. Because that, we do have in common. We all love our children tremendously and motherhood is just that – loving unconditionally and meeting our children where they are…be it in a courtroom, or a dorm room. 

There’s a very famous poem in my community called “Welcome to Holland.” Here’s an excerpt: 

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.” 

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away… because the loss of that dream is a very, very significant loss. 

But… if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

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