Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Shame and Joy

Funny how shame and joy often travel in pairs. At least, they do in my life.

Yesterday I wrote a post that was beneath me. Only I didn't know it until someone I love gently told me so. And then I was ashamed, and I was also flummoxed. I thought, "What the hell was I thinking when I wrote that?"

The answer is, I wasn't. I was panicking, and I was feeling very sorry for myself and my boy and my whole family. The former is a fairly common occurrence in my life. The latter, not so much. I can't let it be or I will just come undone. And that would not be pretty.

I deleted that post last night. Then I tossed around all night worrying about whether I am just a crappy person. And also about what was going to happen at 11 this morning.

What happened at 11 is that Benjy's hospital case manager and I met with him in the "living room" on his psych unit to tell him how his life is going to change in a couple of weeks.

I believe, in my heart of hearts, it will change for the better. But I did not know what he would think. and I did not know if this talk would hurt like hell or feel good, or whether we both would cry.

The case manager and I told him he will be going to a new school, and that he will live at that school. That it won't be forever, and that after he starts there he will no longer be lonely and sad, and that he will have lots of structure in his life and all kinds of wonderful things to do that Lars and I cannot provide for him.

Such as archery and tennis and fishing and boating and snowboarding and work with animals, and therapeutic horseback riding. And possibly haying (??) and ice-fishing. And overall, an expansive new world.

Not to mention, friends and friends and friends, and they will  be kids like him so they will get him, and he will get them.

We are going to choose between two schools and then he will go for an interview and hopefully in a couple of weeks he will finally find his place in this world.

God I will miss him. I told him today that he will be living somewhere else because we love him so much. And he got that. He did.

He seemed shocked for a moment, and it looked like he might cry. But he didn't. He said he was okay. And after I told him all about the new things that would be entering his life he said, "Thank you. Thank you for doing this for me."

And I held him and tried hard not to cry. He said, "Can I stay at my new school until I graduate?"

And I said, "One day at a time."

I didn't even mention that one of the two schools is engaged in repopulating a certain kind of quail, and every year during the season when quails lay their eggs they raise over a hundred chicks.

I couldn't tell him because the decision is not yet made -- but if and when I do he will go nuts.

Long-time readers of this blog know that Benjy LOOOOVES birds.

Anyway, the grace and maturity with which he accepted the coming change -- a HUGE one -- was stunning. It made me happy, really happy. And he was happy, too. I took him out for a celebratory lunch. And to Target to buy some much-needed shorts and PJs and a board game to play in the evenings with the other kids on his unit. He was with me until Lars came home, and after the two of them played some Frisbee we drove him back to Boston. To his now-home. And soon enough we will be driving him to another home.

But after the first month we will have him weekends if he wants to be here. And if not we will spend a lot of time in Connecticut or New Hampshire, wherever he ends up.

And let me just say this: none of this would be happening if it weren't for all the amazing folks who have devoted time and energy to helping Ben. Social workers and doctors and special ed administrators. And friends. Huge shout out to our district's SPED team, who responded to Benjy's need with compassion and without hesitation. These are pretty amazing folks.

Tonight I think I will sleep well. I hope so. Tomorrow's another day, and we'll see what it brings.


  1. I clicked over to comment on yesterday's post (I, too, have a relative who has done very well and know the emotions that involves). Then I read this and was so happy for you. I hope it will be a smooth transition for all of you.

  2. Wow, that is great news! But I must know, what is haying??

  3. Wow, wow, wow.
    Remembering your post from a week or so ago about how he thrives on structure and the necessity of friends, I'm so thrilled for this opportunity for you. Fantastic! Hope it goes unbelievably well.

  4. I thought that other post was very raw emotionally, but expressed feelings we all feel. The first part about your emailing people with a mysterious new identity was really funny.

    I'm very happy and excited for you and Benjy! It sounds like you and he are finally figuring out a good path for him...I hope you'll get to see each other pretty often??

  5. Thank you so much, friends. I so appreciate your good wishes! Anne, i might have made up "haying". I used it to describe harvesting hay into bales. Who knows what that's called --hence the question marks;)

    Colleen, we should be able to see him, either at school or home, most weekends.

    We will miss him but the three of us (Lars, Saskia and me) will have some time to get reacquainted.