Why don’t you get a real job?
Wait. What? Did you really just say that? I’ve heard that line from various people since Baby Bear was actually, well, a baby. He’s now 23, by the way, and taller than I am (a fact that he still loves to point out in his own wordless way). It’s hard for me to realize just how much he’s grown over the years. But in so many ways he’s still very much my cub. I have real job, thanks. I don’t get paid for it, but it’s a career that I enjoy and never want to give up.
My day begins usually somewhere between 4:30 AM and 5:15 AM. Not by choice, mind you. I’m an early bird from way back but I’d prefer to sleep in until 6:30 or 7. Nope, these days I’m up before the alarm goes off because either the bathroom is calling my name or my young man is up and foraging through the fridge or happily throwing something out his window. Or both. Mostly he’s fine on his own for a little while, but sitting still for more than five minutes usually isn’t going to happen. I don’t believe in using the TV as a babysitter, and neither does he. It doesn’t hold his interest long. He’d rather rock out to the oldies. He loves music of almost all genres, especially Michael Jackson, seventies disco, and latino hip hop. Go figure. He also likes classical music.
Once I’ve got him occupied if he’s awake, I’ve got breakfast and laundry going, and sometime soon afterward I remember that I’ve gotta make lunches too, for the cub and the hubs. The Hubs is not a morning person. He wakes up in time to shower, eat, and have a little conversation before he goes off to work. Why can’t he make his own breakfast and lunch? He works hard at his job plus he does quite a bit around the house with and for me. Taking care of him in those ways is something I like to do.
Next, my job is to help get Baby Bear ready for his day. He’s good at handling most of that, but his idea of getting dressed means finding the shorts he wore the day before and throwing on the first shirt he can find–spaghetti stained and inside out as well as backwards. Yeah, that’s not gonna happen on a school day. After making sure his clothes are clean and at least facing the right direction (sometimes the seams on his shirts aggravate him so I’m not going to complain much if his shirt still ends up inside out). His shoes–hey, at least they are on his feet. Yes, I know they are on the wrong feet (another sensory issue as far as we can tell) and yes I know those shoes look like they need to be thrown out. Trust me on this, the boy has foot issues. The longest I’ve seen a new pair of shoes keep laces or the “tongue” is about two weeks. After that, all bets are off and he’s working on getting those shoes just the way he likes them.
Once Baby Bear is out the door its my time. That’s the time for working on my business,
my writing, and getting some housework done. And yes, I use that time to relax a bit as well. But I’m also cooking, giving word definitions and word pronunciations to the only person in the house who reads more than I do, my brother. I keep him going during the day and I probably do more than my share of nagging, because I realize that I am now mom as well as Sis. It’s been two years since I assumed this other responsibility, and I struggle with the balance of when to be Sis and when to be , well, bossy.
Two -forty PM or thereabouts brings the bus and the cub is home -needing a snack and a little down time. Do I love this life? Yes! Do I complain sometimes? Yes. Do I want to give up and run away? At times, yes. But would I give all this up? No way. As a mom and caretaker to two who will always need care and supervision to some degree (one with autism, one with mild cp, both with some developmental delays) I have concerns about the future and what could happen. But I’ll discuss that at another time. For now, this is my real job. This is what fills my days. Thanks for listening.
My family. The (not so) Baby Bear, The Brother, The Hubs.