Bailey’s favorite line is, “I always do”, which blankets pretty much everything. If I say, “Make sure that you take your phone with you. The response is, “I always do”. If I remind him to do his chores, he responds, “I always do”. I am hoping you see the pattern here.
On the quest to make him more independent, I am adamant that he take his phone with him when he is going somewhere without us. (Truth be told, I should have him take his phone even when he is with us to help bring the point home. This process is still unfolding.) Yesterday, he had his work party at a nearby restaurant. Can I just say that I am so grateful for his coworkers? They are so good to him and it is such a gift to be able to drop him off knowing that he will be well-cared for. I digress. I sent Bryce to pick him up with the indication that he would have his phone and to simply text him upon arrival. Apparently, Bryce texted him, received no response, waited a while and then headed in to retrieve his brother. Bailey was not phased while his brother was annoyed.
At dinner, I asked him why he didn’t come out when his brother texted him and he replied, “my phone was dead”. Sometimes, my head hurts from beating it against the wall. “So, was your phone dead when you left the house?”, I asked this knowing the answer. “Yes”, he responds. I exhale loudly and roll my eyes. “You have to make sure that your phone is always charged when you leave the house. This is part of being an adult.” He responds, wait for it, “I always do” which makes me want to scream internally and externally.
I can respond “No you don’t” until hell freezes over and he still won’t get it. Can I be completely honest? He is a stubborn asshole sometimes. There. Judge me as I just revealed the ugly truth about my adult son with Down syndrome. Those who know me totally get it. They aren’t shocked by it. They aren’t horrified. The fact that he has Down syndrome doesn’t make him an angel that is always loving. Trust me. He is human. He challenges me to continue to find ways that will help him navigate this world. I guess, maybe when he questions me, I should start responding, “I always do”.
When you parent an adult with special needs, it is still parenting a child. Bailey is just more hairy and talks back more. He is constantly reminding me to “focus” on myself. I would love to do that if it weren’t for the fact that he still needs a lot of guidance. Maybe there will be a day when he says, “Thank you, Mom for all the great reminders”. Yes, color me delusional because that won’t happen.