Susan's Blog

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


You would not think, when you learn how my day began, that this would have been one of the best days in a long time. But it was. Even though it began with getting a tiny, sharp splinter deep under my fingernail, and getting a rejection from the New York Times, and also an idiotic letter from a would-be employer, this has got to be one of my most golden of days.

I’ll start small: the weather is a perfect 10. Hot, but not humid, sunny, all is green and blue. I swam in a pool with my friend, and afterward Ned grilled a perfect set of steaks, which we ate with Caprese salad, corn, and wine. My porch is all buttery yellow and aqua. It feels like a summer cookout, sitting on those thick sunny cushions.

And, as they say at the Passover seder, that would have been enough: Dayenu.

Also, my editor is going ahead with my revamped proposal, so it looks like I’ll be able to finally start writing that second autism book in the fall, once the contract is underway, which should happen in August.


Finally: our meeting with Nat’s school was fantastic. Here’s what happened. Ned and I set out early for the meeting, figuring we would drive by what we thought was his future residence (we had the street name, but no house number). We got to the street and we saw a tall young man walking out the door to a house, and get into a van. “I think that’s it,” Ned said. “It looks like the one we saw when we were first checking out the Residential program.” But we didn’t know for sure.

I saw that the guy was backing out of the driveway, about to back into a plastic garbage can. He hit the can, and as he got out of his car, I took my opportunity. “Is this the ___ House?” I asked. He looked at me for a moment. “This is ____ Road…” If it was the house, he was not allowed to tell me. But I was not going to give up. “I’m looking for the ___ Institute House.”

He broke into a smile. “You must be Nat’s mom,” he said. We shook hands. He is the head teacher at the house. I liked him right away: he had a lot of spark and spunk. “He’s going to love it here,” he said.

We all got back into our cars and drove to the meeting. There were about 10 people around the table. I produced a list of 11 questions and went down the list. We got everything decided and discussed, such as, when we were going to have dinner with the House, how we would get all Nat’s stuff there, how often could he come home, how frequently could they talk to me (“at least daily,” the head teacher said), what did Nat like to do, to eat, etc. I invited all of them to my party, plus they said they would bring his entire House, with the staff: two vans’ worth of guys, descending upon my quiet, stodgy neighborhood. Cool.

All those people putting their heads together, about my son. My heart was just bursting. I wanted to hug all of them. Finally I said, “I gotta get out of here,” so that I could just go and cry.

I realized, driving home with Ned, that this was really probably maybe going to be great for Nat. A house of young guys, running it and inhabiting it. Guys that know how to work and how to play. Guys who are psyched, stoked, and pumped to have Nat move in with them.

I realized that if Nat was going to actually be happy there, that maybe, just maybe, I could be happy with him being there. I could — let go? Did I just say that?

And now, to come up with a design for Nat’s cake. Dayenu!


Susan, we haven’t ‘met’ yet, but i’ve been reading for a while and i have to tell you (with tears streaming down my face) that i am so happy for you.
i know that feeling – the table full of people who are all hell bent on making your child’s life everything that it can be. relish it and trust in it.
as i follow your journey i wish you continued peace, the peace that you felt today – the peace of trusting in your decisions and yourselves, the peace in knowing that you have done what will be best for your wonderful son ..
in recent days, i’ve turned to a favorite quote and i thought perhaps you’d find some use in it too:
edward teller once said, “when u come to the end of all the light u know, and it’s time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of 2 things shall happen; either you will be given something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly”

keep the faith – our beautiful children have taught us to fly. trust your wings, susan. i’ve been reading; i can tell you they are there.



— added by jesswilson on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 at 10:41 pm

Not letting go, just loaning your amazing son to someone else to bask in his awesome glory…..

— added by Mom26children on Wednesday, July 16, 2008 at 11:49 pm

I couldn’t even begin to find words as beautiful as jess wrote so I will merely add Mazel Tov!

— added by Niksmom on Thursday, July 17, 2008 at 7:20 am

Ok, how do I save this blog for 7 years, because I’m really going to need it then and I fear it will be long gone? Aaron is only 11 but I know so many of your posts about Nat’s transition will be a life line for me when (if?) he ever moves on. Every time I read one, I want to print it out and file it away.

And I so appreciate your comments about good days, we’ve been having them as well and I wish I could print them out and file them away too!

Thanks Susan,

— added by kaija bonde on Thursday, July 17, 2008 at 12:23 pm

Ahhh, I’m so proud of you. Nat is going to thrive, and so is the rest of your clan. Today I would prescribe a happy dance, a little chocolate and a cocktail at the appropriate hour.

FYI – Jared had an appointment with his Dr. yesterday, which started with an hour and a half stint in the waiting room. We all agreed that Jared would not have been able to cope with that a year ago. Hooty hoo!! I celebrated with my own awkward “Elaine” dance, chinese food and a cocktail at the appropriate hour. Lisa

— added by Anonymous on Friday, July 18, 2008 at 12:29 pm