August is a month of anniversaries for Bryan. He moved into this apartment ten years ago in August. He started his job at Marshall’s two years ago in August. And it marks the start of a new relationship with roommate number six.
The new roommate transition happened on Sunday, August 1st. Before the move occurred, we had our monthly circle meeting with Team Bryan on Thursday to start the ball rolling with the “transfer of power” from one roommate to the other. All were visible on the Zoom screen.
Bryan was well-prepared for the meeting. When asked by his Program Specialist if he had anything to say, Bryan immediately launched into a visual and verbal demonstration of physical needs with which he would require assistance. All are part of the Things We Do At Night Schedule. Tilting his head to one side, he mimicked putting drops in each ear, after which he jiggled his ear lobe to show how the drops would flow into the ear canal. Then it was onto demonstrating the clipping of finger and toe nails.
He also told #6 how he would have to help him call Bucks County Transport to schedule his weekly rides to work. He confessed that he needed help watching his weight and showed how he climbed the scale each day to see how much weight was gained and lost. This, he explained, is always done after nightly tooth brushing and showering. There was a request for help with writing checks in order to pay his bills.
All that being said, Bryan left the screen for a minute and promptly returned holding a list in hand. He then proceeded to read the Household Rules which he had created collaboratively with Roommate #5. As Bryan read them, the gist of the rules went something like this:
1. Be kind and respect everyone and each other. 2. Listen to each other. 3. Do the house jobs before my own jobs 4. Keep our apartment clean. 5. Eat meals together. 6. Watch movies together (I’m sure Bryan made THAT one up!).
He then asked #6 the million dollar question – “How do you respond to my concerns?” “Do you agree with the household rules?”
Fortunately, #6 responded positively to Bryan’s rules and requests and there was a collective sigh of relief from all Zoomees.
My sigh was probably greater than most of the attendees. The transition of roommates is always fraught with concern and angst. Especially when said roommate is an unknown. There are always countless items to share regarding Bryan’s personality quirks, speech difficulties, health concerns, finances, routines and day-to-day life issues that crop up year after year. It’s like starting a marriage with someone you don’t really know at all. And we, the parents, must educate the newbie in all things Bryan. We, the parents, find ourselves excited and yet filled with trepidation as to what this new relationship will bring and how it will affect our son – for good or ill. We have no way of knowing. We must move ahead in faith and pray that God will be there as these two young men live and grow together, each teaching the other new things about life and companionship.
And I think Bryan helped this new relationship get off to quite the positive start by advocating for himself and his needs. He’s getting quite good at this. After all, it’s #6.