Have you ever had the feeling that your head was going to explode? Remember that feeling in school when so much information was being crammed in at such a fast rate and you never had enough time to process it all? It all begins so innocently. You have a question. You ask the question. You get an answer. While processing the answer, it creates the need to ask another question, and then to evaluate and process more information as things grow transform and then more questions abound. Before you know it, you’re eating the cupcakes that were supposed to go in your daughter’s lunch tomorrow and re-watching reruns of Downton Abbey to make the noise in your head just stop.
Today, I asked a question. Today it all began. Today, I met with an attorney.
There was nothing I didn’t already know. I like to answer my own questions beforehand, and then compare them to the answers I get from everyone else. It’s what I do. If I do it right, there are no surprises. No big announcements. It is what it is. And I get to be right (I love that).
So there it all was…the next steps for us in relation to CJ. It was all laid out in black and white. A process. Specific steps. The good part — it was all laid out in black and white and it was all very clear. The bad part — it was all laid out in black and white and all just too real.
CJ is going to turn 18. And he can’t just do that with a cake and candles and the keys to a new car. CJ can’t be 18 without us. The Joan Crawford Institute for the Prevention of Dreadful Parenting says so. I know. I checked online.
CJ needs a Guardian. And apparently, it can’t be us. And it can’t be just any Guardian. It has to be a Guardian Advocate. Okay.
Now…I have a question. Remember the exploding head?
Who is going to succeed us a Guardian Advocate? Who is going to do what? What on earth is the difference between a Guardian Advocate and a Guardian? The attorney says to me “Guardian Advocate. ‘GA.’ Think Guardian Angel.” Helpful. My normal snappy come back failed me in this moment. My brain really must have been full at the moment because I just couldn’t come up with anything obnoxious to go with GA. And I really needed to. (I am guessing that was God’s grace that I didn’t, so that this guy didn’t think I was a complete lunatic, because I really really need him to confirm what I already know…and I’m still working on my own answer, BTW…I’ll let you know.)
So paperwork and some more paperwork. Cost is just not even an issue here. Get it done and get it done RIGHT! Mistakes can cost you at this point. (Scary) Even worse, mistakes can harm your child. (See JCI for Dreadful Parenting, above) Back to the whole Guardian Angel thing. Someone else is going to do this instead of me?? You know how they tell you you shouldn’t mess with a Mama Bear….well, don’t even think about messing with a mother of a special needs child! (There are always snarky postcard things on Facebook about special needs moms…their outlook and attitudes. They never, ever fail to crack me up, because they are so true.)
The attorney made an interesting comment to me. “You can read a book about being a parent of an autistic child, but there is no way you will ever understand unless you are one.” That is true about so many, many things. There are tons of jokes, funny stories, sad stories, tragic stories, information and events that will just break your heart. I always say that I can laugh or I can cry. Sometimes, I just scream.
But today, I exploded.