Seeking Crystal Ball
First published November 7, 2011.
There have been times in my life when I would have given anything to have a peek into a crystal ball. I find this transition phase of Cameron’s development to be such a moment. I’m one to those people who need a plan. I obsess over details of that plan, and see it through to the bitter end. I’m finding myself struggling to make a plan for Cameron’s future, even though I so desperately want to. If I could just peek into a crystal ball that would show me what Cameron will be like three to five years down the road, it would make life so much easier!
You would think that being the parent of a child with disabilities would require that I develop a fair amount of patience along the way. Not so much, especially when it comes to planning Cameron’s future. Having the vast world of the internet at my finger tips has not helped matters. I find myself Googling the most obscure things in an attempt to find a clear path for Cameron. Just for example’s sake, I’ve found myself researching: course offerings from community colleges, US News & World Report’s college ranking website (for highest acceptance rates), and car safety data in the event Cameron passes his written exam and needs to buy a car. I’ve drawn the line at looking up rents for nearby apartments, but there are days when I’m tempted. Of course, this is all rather pie in the sky. It’s not as if I have unlimited access to cash to fund these endeavors. Could I please just have a peek in that crystal ball to see if Cameron will be able to earn an income to support himself? If Cameron can’t get by with the typical amount of support a young adult gets from their parents, then what? Will postsecondary education provide him anything more than a few schedule entries on the days he attends class? Or will he suddenly experience some sort of developmental milestone, and actually be able access curriculum in a fully integrated setting?
It’s interesting how my thought process has changed over the years. I’ve gone from thinking postsecondary education would be a wasted effort for Cameron, to considering the possibility of him attending a four-year college as a non-degree seeking student. But as my path matures, it makes me that much more anxious to see where it will come out. I realize even a crystal ball affording me a peek into the future might not be enough to squelch my anxiety. I’m probably looking for something more along the lines of the Gwyneth Paltrow movie, Sliding Doors. In this movie, we get to experience two versions of the heroine’s life based on dumping the loser boyfriend or sticking with him. Wouldn’t it be grand if we could see how our futures would be altered for all those major decisions? Would paying for a couple of years away at “college” help Cameron grow socially, emotionally, and academically? Or would the money be put to better use spread across more time while he lives at home?
Ah well, if this were a Hollywood production, it would have plenty of potential for sequels. But alas, I must make these decisions without a crystal ball and without a Hollywood ending. I’ll just have to make do with good old fashioned gut instincts. Wish me luck!