Sunday, May 13, 2012

Disability and Work, Revisited

It's a long time since I wrote a post on Disability and Work. At the time, our family, our son, was struggling with severe mental illness. He wanted to die. He hurt himself sometimes. He could not be left alone, or even out of my sight. Work had become untenable; I was canceling classes and office hours right and left. I was distracted as hell. My child wanted to die, and I just didn't care about a bunch of Freshman English essays.

So I left work and we went from pinched to officially broke. Planning every expenditure down to the penny. Saying no to the kids. A LOT. Buying only used clothes and very little else, besides food. And buying that at places like Aldi. That part of it has not been fun.

But it's been great only having one full-time job. Because before I was doing at least two. Maybe two and a half.

And now, things are changing again. Because Benjy is so much better. Unbelievably so. (Well, he did have a breakdown last week as a result of an unpleasant encounter with another kid at the Joy School. But that was the first in months. And he recovered pretty quickly.) And we are afraid if I continue working just one full-time job, an unpaid one, we will never be able to retire. We are beginning to imagine Lars hobbling to work with a walker. And it's kind of funny but mostly sad.

So as of tomorrow I am throwing my hat back in the ring. I'm applying for college administrator positions (I think I'm finished with teaching).

We've had to really think this through. Because if I go to work it will mean that Benjy has to take the SPED van to and from school, instead of driving with me, and he'll need to let himself in the house after school and hang out until Saskia gets home. This scares me a little. But on the other hand he's twelve now, and in sixth grade. If not now, when?

Of course, I'm counting my chickens. I don't have a job yet, and it may take a very long time to find one. But I'm looking forward to having a couple hundred dollars to put in our empty savings account each month. And being able to replace our roof when it decides to implode on us (this will probably happen soon). And being able to pay off the thousand dollar car repair expense we just incurred.

I don't know what the future holds, and whether, if I get a job, I"ll be able to keep it. We take things one day at a time here in the Delaunay household. But I'm starting to develop a slightly longer perspective. Like maybe looking out a month at a time.

I'm doing that right now, and the month of May looks like it's going to be fair and warm.