All parents have in some way, shape or form, made a decision to have a child, take care of them and protect them. It’s hard as they start to grow up and want to leave you and be their own person, without you, the one who’s been there.
In some instances (correct me if I’m wrong), on one hand, you may want keep your child little and take care of them forever, on the other, its nice to watch them grow up into their own person. And, it’s nice to have your break once your kids are fully grown.
Most mothers and fathers cut the umbilical cord at birth, which I’m sure is symbol for something. Letting go maybe? But then there’s those over protective, won’t let anyone help, questioning things that involve their child and are out of their realm, I call them non-cutters, stringing their children along for the ride.
It’s even worse if the child has special needs. You have to be there for them, you have to take care of them and why wouldn’t you? You want them that much closer.
Some children with special needs, who then become adults with special needs, are going to be dependant all their lives. That idea in my head brings unspeakable joys and fears. Some will become independent, still needing care, but learning to care for themselves, pushing their parents aside. And then there are the kids that lie in the middle. They’re fully dependent for most of their needs, but can drive their own power chair for example and/or communicate verbally or using a device with 100% accuracy.
I have clients that fall into all of these categories. The hardest, are the ones that lie in the middle, dependant in body, but independent in mind. Not the client is hard to deal with, their parents are. I know why they are, but it still doesn’t change the fact that it is hard.
You see, I work for my client, if he says “Marj, I want to go to the bar with my college friends, take the subway home (and not get picked up by mom), and can you help me to bed.” I say “sure. That’s sounds like fun.” In the back of my mind, I know were going to be getting home at around two am, to a mom waiting at the window because she can’t sleep until her son is in bed, I am going to get diplomatically yelled at for coming home so late and pushed out-of-the-way because she can put him to bed all by herself. By the way, he is 25.
On the other hand, I can see the immense worry in her eyes, hear the tears that almost come when she said she couldn’t sleep and feel the anxiety reeling from her pores. I couldn’t imagine that feeling; yet, I work for my dependant/independent client and have to advocate for him.
So, you see my options are limited. Help my dependent/independent client advocate for himself, but also advocate on behalf of him. That’s not all, give him opportunities to, live as a twenty-five year old should, get ready for when his parents are gone among other life changes. That’s not all, I have to calm down a worried mother, convince her that her son won’t leave her, help her speak to him in a way that is respectful of his age and needs and be a friend, because she doesn’t have any.
Why play both sides you ask? Why be the sensitive friend, the advocate of her son whose views don’t always match hers? It’s not my job, but I feel like that is the way to give full care. Support the person that most needs it, by supporting the whole family as a unit! Also, this family, I have worked for them for twelve years. That’s a long time to know someone and work in their home, so personally with them.
As, much as mom drives me crazy, her son overly apologizes for what he can’t do, the things they put me through, they will always have a friend, ally and support person in me. Even if mom never cuts that darn cord, which is so frayed it’s unbearable some days. I’ll still be there to hold it together.