We joke in my family about my Libra indecisiveness. Picking out clothes for an important event–or even just for work–can be an excruciating challenge. Deciding what to make for dinner can cause such grappling that food doesn’t appear on plates until well after the dinner “hour” (what is that, anyway?). It’s not a constant problem–I *do* manage to get through 80% of my life without ever questioning the wisdom of putting on my left shoe before my right.
Because Libras have a reputation for being indecisive, we’ve always blamed my “issues” on that. My son, also a Libra, has many of the same qualities. He’s learned to use his powers for good.
My daughter, though, has apparently simply gleaned her indecisiveness from watching me. I am so chagrined about this I’m almost embarrassed to say it. And she doesn’t even have the excuse of being a Libra!
As loyal readers know, my daughter is *well* down the path of making the necessary arrangements at the university she’s chosen to attend. This was not her first choice school, and not really even on her radar, so we had some catch-up work to do to find out if she could even manage there. But it turns out she could, and the staff have been very helpful getting her questions answered, and helping her get all of the necessary paperwork finished and turned in and ready for the next step: registration, which happens July 18. We’re ready to go, really, and felt like everything was finally going smoothly.
Cut to Friday. My daughter opened a large, shiny envelope from one of her top two universities. It had been rerouted by the post office, which delayed its arrival, but it did, in fact, contain the good news that she was accepted! Yay! Another notch in her belt! Woo-hoo! She can say she got admitted to this wonderful school! And now she can move on, right?
Except my daughter, my beautiful, quixotic daughter, she of the chocolate brown eyes that melt me every time I look at her, of the brave jut of the chin she forces when encountering new (and sometimes stupid) people, she of the straight-A (well, almost) grades senior year…she told her dad to tell me that she might could maybe wanna think about possibly going to this OTHER school instead. “Could you tell mom? I’m afraid she’s gonna hit the roof.”
Pretty close, darling one.
This Thursday, we’re packing into a car and driving to School #2. It’s only a 3 hour drive, and I have nothing else to do with my time this summer, and I *do* love driving, so why not, right?
Except…well, if you’ve got a disability or a disabled child, you know that *everything* takes longer. E v e r y t h i n g. So while we technically *could* do the tour and talk to housing and talk to disability resources and figure out whether the campus would work for her in her power chair, while it’s *possible* to look in a dorm room and make an assessment of whether the height of the bathroom counter would need to be adjusted, whether the doors on campus are largely impossible for her to open without assistance, while I’m optimistic she will be able to evaluate whether she “likes” the environment–and do all of this within the span of 10 hours–I’m not looking forward to the process.
Don’t even get me started on the nightmare of thoughts that go through my head when I consider her being on campus every day without me being 10 minutes away–or even an hour away, like I am with the university she is/may still go to. But School #2 is on a pretty sizable river. A beautiful, gorgeous outlook, delightful for most people to ponder, but for a tiny young woman in a wheelchair, that river, and the hill leading to it, present a physical challenge that makes my throat close up. Sure, she can get *down* to the part of campus that’s near the river. But can she get back up? Every day? What about when there’s snow and ice? What about when she’s broken?
We are very careful planners. We do like to have adventures, especially her and me alone, but we plan out where we’re going very carefully to avoid challenges like this, or to prepare contingency plans for challenges like this. And the river is just one possible challenge–we don’t even know what else we’re going to find when we’re out there. And I know we CAN do it, but starting the process of looking into what might possibly be out there in JULY doesn’t leave us much time. And I know in our haste we’re likely to forget something critical.
I start thinking like that and I fixate on an image of her speeding down the hill in her manual chair straight into the swollen, gushing rapids. And then I can’t breathe.
Back when I lost my job in May, I thought, as many people do, “there MUST be some greater reason for being unemployed right now”. I think I may have just found it.
Meg Currell is quickly finding that life really never settles down, it’s just a series of complicated circumstances interrupted by short stretches of boredom.