Saturday, October 17, 2009

You Want Change? Really?

In light of the political situation over the last couple of years, a lot of people have clamored for "change". Me, change terrifies me. I want no part of it. My son will turn 17 years old next week. He's autistic. Although he's over 6 feet tall now, he's still child like in many ways both good and bad. On the good side, he is the happiest kid I know. He gulps life in. He still has the child like enthusiasm for just about everything. Watching him eat a giant cheeseburger is watching pure happiness. On the negative side, he doesn't communicate well and probably never will. He will always need a sympathetic person nearby to guide him through the day. Right now, we have the school and a fantastic Prince Georges County Park and Planning Special Population Department to help us. But the school system will only be there for him for another 4 and a half years. And the park and planning department is one budget cut away from leaving us adrift. Kevin is no longer a child even though I treat him as such. What will he be like as an adult? How will he be received as an adult? What will he do as an adult? I'm scared to find out.
My daughter is 14 now. She's generally well behaved, has friends, a good attitude, and plenty of common sense. But I'm scared for the changes that will come along for her over the next few years as well. I'm hoping she doesn't fall into bad habits, bad attitudes, teenage depression and angst. Signs are good, but I'll always be a bit nervous. Plus, I have so little control. She's a good kid who stays out of trouble and is not difficult to live with. But I don't know what her mom and I did to bring about that outcome (if anything). The only thing special that I can think of that we've done as parents is just to be there. Every other parenting trick we've tried on either kid has ended exactly as all of my diets have. We have a diligent week or 2, only to lose energy and enthusiasm for the project shortly thereafter. So there ends the chore lists and the study schedules and the incentive programs and we go back to muddling through. So I have no Plan B if a crisis hits on the parenting front.
Change at work also terrifies me. I can't stand it. The only thing worse than my current boss is the prospect of a new one. I'm a boss of a couple of people myself. Boy I hate it when things change with them. People get more experienced and want promotions and new responsibilities. Reorganizations occur. People suffer losses of parents and much worse, children and have to make it through. They have to be dealt with. Oh my gosh, do I want to apply for that promotion? What if I got it? As if. Friends have health issues. My parents are both still alive, but one day that phone call is going to come. What will I do then?
One of the ways I have been able to cope with my son's autism is to consciously avoid looking at the future and imagining hundreds of various "what if" scenarios. We long ago accepted the fact that he was autistic and moved away from fighting the diagnoses and toward an attitude of trying to make Kevin's experience as an autistic person as positive as possible. But its time to think of the future a little bit for him. No not by implementing weird gluten free diets or bizarre chelation therapies. There's still no cure for autism nor is the cause even known yet. So we have to negotiate Kevin's future path with the assumption that Kevin will remain autistic and will need help from others besides us. Believe me, this is terrifying.
Anyway, although I'm quite often dissatisfied with the status quo, I am incredibly frightened at the prospect of change.

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