September 8, 2013


For twenty years, one month and 28 days I was involved in every aspect of Alex's life.

I shared her happiness and cried her tears. I fought advocated for what felt right for Alex. I knew her moods and knew when school was hard or unfair. But mostly I tried to listen to her words, her behaviors and her body.

For two weeks, six days and 16 hours I have not been involved in every aspect of Alex's life. We have known for four months that Alex would be attending college six states away but that did not make it any easier. To be so deeply connected to someone and have those ties loosened is hard. Much harder than I thought.

I think about Alex and her siblings all the time. I wonder what they are doing, if they are happy and making good choices. I was always prepared for Courtney and Tom to leave, but not Alex.

In place of constant interaction with Alex the last three weeks have turned into snippets. Phone calls, texts and pictures....snippets captured on facebook creating a diary of Alex's journey to independence:

"Mom, you need to enjoy yourself in Colorado, I am in college now".....and that was what I just heard.

"Mom, I need my high school yearbooks, and I will talk to you tomorrow on what else", oh no I am stuck on the elevator"

"Hi Mom watcha doing?"
"I am sad because I just dropped Tom off at college"
"Mom, you need to be brave"
Wise beyond her years...

Hmm - turns out the weather in Cincinnati is not better than Colorado..and Alex might not be done with Colorado after all (told you so!) she has now decided she will come home for the month of July instead of for a week. It will be fun to see how this evolves! Just wait until you experience winter in the midwest Alex (remember Deerfield?)

Best phone call ever..
"Mom I have great news. I made three best friends". 
Isn't that what we wish for all our kids, friends? I need to pinch myself to make sure this is true. Tears of happiness.

I love listening to voice mails from Alex. 
"Mom, just making sure you still have my rain jacket". In other words, why the heck haven't you mailed it to me yet!!!

Meltdown #1 "Mom, I do not want to be independent anymore". 
I was able to placate by promising to send her a care package. Wondering what that REALLY meant?

Problem: UC has a fall break a few days before parents weekend. Alex wants to come home and then have me go to parents weekend. Getting from our house to Cincinnati is not easy and very expensive. I have ask her her to choose. She choose both.

"Update on previous status about Alex wanting to come home for fall break...and me wondering how we could do that and parent's weekend.
"Mom, I decided I only want to come home for winter and spring break".
"Sounds good sweetheart, are you okay staying at school for fall break?"
"Mom, between you and me, I called Aunt Helen and I am going to visit her in Chicago, she said we would work it out"A little college sure goes a long way!

"Hi Mom, just call me back please - I need to hear your voice".
Heart melting!

"I nailed my campus freedom test!!!!!!!!!!"
Alex is completely independently on campus now...crossing the busy street, going to the gym and going to all her classes. She ROCKS!!! (all students are required to carry cell phones, so they can text for help if needed)

Alex calling her Dad to let him know she passed the campus freedom test:
"Dad, just calling to update to go now to update more people"

Voice mail from Alex:
"Mom, you need to put more money in my account"
Oh really Alex...

Follow up on the money thing....I transferred money into Alex's account, it will not hit until Monday. Therefore Alex can not spend more than $80.00 tomorrow - she needs tee shirts, food for the fridge and laundry supplies. She does not think $80.00 is enough. 
Her response:
"Mom, I hate you".
At least here I can not hear her door slam.

Apparently Alex has told her Special Olympics Coach she would be home for fall break:
"Mom, just wanted to give you a heads-up, I called Cammi and told her I would only be home for winter, spring and summer breaks"
Is this girl responsible or what?

If you have not liked our page, it is a good way to stay on top of the ups and downs of college for a person with a development/intellectual disability. I have no idea what is going to happen....but I  will share the good and the bad. Please click on "The Ordinary Life of an Extraordinary Girl" now.


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