Wil turns 21 a month from tomorrow. Plans are underway for a big backyard party (if you'd like to come, consider yourself invited). As was the case when he was turning 18, I felt the need to celebrate, to usher in the milestone with hoopla and fanfare, and rejoice.
Slim to no chance he will partake in alcohol, on his birthday or otherwise. I'll get back to you whether or not he begins taking the wine at communion. This birthday has nothing to do with his legal right to buy or consume alcohol.
"I'm in my early 20's," he said to me, yesterday. At first I thought that came out of nowhere, but then realized we'd been previously discussing how old the others were in his music class. His friend, Timmy, had said, "I think the average age is 30."
Wil, Timmy and I have a standing Monday date. We pick up Timmy around 9:30, give or take, and go to a convenience store of Wil's choosing. Then, there is usually another random store picked out for a random reason, then we go to lunch at... a random restaurant. Then, we go to their class, and while they are otherwise engaged for one hour, I sip on an iced decaf latte and read a good book. I drink deeply from the latte, the literature, and the quiet, because then it's back in the car with two boys that both want to tell me different things at the same time, and I carry on two parallel conversations and my mind nearly explodes in a matter of minutes.
Yesterday, the random store was Target. We all know I'm a big fan of Target, and couldn't help but feel that Wil was throwing me a bone. They shopped for the things that matter to them: Wil, snacks, Timmy, Legos. I shopped for the things that "matter" to me: compostable garbage bags, an inkjet, and throw pillows. The rule is they have to stick together, and keep their phones on. We text each other with updates, and select a time to meet at the check stands.
When I got to the check stands, Timmy had already checked out. Wil was standing there, looking a bit lost and confused. He'd checked out, but hadn't paid. He got all the way through before realizing he had no money on him. He explained that his mom was in the store and would be there in a minute to pay, and I was, and I did.
But. How did he not get that you have to both have money and enough? I'd stopped having him carry a wallet when he lost it for the millionth time. Instead, I send him out into the world with a Ziploc with just enough to get what he "needs," but not enough to devastate him when and if he loses it. Because we were together and that wasn't the plan for them to check out without me, I hadn't done that. He had not processed that, and I was startled to realize the utter lack of awareness around that.
Later, when I went to get the mail, he'd received something from the circuit courts. I opened it after Timmy left, and saw that he'd been summoned for jury duty, on his 21st birthday. I read through the list of justifiable excuses, and no where was an option for disability. Instead, there was information about accommodations made for those with disabilities, specifically, mobility, vision or hearing.
No amount of accommodations were going to make Wil jury material. I fired off a letter, attached my Letters of Guardianship, and there's no doubt he will be excused.
I struggle to find that sweet spot between what he can do and what he should do. Too often, I make life easy for him, because it makes it easier for me.
Too many excuses.
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