It’s been one week since you made your big move out of our house and into your new home.
Your new home.
I still can hardly believe I’m saying that.
Dad and I always thought you’d live with us forever. You were our lil’ buddy who went with us everywhere. We were very content with that thought and we thought you were too. How silly of us.
About a year ago, you started showing us that you wanted more independence. You couldn’t tell us with words, so you showed us with your actions.
And we finally started listening. I’m sure you are thinking, “What took them so long?”
So we all moved home from Thailand in May, with thoughts to return in August. But that pesky pandemic quickly foiled those plans. So we decided to call America our home.
It’s been a rough adjustment for all of us. I’m sure you were wondering and thinking, “Why did I suddenly stop going to my wonderful STEPS where I had friends and meaningful work? Why has my whole schedule changed? Why is it just you, Dad, and me in this house all the time? I’m bored, I’m bored, I’m bored!”
Dad and I started exploring all the options in our home state of Oregon and soon learned about residential group homes. We thought, “Hmmm…this could be an option in a few years.” But you had other plans for us and “told” us you needed to move now.
The application and interview process was quite arduous. We waited anxiously to hear if you had been accepted into the best home we could find. You see, there are a lot of families like ours out there. This pandemic has clearly shown other families that their adult children are ready to move out of the house. And sadly, there are not enough homes out there for us all. So we tried not to get our hopes up.
On the day they called with your acceptance, I cried…and cried…and cried.
Some might say I had a panic attack. I would agree. It was such a mix of emotions; relief, excitement, sadness, guilt, and utter despair. How could we move you to a new home? You were meant to be with us…always.
I also felt sad for the other families who didn’t get in. What are their options now?
It took two more weeks to get everything ready for your move-in date. Your new home has many protocols they need to follow to ensure you get all of your needs appropriately met. And we are thankful. We know you’re in very good hands.
You moved in last Friday. Your dad and I worked hard to hold it together and not sob our way through the day. I’m not gonna lie…we didn’t do so well. I suppose it was similar to when we dropped your sister off at university…but different. So different.
You see, as much as we know this is what you wanted, we still have that element of guilt. Did we do enough? Will you resent us for this?
We moved you into your new room. Your closet is labeled with pictures of where to hang all your clothes. We made your bed. And, we hung pictures of friends and family to always remind you of how loved you are.
We met your four roommates who are just wonderful. We also chatted with your caregivers; all have big hearts and caring souls. We can tell they adore all of the residents in your home, and you will be well taken care of.
Soon it was time to say goodbye, and that was so incredibly hard. But you didn’t seem to mind. I think you were a bit apprehensive and excited all at the same time, and you may have been thinking, “I’ve got this, Mom and Dad. Go home. I’ll see you later.”
So we went home.
And it was weird.
And a week later, it’s still weird, but we’re getting the hang of it.
We miss you, Buddy Boy. But we are happy for you. We have come to visit you several times this week, and you are always smiling. You seem to have a lot less stress and a general overall calmness that you haven’t had for many months. We believe you are happy.
And now our visits are spent doing fun things like hiking or soon, snow skiing. You’re not stuck with us 24-7.
Your dad and I are slowly adjusting to life as empty nesters. Don’t worry about us.
You may be living in a new home, but please know that you will always have our love and our support. You’ll always be our sweet Braden.
I love you, my son.
PS. Braden turns 21 on the 18th of this month. I think it would be super cool if he could receive birthday cards at his new address. Please email or message me if you’d like his address. Thanks, friends.