Ian 20 years ago on his 8th birthday.
It was around this time last year that my son was due to be scheduled for his regular home visit; then the world abruptly stopped. Life came to a grinding halt. Without warning we were suddenly all in lock down. Schools were closed. Town offices closed. Businesses closed. Only essential workers could leave their homes. The visit was cancelled. COVID was shrouding the earth ruling the direction of our lives one day at a time.
It was day 65 since his last visit home and his birthday was only a few weeks away. I got online and filled my cart with ice cream cake and frozen pizzas to be delivered for him to share and celebrate with his housemates. My severely autistic son was now in lock down in his group home two hours away from mine. Distance quickly dropped to the bottom of the list of hurdles; time was now prime concern. Our separation remained indefinite. I remember trying to Skype with him just so we could see each other’s faces; Ian doesn’t speak. I remember the joy I felt seeing him smile at me through the computer screen and the heartache of not knowing when he would be able to visit again.
Here I sit a year later on a rainy Saturday afternoon with my son, sharing a home visit. He’s in his room happily chanting, making his repetitive sounds while calming yoga music plays in the background. This year home visits have taken a turn, they have a different sense, a different feel about them. Time has pushed its way forward, noticeably more valued than ever. The message is clear: there are no do-overs; there are no guarantees. So, I had his birthday cake a little bit early this year and chose to live in the opportunity of now. It’s one I won’t regret and with little luck we’ll be together again next month and maybe share another cake!