Friday, September 7, 2018

One Day at a Time

I was going to write this post on my actual Writing By Gloria website but after reviewing said website, I made the decision to cancel the entire thing and build a new one somewhere other than Weebly.
I would like to say I will make this short and sweet but that isn't possible so if you aren't able to read to the end, please don't even may not make sense if you stop in the middle.
There are several elementary facts you should know before I get started:
I love Kalisha with every fiber of my being. We have been nearly inseparable for 34+ years.
Many people have told me, "Oh I know just what you're experiencing. I was sad when my kids moved out, too. That's empty nest syndrome."
To which I want to respond...Bullshit!! This is not the same thing. I have 4 other adult children. They all moved out for one reason or another; one to get married, one to go to college, one to start an apprenticeship and one just because she was tired of living at home. I am not insinuating I am the ONLY parent who has ever felt this way but it isn't quite the same as an adult child simply needing to move on with their life. This is concern, fear, apprehension, sadness, worry, loneliness and the realization that no matter how much I believed I prepared her for almost all life-skill circumstances...I did not!
Kalisha was scheduled to move into a large house with 4 apartments...3 of which would be for 3 young women (friends of hers) and 1 for the Steward or On-Site Adult. This is CASS housing and I am not going to explain any further. If you want to know more about this innovative living concept, please visit their website: The target date for the first house to be completed was Dec. 2018, approximately. Kalisha had originally thought she would be moved into it in June of 2018. THAT DATE WAS STUCK IN HER HEAD. When some unfortunate and unforeseen delays occurred, she still wanted to move by June, 2018. She researched apartments she could afford, Dwight and I took her to look at them and she chose one about 6 miles from downtown Ft. Wayne.
We discussed the pros and cons about a million times. Finally, it was decided to allow her to move into the 1-bedroom apartment. It was near a bus line and would give her the experience of living on her own before she finally would be able to move into the CASS house and it was one she could afford...barely.
In retrospect, it probably was not the wisest decision. We still believed she would only be there 6-7 months and it would all be "swell." The reality is the first CASS home was being built for 3 young men and the next house built would be the large apartment house. (I would insert a string of swear words here but this is a website that might kick me off, so I will just say, I was devastated.) I spent several weeks being more angry and depressed than I could even imagine. However, with the help of Dwight and many prayers, I gained a bit of equilibrium again.
That is the background leading up to Kalisha's move. It was totally her idea...Dwight and I did not kick her out, we did not want her to move so we could move to Florida, we did not ask her to leave. These are all ideas I have been asked about but none of them are true. Kalisha could live with us until we die but therein lies the problem. We ARE going to die and most likely, before she does. Then what??? Wouldn't it be better for her to be able to function on her own rather than be hit by a double dying AND now living alone? She does have good social skills for which I am grateful. Society isn't very forgiving of bad social behaviors.
I realize this has been rather negative so far but there have been humorous times and fun times and many, many learning times.
As I said earlier, I thought I did a fairly good job of teaching life skills, and I did, up to a point but there are many things it never occurred to me to teach her. Setting a thermostat...she called one morning and said, "I got cold during the night so I turned my AC up to 95." Yikes!
Turning the AC up that much won't hurt a just won't run, but if she had turned her heat up that high, her electric bill might have been astronomical. I never, ever thought about showing her how to set a thermostat. (Unless your child is in a new luxury apt, they will undoubtedly have manually set thermostats)
She never had to look at expiration dates on food or even consider if something was spoiled. I always did that. I helped her put groceries away and while adding something to her refrigerator, I came across several 'unidentifiable' items. Some were identifiable but still rotten...a slimy bag of lettuce, moldy strawberries, blueberries dried up to hard BBs, and some leftovers that went in the trash, container and all.
Although she knew how to do her laundry, this was a new experience. She had to add money on to a card which was then used in the machines. Much easier than messing with coins. But...the washer instructions said only 1/8 cup of pods. That isn't much and Kalisha has some trouble pouring anyway, especially out of a large jug of detergent. I found a solution and it has worked well.
She can vacuum but has difficulty winding the cord up when she's finished. (Not really a big deal, just something else I didn't teach her)
Scrubbing a toilet is kind of a half-a__ ed endeavor (pardon the pun) but it is getting better.
We did work on changing bed sheets but she still struggles with this task and would rather just skip it but knows she can't.
Plucking eyebrows, trimming toenails and fingernails is not something she can physically do and never will be able to do. My original thought was to have her brows waxed and nails done once a month but her budget is so tight that she can't afford that. We're still working on a solution. (When I'm here, I do it for her but remember...we're acting like I'm not here because some day, I won't be.)
A big thing is loneliness. She has her cat, Tabby, but it broke my heart when she said, "I don't like to eat by myself, Mom." When she moves into the CASS house, I don't believe she will be lonely because even though she will be in her own apartment, she can walk across the hall and visit a friend.
She occasionally gets tears in her eyes when we're on the phone and says, "I miss you so much, Mom. You're my best friend and I love you." Then I want to cry and say, "Just come back home, Kalisha. It will be all right."
But I know I can't, for you see, it would be moving backward, not forward.
She 'face times' me every morning at 9 and every evening at 9. We don't chat long but she can see me and we tell each other good night and I love you.
Transportation is always a problem. The busses don't run on Sundays and stop at 5:30 on Saturdays. Getting to and from church when we aren't here is an ongoing problem.
For a short time, her neighbor lady was being very mean..verbally and all I could think was, 'Here we go again.' But the situation seems to have resolved itself (God was working it out) and they are friends again.
She loves FaceBook and uses it daily. Occasionally, she posts her feelings about missing me. I ask her to delete those posts. Having everyone commiserate with her is not solving the problem and actually exacerbates it.
She has some friends who will send her a note or card once in a while. Usually her mailbox is empty. I know most people's mailbox is empty but it makes her loneliness seem worse. I worry she will pitch important mail with the ads she gets.  She is an ardent recycler like she was taught. Every time I see her, she has a bag of recycling for me. (The apt. complex doesn't provide recycling bins)
Some  more positives: she has no problem calling the office if something isn't working properly. They are prompt in fixing things.
She cleans the litter box every night before she goes to bed which is a good thing.
She fixes her own meals and washes her dishes. The microwave is her best friend.
Her bills have all been put on auto-pay so she can't forget to pay them.
Her few medications are sent in the mail in individual packets for AM and PM.
She is learning new things every day and has conquered many obstacles.
Some facts: Kalisha does have a waiver which means she gets so many hours of service each month. Her provider is Bethesda Communities and I love them. She also has a BC (Behavior Consultant) who should have angel wings...truthfully. She has been with Kalisha for 8 years and is a good friend. She can persuade her to do or not do something when I have exhausted all my efforts.
She has a very limited amount of hours for her staff to help her with things. She would get more when I turn 80, die or go to prison. Orange is not my favorite color and I have no say in the date of my demise and it's quite a few years before I'm eighty is what it is.
She volunteers on Tuesdays at a preschool and meets with a group of friends on Fridays. Instead of her needing me to take her somewhere or do something for her every day, we have set ONE day a week for the two of us to spend together. The entire day. We go places or stay home. We usually go to McDs for lunch...her favorite place and run errands, shop for groceries, or just talk.
She is part of a Small Group from church which meets once a month.
As you can see, she doesn't just set at home and pine away. Dwight and I take her with us many times. I'm sure she is better off than many individuals but she is still missing me and vice versa.
Truthfully, this experience has affected me mentally, emotionally and physically. I've been alternately depressed, whiny or just fine. I've gained 10 pounds, I've stopped going some places I enjoyed. If it wasn't for the support of Dwight, I might be a basket case. This has been the hardest thing I have ever done, including getting a divorce after 38 years of marriage.
The ultimate test is coming soon. Dwight and I are going to FL for Oct, Nov and Dec. Kalisha is flying down to be with us for the month of Dec and Christmas. We will still FaceTime twice a day but we won't physically be together for 2 months.
I'm sure you are asking about her siblings and her father. None of her siblings live close except one (she does take Kalisha out to eat sometimes but she's still working every day and has a family too.) Kalisha is not her responsibility and her father has some health problems and is rarely available for her.
You may also ask why we don't help with her finances. What would that teach her? Nothing. She has a problem with spending money she doesn't have sometimes so paying things for her doesn't help in the long run. (Yes of course, we take her out to eat but sometimes she must pay for her own meal.)
All in all, it has been a positive experience for all of us. It is getting better each day. Do I still get upset with her and yell sometimes? Of course I do. We are both pretty obstinate and bull-headed. Those traits are good especially now, but we definitely butt heads many times.
I hope this has not been a 'downer' for you to read. I promised truthfulness and I gave it to you. I believe with all my heart that she is growing in many areas and God is walking beside us every step of the way.
I have a favor to ask: please don't feel sorry for either one of us and please don't tell me what a wonderful mother I am because I assure you, there are times I am not. Just keep us in your prayers. We are continuing to put one foot in front of the other every day.
Thanks for reading this long epistle. You are great!


