Thursday, May 19, 2011

Rate of Growth

I'm home for the summer. Again. Part of me is disappointed by this. I'm twenty-two, a grad student based in Boston, but the next three months will be spent under my parents' roof, not padding my resume.

But here's the thing I've come to realize: for me, and for several other people I know with disabilities, the separation rate goes more slowly. Rather than being a series of stepping stones, growing up becomes like one of those word problems about a frog in a well, going up two feet and down one--how long will it take her to reach independence?

I've made great strides in the past few years, and I'm okay with having a break here. I'm going to write, read and plan, to prepare for the next step. In the meantime, it's nice to have my mom around to help me keep an eye on my endless stream of injuries and doctor's appointments, but I don't need as much help with that as I did last summer.

I'll never be totally self-sufficient. I'll always need doctors, friends, public transportation workers, cab drivers, cleaning services...because a lot of physical things I simply can't manage. But growing up for me has been learning how many of these things I can do, and when to ask for help. Eventually I'll have the resources to arrange for all this on my own, somewhere I can live "independently". But for now, it's dorms and my parents' house building the support system underneath me.

And if it takes me a little longer to get out of the well, it's okay. The frog always hops away in the end.