Susan's Blog

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Goodnight, Nat


My Darling Nat,

Tonight you are in your new home. I am back here, at your other home. When I left you, you were sitting in the middle of the white couch, grinning and sucking your thumb. I know this means you were happy.

Nat, you are such a mensch. You always do what you can. You try so hard. You figure things out and you ask when you don’t know. I hope you remember that. There’s always someone whom you can ask, someone who cares.

You lived somewhere else before: Adams Drive. It was hard for me to get used to you being there, and so we brought you home every weekend. But that was during school. You were younger then. Now you are 22, a full grown man, and you are in a home that you got to choose. At least, you chose which room was yours. And you chose your colors: dark blue and aqua. You have a new dresser, and we unpacked and filled it up quickly: underwear and socks at the very top; pants at the very bottom.

We all ate pizza and salad at the table and the counter in the kitchen. There were a lot of us: Dad, another mom, a few staff people, your roommate and your brother Ben. The pizza was good. We also enjoyed the cake, which was shaped like your new house and had a Cadbury creme egg minivan in the Hershey bar driveway. It was fun and delicious.

It felt exciting being there, with new house smells of paint, spackle, and polish. The heat was on, and so the rooms were warm enough. I decided we needed some small blankets for the couches, because you like to snuggle in them. I’ll bring them by tomorrow.

In the car ride home, Ben rode with me so that I wouldn’t cry. You know that sometimes we cry when we are happy, right? And I am happy. You are on your way, kiddo, and I am so proud of you.

Love and goodnight,



Mazel Tov what an incredibly wonderful day and what an incredibly wonderful family Nat has for making this day possible.

Much success and happiness.

— added by marybeth darcy on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 9:35 pm

Susan–This took my breath away.

— added by Judy BF on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Susan, So special! Nat looks great in his new home. I can’t wait to see him and get Dana there.

— added by Donna McCoy-Algere on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 10:56 pm

Read with a lump in my throat. Congratulations to all of you and thank you for sharing your journey.

— added by Natalia Erehnah on Tuesday, February 28, 2012 at 11:34 pm


— added by Angela on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 1:09 am

what a wonderful day. I can’t possible even wrap my head around this happening for us in 15 years

— added by annemarie (@YLMBreadless) on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 1:57 am

What a wonderful gift you have given him, Susan! You are an amazing mother. Roots and wings, baby, roots and wings.

— added by Penny on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 5:56 am

Oh Susan, this made me cry big happy tears for Nat. This gives me so much hope for my own sons. Hope that someday they may have a lovely home to call their own too.

— added by Sunday Stilwell on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 6:47 am

Beautiful . . .

— added by Suzette on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 8:40 am

So beautiful, so loving. Someone else already said it, but yes, you have given Nat roots and wings. And a beautiful new home to call his own. As Sunday said, too, you give me so much hope for my Nik’s future. On the days when it feels so bleak and I can’t see past the momentary fog, I look to you and Nat and know that it’s going to be ok. It really, really is.

— added by Niksmom on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 8:48 am

I think the hardest part of my journey will be letting go. Doing what’s best for Ben instead of myself.

— added by Jacquie on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 8:53 am

Susan Dear,

What a wonderful thing. It warms my heart. Congratulations and love!

— added by Rosie on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 9:07 am

Hope he enjoys his new house.

— added by farmwifetwo on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 9:11 am

Very touching…

— added by J on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 10:38 am

As you said, “he always does what he can.” Way to go, Nat!!! And I’m so proud of you, my dear.

— added by Mom on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 11:49 am

Thanks, Mom!!!!

— added by Susan Senator on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 1:30 pm

A beautiful story. Do you know how such a wonderful place is financed?

— added by Sarah on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Indeed I do. The Medicaid waiver. Massachusetts applied to get Medicaid dollars matched 50% to its state dollars towards residential support. We were given a strict budget which utilizes the roommates’ social security checks and their allotment, and from that our service provider figured out rent and all other expenses. We also have a lot of donations for the furnishings.

— added by Susan Senator on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 4:16 pm

I am new to this blog, and so it is without any context beyond what I can imagine, that I read this, and find myself crying. It’s a good place to start.

— added by Rhiannon Fieri on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 7:16 pm

I tell myself everyday….don’t ever give up….and this is why. This will happen one day for our boy….because He (and his 2 devoted mums) will never give up. Your beautiful family is proof of that.

— added by Allison on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 8:29 pm

I’m going to save this, and on really difficult days with Riley, I’ll take it out and reread it. It gives me enormous comfort and hope for my little guys future. I realize that with every blog you are exposing a part of yourself that most of us keep hidden, but in your doing this, you are CHANGING things. Changing people. Sometimes all one needs to know is that someone else, in a similiar, sometimes impossible situation has made it through, and is looking at a bright future. It may not be the future they planned on, but it has beauty just the same. It gives me hope. Thank you for that…

— added by Teresa Packard on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 8:37 pm

Dear Susan,
I read your post and it took me back to the day about 2 years ago when my 27 year daughter with all kinds of cool traits and a disability of Autism/ID spent her first night at her group home. She was doing great. I on the other hand could barely conceal my tears at the end and drag myself away! My daughter had been so ready to be on her own for several years. I did not sleep much that night. My daughter had behavior issues at home the last couple of years. She has had no agression issues at the group home at all the last 2 years. She bonded with several residents over the next two months – quick for her. I saw her grow into a young lady who was more self assured. Her speech increased as she was surrounded with person’s her age who were verbal. She initiated social contact with the ladies at the home, a thing that had been difficult for her. Don’t get me wrong, not everything was perfect. There were days she was not happy at the home and I was filled with thoughts of did I make a mistake. Learning to communicate regularly and clearly with staff about positive things and things I want changed in her care takes time. The staff is her “new family” and the relationship needs to be nurtured in the same way. I was very emotional the first 6 months that she was in the group home but also very, very grateful that she has the wonderful opportunity to experience an independent life that many people don’t get. God bless you both as you embark on this journey.

— added by Row on Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 12:49 am

Wow! It looks really nice! I am so happy for Nat.

— added by Susan on Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 7:04 am

Congratulations. A dream come true and an inspiration for all of us other parents looking to the future.

Hope you can write something for us at BLOOM about ‘how you did it!’

Keep us posted on how things go.

— added by Louise Kinross on Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Susan, Congrats for getting through this. We did the same thing in August. It’s a roller-coaster. The transition takes longer than you expect. Our child still has trouble understanding the dual-home concept. This is the biggest hurdle we have to face as parents of a special needs child. Even if a placement does not work out and you have to go through it again, it’s much easier. You know the ropes and the funding is in place. In other words, you are “over the worst” of the expected challenges. Best, Alix

— added by Alix Ginsburg on Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 5:02 pm

This is wonderful Susan. So wonderful. And Nat looks just right. Here’s hoping for a smooth transition for you all.

— added by Kathleen on Monday, March 5, 2012 at 8:07 pm

Absolutely beautiful!

— added by kim mccafferty on Wednesday, March 7, 2012 at 1:43 pm

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