  1. Gloria, thanks for sharing. Moving out is hard for most all younger people, whether they admit it or not. And most Moms have issues when the kids move this is no different....its just your story, as you see it. And I'm glad to be able to read it...Hugs, love, prayers & thots....Pat.

    1. Yes moving out is difficult but there is a huge difference between typical children leaving and non-typical. I didn't worry about them. I knew they could handle anything that came their way. They wouldn't be taken advantage of or need help. That isn't the case with Kalisha or any special needs individual. Also, I had not been with them for 34 years. There is a difference.

  2. You both know that God is working in your lives. That is a help. Even though I have two daughters that moved out many decades ago, I can't imagine the enormous task you are both experiencing. My heart and prayers are right there with you!

    1. Thank you very much. They are appreciated.

  3. Gloria,
    This is awesome to read. You're doing the good, hard, heart-wrenching, important, imperative, forward thinking work of helping Kalisha become independent. It IS different than typical kids needing to leave the nest. Kalisha will be stronger and more resilient because of this time and work you are investing. She's growing grit; and typical or not, we all need grit. Well done being strong enough to allow a season of grit growing. ❤

    1. Gloria Doty8:06 PM EDT

      Thank you, Sheri. I appreciate your comments and understanding. We are marching on and thankful that God marches with us...before and behind.



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