I inquired after a friend's daughter who just went off to university for her freshman year. After a brief rundown, he paused, "Is it uncomfortable for you to talk about kids in college?" Both the question and the solicitousness took me by surprise. No, it is not comfortable for me. It is true that my kids will never go to college, but it is not like the thought just occurred to me. I have been on an alternative parenting path so long that I can't even see the well-trod road anymore.
Of course, friends and acquaintances have inquired about Hart and Jeff, since both finished 12th grade in June. Jeff started at Evanston Transition House, a post-high school program through our school district for Evanston special needs students. He likes it a lot, and seems to be pretty self-sufficient these days. Each student has his or her own schedule and own self-determined goals. The day consists of some instruction and supervision in independent living skills and some work experience. Jeff just started work at Jet's Pizza and Northwestern University's food service, but hasn't said much about his duties. I suspect he assumes it is none of my business!
Hart moved in August to a group home in suburban Waukegan. He goes back to the Lake Villa campus via van for school and work. He loves his job in the greenhouse. The move has completely transformed Hart. No more outbursts or crazy behavior. He has been very motivated to live up to expectations and earn privileges, such as unaccompanied time in the community. It is hard to reach him on the phone, since he is often out of the house in the evening: at the Y, shopping, or on a recreational outing. I am purchasing a cell phone for him.
I have done more than my share of complaining over the years. I won't ever have a dean's list student or a university student of any kind, but I am proud of the boys' accomplishments. Sheesh, I am proud of my own.