Friday, we made the almost 3 hour drive to pick up Mini-Me from where we all lived up until 2 months ago. She decided when we moved here that she wanted to stay behind and try to make it there.
Mini-Me is 19, chronologically, but mentally and emotionally, she is not.
She is capable of holding a conversation with people she knows, but people that don’t know her can tell she struggles with basic social skills.
She is capable of working a job, but learning new skills, especially complicated ones, takes her longer. She is easily distracted.
She has a big heart, but it’s easy to take advantage of her. Easy to convince her you have her best interests at heart, even if you don’t.
At 13 she could not read, and even after working with her for years, she struggles, although she can read well enough now to sit down with a book — providing she can sit still long enough.
As she was growing up, we were aware of the challenges she faced, but it never felt like raising a Special Needs child, even though it was.
In so many ways, she was a normal kid. When she sat at the table coloring with Draco and jabbering on about the kinds of things little girls gabber about, she seemed normal.
When she stood at my elbow in the kitchen learning the art of cooking, she seemed normal.
When she came home from school, the victim of ridicule and bullying, she seemed anything but. When people talked her into things they knew she would get in trouble for, just so they could make fun of her, I wanted to go on a “Mama Rampage” and kick the asses of all the parents that raised bullies.
Leaving Mini-Me behind broke my heart and shattered my nerves in ways I wasn’t prepared for. I had to let her try though.
Bringing her home brought me comfort. To my nerves, to my heart and to my soul.
As I sit and look across the room to where she is sleeping, curled tightly in a ball with her kitty, Miracle, I am comforted.
Saturday, in spite of being completely exhausted still from Friday, we all climbed in the car and I took her out to see that there really was more to the world than the little country town we live in.
Our most important stop of the day was at the local Equine Rescuse that is run by our local branch of the SPCA. She got to see a few of the horses and applied for a volunteer position (that could possibly lead to a job some day).
Last night, they called her and she starts on Wednesday. She was beyond excited. They volunteer from 8am – 2pm during the week, so she plans to look for a regular job for nights and weekends so that she can do both.
I overheard part of a conversation she had with a friend last night and she was gushing about how “awesome” it is here and how happy she is. Again, her words were like a balm on my heart.
Having her home is healing something I didn’t know was broken. Yes, there has been some stress involved, adjusting to the added demands on my time and on our very limited resources, but it has been a happy adjustment.
I’ve come clean with her about the memory problems I’ve been experiencing and she’s seen how easily I can get overwhelmed at times, but she seems to be trying to make this work as much as we are, which is good.
Yes, I’m finding comfort in having her home with us, especially at the holidays. Life is damn-near perfect!