We left Iowa for Montana at the end of August. We’re now living in our own, small, home. Small means you have to be more ruthless about your belongings. I’m thinking of adding a few shelves on the living room wall and then rotating my art and tchatchkas [knick-knacks] so to have something new to look at, to inspire. It’s that or get rid of very dear art and objects. Not ready to clear out any more at this time. I like the notion I’ve come up with– at least for now.

The pine tree I planted in Iowa 4-5 years ago, survived a rough winter.

The pine tree I planted in Iowa 4-5 years ago.

Living in a motel for a week was … interesting. It was very well run. The people all kind, friendly, and dealt well with each of us; Nato and I. We’ve been in our new home for a bit over a month. We can look out the living room picture window and stare at the mountains, the sky, the clouds. When we drive out and down the hill or just around town, the mountains guarding our city are ever present, majestic, intriguing, timeless. I still wake up, look outside and feel surprised to remember we’re in Montana.

Looks like getting services for Nato will become my next occupation. Becoming involved on a local level; talking to people, starting a parent support group, finding folks who will take a little time to include Nate in their lives for a dinner or an activity. Then there is the state level; lobbying our legislature to become informed how their policies affect adults with disabilities who often cannot work at all, or who need a job coach and/or job slicing in order to work. (I just made up the phrase; job slicing, because there actually is one to denote taking a job and breaking it down into components and then hiring a disabled adult to do one component. I cannot remember the new technical term for what I’ve described, but it does exist!)

A Special Olympian winner - and a sweetheart.

A Special Olympian winner – and a sweetheart.

Those of you in the Y today, or in our neighborhood a bit later, who heard my son having a loud time… I apologize, but could you please not look so shocked? He does the best he can – but he’s not made to live an idle life. There’s only so much sitting he can do before he becomes frustrated. And the great state of Montana is ruled by legislators who have taken a very, VERY paternalistic attitude toward developmentally disabled adults. If they are in a safe place, even living with elderly parents, then they don’t need any public services such as a life skills coach, job training and support, or even transportation to social events in the community.

Imagine if you couldn’t drive, couldn’t read, couldn’t handle money [because you don’t understand any numbers/math], perhaps couldn’t call someone- a friend or family member on the phone because you can’t operate the dial pad… and there is nothing for you to do all day but sit in front of a television set? It gets old and boring very quickly. And the person doing the sitting vegetates. There’s no stimulation, nothing to get excited about, practically no reason to get up each day. That is what I hope to change.

Meanwhile I’m grateful for our new mountain home, and the friendly folks we’ve met so far, and the many more we hope to meet, work with, and get to know as friends and neighbors and co-workers. So, as I said in the title, life is weird, ornery [the temper tantrums] and beautiful. And bittersweet, as we both miss our midwest friends; Katie and family, Peggy and family, Leo, Niki [Nate’s college friend and all her buddies who became N’s buddies too], neighbors, and friendly acquaintances. All Nate’s friends at Hand-in-Hand. We miss you so much.

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