Contrary to appearances, life at the Simons household does not revolve entirely around Owen. There are times, particularly in spring planting time, when the thrust of a project drives Owen’s presence and his in-articulated thoughts, feelings, and desires into the background of his mother’s and father’s minds. Sometimes, many times really, there are occasions or events, there are guests, or gatherings around the table when he is but a shadow presence. Or he is left behind with a sitter. None of this is necessarily bad, it just happens when caring for a person with an intellectual disability – one who never grows up. It is hard, and it is true.
Because Owen is not able to speak his inner Owen, he acts his inner Owen out. So, when we know that he has been shoved to the back of things for a while, it’s not a bad idea to slow down and check in with him. Stop “doing” and spend some time.
Last Sunday, at the end of a couple of days’ visit with some delightful relatives, Owen and I drove them to Reagan International Airport. We kissed and hugged them goodbye. Driving home my thoughts of garden projects were interrupted by a sudden inspiration, and we turned at Potomac Park for the Tidal Basin. In the golden afternoon sunshine, Owen and I wandered the Jefferson Memorial, admired its recycling cans (outsides only), and just enjoyed the day and each other…
Hmmm. Goodbye. We’ll be back soon.