May 07, 2012 0 Share

Up in the Air

Teenage boy holding sign saying "I love Mom."

It's time for what has become my somewhat regular installment from the air. I've had an unusual travel schedule lately, some pleasure, some not so much, and as I've mentioned before, I'm a bit of a nervous traveler. But in preparation for today's trip, something happened that will stay with me forever. As Cameron was preparing to go to bed last night, he came to me and said, "Well, if I don't see you in the morning ..." and he spread his arms out wide, waiting for a hug. Many of you reading this understand what a rare and elusive thing the unprompted hug is. When I told my husband about last night's display of affection, he was just as surprised as I had been. Cameron's unexpected gesture and the impact it had on me, got me to thinking about how many seemingly little things I've encountered on the Road to Transition which have caused enormous emotional waves within me.

As I stick to my New Year's Resolution, and diligently pursue opportunities for Cameron, I have been on an emotional roller coaster. There's the high of finding a program, or a camp, or even a summer tutor that makes me feel like things are really moving in the right direction. But there are inevitably the low of finding out Cameron doesn't qualify for a particular service or there isn't availability at the time he applies. This time last week, I was patting myself on the back, convinced Cameron had a well-planned summer ahead of him in which he would be in paid employment and would participate in a five-day/four-night disability leadership forum (without me) at a nearby college campus. I was giddy with the anticipation of Cameron's growing his resume and flexing his social skills. And then it all went downhill. He wasn't eligible for the leadership forum because we live in DC, and the event is for Maryland residents. The summer employment opportunities started looking bleak as well. The DC Summer Youth Employment Program, while having a wide selection of jobs and employers, didn't seem to have any opportunities that would be a good match for Cameron. My request for guidance from the program administrators went unanswered, and the application deadline has passed. My Plan B for summer employment has hit snags well. I became excited about a job development program which I learned has openings for DC students. But Cameron goes to school in Maryland, so when his Transition teacher inquired about enrolling him, she was told he didn't qualify because the school was in Maryland. But ... but ... he's a student of the DC Public School system. It's their decision to send him to school in Maryland. More unanswered emails have gone out, and a round of phone tag has ensued, and we're still trying to determine the viability of Plan B. I haven't given up, but I have to admit, it doesn't take much to make me feel defeated by all this.

And so I trudge on, taking the highs with the lows, knowing there will be more of each. No matter where the next step takes us, I will always be able to picture Cameron standing there, arms spread, waiting for a hug. It's all worth it in the end.