July 2009


It has been a long time since I posted. But I passed my exams on May 7 and am now ABD.  Now I get to write my dissertation! Finally!

The exams were grueling and I did not do as well as I would have liked, but since I passed I’m trying to put that behind me.

Since then, I have been resting, relaxing, and planning. We went to Boston a few weeks ago for a friend’s wedding, and while I was there I broke my foot. So I completed my vacation in a wheelchair, came home, had surgery, and am now on the mend. I am starting to be able to put  little weight on the foot, and I can walk with crutches.

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I have finally heard from Rob in Japan. “My classes are fine, my classmates are fun, and my host family is nice.”  End of update. One sentence.

It took me emailing him and giving him a template to fill in to get him to tell me that much. I think he wants to be independent and sort of forget about life at home during his trip. That hurts me, because I love him so much and wish he would share his experiences with us. But that is part of growing up, I guess. He is just a little more callous about it than a NT kid would be, I think.

But then, that’s life with an Asperger’s kid. I have to remind myself to take what he can give, and not expect him to give more than he can. I was watching some old Star Trek episodes yesterday, and Rob reminds me of Spock, and how infuriating his unemotional logic was to the humans around him. But the character grew and learned to love in his own way. That’s my hope for Rob.

It is hard to believe, but yesterday Rob got on a plane and flew off to Japan for six weeks. He – of course – is ecstatic.  I, on the other hand, am scared to death.

While I am SO grateful that he has progressed to the point that we could even consider something like this trip, I am dreadfully afraid that it will be too much stress for him.  But he worked hard and saved the money to go,  and he was insistent that he can do it. He needs to test his own powers and find his own limits. It was the dream of a lifetime to go – how could we say no? And his kendo sensei told us that Japan is probably the safest country in the world for a young man to wander in on his own.

The first month he will not be wandering. He is in a small Japanese language program – he will be there with 12 other American students, living with Japanese host families and studying the language and the culture, with field trips and other planned activities.

The last two weeks of his trip, he will be staying with a friend of his sensei, and they will go and hike Mt. Fuji among other things. But he will be taking train trips to other parts of Japan, including attending an anime conference in Tokyo.

I asked him to send us regular updates either via email or phone. But he seemed disinclined to do that. I think in his mind, this 6 weeks is about putting his life here behind him and starting to invent a new person.  So all I can do is pray for his safety and his choices, and that he will discover new strengths and competencies in himself, and come home a more confident, mature adult.