Kindsay is a part of my life like anyone else in my family, and we have adjusted to her ever-changing needs as she's grown. But there was always something we dreaded...the day when what made her different would become very clear and real to her. In October Kindsay will turn sixteen...an age she knows allows her to attempt to drive and also......date. Having watched her older sister live through her inevitable future of events, Kindsay is aware of the milestones. It was after school one day and she was having a very candid, frank talk with Greg. Normally she'll talk only when she's unmedicated and spiralling, and it's non-stop talking about nothing and everything and the listener eventually has to put a sympathetic end to the conversation, or his/her life. Not this time.
Kindsay hasn't shown an interest in driving. Obviously, being over fifteen and a half, she could've been asking for the permit already but hasn't. Maybe driving scares her the way riding a bike did. Although Kindsay does love those video games that involve driving, even Grand Theft Auto when Uncle Eric would come to town with his unsolicited collection of man-games. And she was ruthless like a thug, but with complete innocence, like it was her absolute right to yank that poor man from his car and drive over him because, well, she wanted that car for herself. What is one to do? It isn't driving that Kindsay wants so badly. It's a date.
"Dad, I already know who I want to ask for a date on my first date."
Greg asks who and she tells him it's a boy at church. "Does he know you?" No, he doesn't know Kindsay even exists let alone knows that he will be her first date.
Greg: "Kindsay, why are you going to ask him? You aren't supposed to be the one to ask for dates." Kindsay: "Well no one is going to ask me out, so I have to ask."
Kindsay is beautiful and exotic looking, long-legged and blonde hair, but her overall look tells of a disability that has her standing on the fence of what is normal and what is oblivion. That is when Greg had to tell her the heart-wrenching truth. Kindsay, he tells her, you have a disability and yes you will be able to have a boyfriend someday, but the boys you are looking at, well...they probably won't ask you out. You will have to look at boys in your class who are like you.
Kindsay wants to know why she is different, and not for the same reason she uses when she completely screws up and says, "my brain is not working right!" (using the little info we've given her in the past, although skewed, to explain her ride on the short bus every day.)
Greg had to go on and tell her the whole truth. That, despite her desperate desires, she will most likely never have a baby. She will always have to live with or near her parents, she will need help her whole life. On the bright and glorious side, Greg shared how special she was in the premortal life, how she was a brave, courageous, and righteous spirit that earned the right to be protected from the evils and ills of the world that would normally remove her innocence and thrust her into mortality to her own agency and defense. She will rise with the righteous and be exalted forever, and someday she will have all she's ever wanted, all she'll have to only watch her siblings enjoy and partake of, and she will have it for eternity.
This is no conversation any parent wants to have with a child, having to shoot down real dreams because of a disabling condition. Kindsay is so ready to have a baby: she's YouTubed how to insert G-tubes in case the baby needs to be fed through the stomach, she has researched birthing, the best carseats, scoured the Internet for a suitable home and wedding ring...it's all so close and within her grasp, and yet so far from ever happening. I have students with disabilities, and they really don't understand social conventions the way Kindsay does, and while it is more physically difficult to raise those children, it's also easier on the heart. Blissful unawareness can be such a blessing.
The next morning Greg shared the conversation with me and I cried all the way to work. She can be such a butt! So ridiculously annoying...eating all my food-- meant for specific meals I had planned that the week-- which I don't know about until I am at the stove, pot on, ready to use it! , getting into my stuff like a toddler, yelling at me after asking how her day was, refusing to clean the funk out of her room! But, she's my baby...and my dreams for her were the same I had for my other children. Those dreams must be saved for another day, another time...and someday they will all come true and more than she could ever have known. That is our hope.