Tonight is the first night of Chanukah. As we lit the Chanukah candles, my thoughts were with Dovi. It has taken close to a year of work to push the guilt feelings aside and actually enjoy the moment. This night was filled with memories of a year ago, Dovi's last Chanukah at home with us. We had just received the news that Dovi was accepted at the residential school, and he would be moving out in approximately six weeks. Our emotions over Chanukah were mixed, to put it mildly. I think I spent the next six weeks with a perpetual lump in my throat.
I think today was a very appropriate day to sit down and reflect on that pivotal day when I moved into a new phase of my life - June 13, 2013, the day that Residential Placement inched its way slowly from the back burner to the middle burner.
Before I begin, I want to thank the devoted readers of this blog who have hung in until now. I apologize for taking such long stretches between writing chapters of this long-drawn out story. Between struggling to keep up with my Ebay/Poshmark "business," dealing with real life issues, and bracing myself for delving into the dark time that was 4 1/2 years ago, it takes a lot out of me to write these entries. So thank you for cooperation.
In any case, here's the pinnacle, the climax, the apex, what have you, of all the events leading up to the catclysmic moment when the world around me changed, forever. The moment when the niggling thought of 'one day we'll have to place Dovi but not yet' came into very sharp focus. It would take another 3 1/2 years until he would actually leave home, but it was the defining moment when I realized that it was a definite reality.
The weeks leading up to the summer of 2013 were extremely difficult, to put it mildly. I was dealing with the effects of a third trimester of pregnancy at age almost-37. Everything hurt, and I had no energy. I was constantly busy with an overwhelming amount of research and advocacy and paperwork and scheduling caregivers. All kinds of crazy incidents happened then, such as the blow-up with Leticia, worrying about finding places for Dovi when I went into labor, getting his camp stuff set up, and most difficult of all - handling his newfound obsession for ripping paper.
The underlying reason for the vast majority of Dovi's destructive behavior has always been intense sensory seeking. Whether it's ripping open endless oatmeal packets, jumping in and out of the bathtub, spilling water and liquids, smearing ice cream on walls - it's all to get sensory input he desperately craves. Sometimes I was successful in redirecting his need for sensory input, after endless brainstorming and shopping and trial and error. Most of the time, I wasn't. Then Dovi discovered ripping paper. Apparently he was taught how to rip paper during Occupational Therapy at TABAC, and it delighted him to no end. Suddenly, no sheet of paper in any shape or form was ever safe. We had to hide all forms of paperwork, magazines, newspapers, and books. Fortunately I don't have any daughters whose homework would inevitably have gotten destroyed. But magazines were a big casualty. It was difficult to remember every single second of the day to hide all papers in the house. When I realized that this meshigoss wasn't going away anytime soon, I started supplying him with all manner of scrap paper to go to town with - old newspapers, a package of construction paper, ad booklets. We had our own built-in paper shredder. All that left the house blanketed in paper - it looked like Ground Zero. Leticia did not approve, of course.