Labor Day Weekend

Well, it’s the Labor Day weekend here in the US. Usually, for us this means the start of the school year and all that that entails. This year is a little different. Noel has graduated High School and we are preparing for our move to KAUST, Saudi Arabia’s answer to MIT and Caltech. To be honest, I don’t miss the start of school anxiety. I don’t think Noel does either. Today, he answered a Skype call from his Dad and stayed engaged for about 5 minutes.  This is miraculous and I don’t use that terminology lightly. I love Skype.

This time of year tends to make me a little melancholy. The year has turned, so to speak. The cooler weather is on its way. In this part of the country, there is already a nip in the air in the morning – enough to remind one of what Mother Nature has in store for us in December and January. I am not a snow person. I will not miss shoveling the white stuff. I am aware that I may eat those words after living in what approximates the face of the sun. We lived for a year in Southern California – postdoc for Brian at Caltech – and, I have to say that, earthquakes notwithstanding, that is my idea of heaven on earth. Of course, now the state of California is in financial difficulties. Such a shame, and they had such wonderful services for adults with disabilities.

My next door neighbor’s house closed yesterday. The new neighbors have moved in – the Dad from Cincinnatti came and did a lot of yard work. They seem like a lovely couple. They are about the same age as the couple that have bought our house – both Northwestern grads. I think Pearl would have approved. Pearl is the lady who lived there since 1942 – she passed away last year and there hasn’t been a day since then that I haven’t missed her. Despite the age difference, we became friends. We shared an interest in politics (Democratic), bridge (the card game), and a fondness for high heels (both of us being somewhat vertically challenged). In the last six years, I have met practically everyone who has lived in my house in the last couple of decades because they all came back to visit Pearl. About a month before she died, we got a phone call at about 8.30 pm. My husband answered and I heard, “Oh hi, Pearl. Okay, we will certainly do that, thanks for letting us know.” My husband hung up and said “That was Pearl. She says there’s something on Larry King that she thinks we might be interested in.” Larry King was interviewing Jenny McCarthy that night and Pearl knew that our son was autistic. Pearl was 95 years old. She was watching CNN. She was 95 years old, watching CNN, and was wanting to alert her neighbors to the fact that there was something on that THEY would be interested in. An amazing woman, I miss her a lot.

Babies who were born at the same time as Noel are heading off to college now. I would be lying if I said that I am not aware of that milestone. I am also aware of how lucky we are. We have a child who can and does tell us that he loves us. Noel probably won’t live completely independently but he can and does, enjoy his life. Our challenge is to make sure that he continues to grow and develop and to ensure that he is as independent as possible. When we first became aware of his difficulties, our pediatrician’s advice was to love him and enjoy him. That’s been the easy part. The tough part is knowing that a time will come when he has to be on this planet without us and to, at least attempt to, prepare him for that time. Did I say that this time of year has a tendency to provoke melancholy?

Our hope is that Noel will become more independent in the nurturing and almost cloistered enviroment of KAUST. We hope that people will know him and be kind to him and that, in that somewhat rarified atmosphere, he will actually have more freedom than even here in Glencoe (which I often describe to my real estate clients as Mayberry on the North Shore).

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