If I could say anything to my younger self about what life would be like when Beth was an adult, it would be to slow down. Learn that habit now, while she's young.
Hour after hour, day after day, week after week my biggest issue is the speed at which Beth lives. No one ever talked to me about this. Although I didn't know anyone who had an adult child with Down Syndrome, it would have been nice to know.
She walks slower than I do.
She speaks slower.
She brushes her teeth at a slower pace.
She takes longer to respond during a conversation.
She moves slower when playing cards.
She gets dressed slowly.
In Beth's life, the word 'hurry' doesn't exist. At least it doesn't seem to. If I could say anything to my younger self it would be, "Slow down. Slow down e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g. If you want to be a part of Beth's world, if you want to relate to her on her level, slow it down."
This morning I was trying to clasp a bracelet I wanted to wear to work. Chuck was gone, Diana was still asleep and Beth was up and getting ready for bowling. I know her fine motor skills aren't the best but I figured she could do it if I was patient and showed her how to do it first. When I went down stairs she was sitting on her bed getting ready to clean her glasses. I asked her if she'd help me with my bracelet. (I knew she couldn't see the tiny clasp without her glasses. I figured she'd wipe them quickly and stand up to help me.) She started cleaning one side of one lens.
And I waited.
Then she started cleaning the other side of that lens.
I looked at the clock.
And I waited.
She started cleaning one side of the other....
And I gave up. walked out of the room, no, more like stormed out of the room. Told her I was sorry, I didn't have time to wait and I grabbed my purse and ran out the door. Driving to work I fought back tears and told myself it wasn't her fault. She didn't do anything 'wrong'. If anyone was in the wrong, it was me. I just stormed out and didn't explain why. I have such a hard time slowing down my entire world to be a part of hers. But I desperately want to be a part of her life!
I guess, if I'm honest what I really want is for her to adjust to fit better in mine. Speed up just a little. Go a little faster! Is that too much to ask?
Most of the time when Beth and I hang out, I go at her pace and we have a blast. It's just that my world doesn't go at that pace. I have to live in both worlds. Try to blend them and find a happy medium. Some days it's so easy - and fun! - to hang out in her world. To slow down and just relax.
Yea, if I could say one thing to my younger, hipper, cooler self, it would be to slow down now. Learn to get up earlier, leave the house with more time to spare, walk a little slower. It'll mean so much when Beth grows up. And that'll happen before you know it.