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November 11, 2020
Lori Podvesker
Community Voices
A mother and her son with a disability smile proudly. Both have hair styled upwards in a fun way.

This is hard to believe, but my Jack turns 18 tomorrow. He turns 18 at a time in our country’s history like no other.

The pandemic has forced a lot of us to be present and live our values more deliberately. We’ve had to protect ourselves and our families. We’ve had to decide each day what and who is worthy to take risks for. We’ve had to face ourselves and our past because there was nowhere to run or hide from it. Although it is painful, the dealing and healing are our paths to a brighter future. 

Jack transitioning to adulthood is about his future—and ours as a family. My heart is both heavy and full. I am petrified, but hopeful. My love for him is natural and like no other love. It is pure. I want him to be safe, happy, and feel loved.

So, I must let go of who he isn’t. I must let go of certain attachments I have to him, so he can have a good quality of life. I must let go of my fears that he is vulnerable, so he can become resilient on his own. I must let in who Jack actually is and what he needs. So, he can become.

I must continue to accept that Jack’s needs are greater than what our family can give him. We can provide security, laughter, and love, but it is not enough. That is not a failure on our part. 

Jack needs his own connections, community, and friendships. He needs to decide on his own what he likes doing and who he likes spending time with. Like all of us, Jack needs a life of his own.