We are at the year mark since Jacob started staying home. The virus had not shut down his day program yet. But we had the time change on our hands so mornings were a struggle.
Since Jacob was around 4 years old, he has been in various types of Special Education programs. That means that during the last 37 years or so, there has been some structure to his weeks. There were summers he didn’t have something every day, but few.
If we’d been told in early 2020 that he would be home for the next 12 months, I would have wondered how we could possibly survive with our sanity intact. In all seriousness, even knowing he is a homebody and so am I, it would have sent me into depression I feel sure.
That’s one of the nice things about not knowing the future though, right? At first, we took it a week at a time, then a month at a time. And while there were some challenges, having him with us all the time worked great. That time period taught me that we would be okay regardless.
We were hoping for him to return to his day program in the next month. I touched base with the manager and felt good about the answers I received to my questions plus the additional information shared. Returning to a familiar place should make him comfortable. Many of the same staff would be on campus plus some new folks for him to figure out and them to get to know him.
I had no idea how he’d feel about that. My guess, somewhat happy to be there the first day and then somewhat disappointed when he went back the next! We would probably need to ease in and get back into a routine. It may be that returning at the same pace he was at before would no longer suit him well.
Whatever his return entails, we are ready for him to have some time away from us and think he’ll enjoy getting out more each week. Even though he is in the anti-social category, being around others was bound to be positive.
We picked a day and notified the center that Jacob would be returning after his year’s sabbatical. They were prepared with some of his favorites in place and the key to the snack closet where it has always been so he could find it easily. (The boy loves that snack closet.)
Day 1: I woke Jacob and gave him time to slowly get moving.
Once it was time to get dressed, I told him where we were going. (We knew better than to mention it more than 1 hour prior to leaving because he would want us to repeat the sentence a jillion times!) He was super cooperative about getting dressed and seemed all ready to go.
Upon arrival at the center, he quickly got out of the car and walked up to the front door like a boss! Headed straight in, never looking back. My heart was in my throat. I felt like I was dropping off my kindergartener on their first day of school. A year. He’d been away a year. And he acted as he’d just been there the day before. We had texted several people asking for prayers. We saw the answer play out before us. And it was amazing.
Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear.Isaiah 65:24 NIV
Shortly after leaving him, I got a text: “So far he’s smiling and exploring.” How fantastic?!?! Now I was smiling, and I bet you are, too.
It was such an odd feeling. I had the day before me and couldn’t decide what to do – head to the grocery store, soak in the silence, go for a walk, read a book? All the above!
Jacob’s grandparents were recently able to attend a birthday lunch for a grandson which made them feel like they ‘had gotten out of jail’! While we’ve all been able to do some things and go some places, so much of our lives have been put on hold leaving us feeling isolated, even under house arrest. It was nice to have the freedom to do as I pleased without making sure someone had their eyes on Jacob.
Six hours later, I could not wait to pick him up. It was so nice to hear, “Jacob had a great day”! “He went everywhere looking in everything”, “I was so glad to see him.”
He may have been more ready than I was for him to start back. He was super chill when he got home (busy day wore him out) and enjoyed just listening to music:
Day 2: I woke him up with an hour to spare. Not a minute after walking out of his bedroom, I heard him slam his door. Uh oh! He was in a good mood, though, and was cooperative getting dressed. Until his shoes.
He snatched them throwing them in the closet and quickly shutting the door. Hmmmmmm……. back to his old shenanigans already. I was able to get his shoes on soon after and he ate a large breakfast and was ready to go again.
Once we got to the parking lot, one of the workers saw him and came over saying how very happy she had been to see him the day before. He got out without coaxing and again headed inside.
At pick-up time, we were met with a staff member giving us two thumbs up and saying, “Jacob had another great day!” “He explored more and opened every cabinet in the art room, pulling out all the books.”
I am happy to report that I was somewhat off in my second-day prediction! We didn’t see disappointment about returning which was another huge answer to prayer. If anything, he seemed eager to be back. Being content at home was such a blessing but the cooperation in him going back was phenomenal!
Thank you Lord for giving Jacob peace and a large portion of peace for us, too!