I'm sitting in an airport with my husband, but no children. We're jetting off to the Bahamas for a "work" function, thanks to my husband's employer. It's always bittersweet when my husband and I take the rare trip without the children. For some reason, my thoughts always tend to go towards "What would happen to the children if this plane goes down?" Call me morbid, but it seems I'm the one with separation anxiety, and not the children. Call me a control freak, but I can't imagine what Cameron's future would look like without me there to help him along. Cameron is no mama's boy, and he is certainly showing signs of being able to take care of himself, but who better to make sure he's on the right track than me?
Cameron will be 17 years old in a month's time. (Yikes!) One of the Transition issues I need to start paying attention to is guardianship. How do I make the assessment of whether or not guardianship is in Cameron's best interest? What if I retain guardianship and something happens to me? How do I even begin to impart my intentions for Cameron to a subsequent guardian if I were to meet an untimely death when I don't even know my intentions? I'm sure if I'm alive and kicking I will make the right decisions as they come along because I'm his mother, and Mother knows best. How do I convey those on-the-fly decisions if the unthinkable happens? Should I stipulate in my will that a Ouija Board be consulted for all Cameron's life decisions, and I will reach out from the afterlife? Hmmm ... maybe I should consult a Ouija Board for some of these answers now.
It seems the more I try and get a handle on Cameron's future, the more slippery the handle becomes. And the more I try to learn from other people's experiences, the more vast the differences appear to be between Cameron and everyone else. Even as I read my colleagues' columns here, I see vast differences in experience. While Cameron will never write an eloquent piece on what it's like to be him, he has also never had issues stemming from aggression, elopement, or being nonverbal. There is, however, a common set of hurdles that we all must navigate. Honestly, I don't know that the issue of guardianship would have entered my mind were it not triggered by my association with Autism After 16. Even though I may not have all the answers, it is a step in the right direction to know the questions.
I'm no closer to deciding what to do about guardianship for Cameron in my lifetime and beyond, but I have arrived safely in the Bahamas since beginning this column. Two more days, and two short flights home, and I will have survived another trip without my children. Guardianship research is on the top of my to-do list when I get home. It will be so nice to travel on our next trip without this hanging over my head.