Saturday was moving day for Kristen. As part of the welcoming committee she was actually due back a week ago but her summer employment contract ended on Friday. She ended up not working right to the very end as leaving Mathew in his current condition was emotionally difficult. We are grateful for the understanding showed by her employer.
On Thursday evening Kristen and Mathew spent some quality time together watching a movie. It wasn’t the best choice given that a beloved pet passes away so I gave her a box of Kleenex to go along with “Frankenweenie”. The two of them sat quietly together on the same couch and I actually had an opportunity to take a picture of them together without the usual goofy face or hand gesture. You notice of course, that it is a picture of the back of them!
Later that evening Kristen crawled into my bed and whispered she needed help packing because she was overwhelmed. We had a heart-to-heart about life and working through guilt issues she was experiencing. She then went on to bed and slept well and we got on to the business of packing on Friday. Normally Kristen is efficient and organized (she exists in organized chaos) but this year required a herculean effort. She tossed clothes in her suitcase while I, horrified, pulled them back out and folded them before re-packing them.
After a couple of hours we took a popsicle break.
It didn’t take long before nosy, furry guests sauntered in for a look-see. Normally the dogs can’t get into the lower level of our house but Jasmine destroyed the bottom half of the basement door in the last 2 months. She has never exhibited this destructive behaviour before and we aren’t sure what her driving force is. The door was already fixed a few weeks ago when she clawed through the repairs again on Thursday night.
Spook was NOT impressed to find “his” special place already taken over by those other creatures. There isn’t any spare room on her floor anymore, did you notice??
Spook gets special attention of course, being her cat.
The picture behind Kristen is one we picked out for her room shortly after moving to New Brunswick. It is my favourite picture ever and to me it represents the sheer joy that one experiences in life and it reminds me of Kristen’s joyful, bubbly personality.
After pushing through the packing for a couple of hours Kristen finally relaxed – see?
Ha ha! Not. She wanted to pack her academic stuff by herself so I left her to it.
Yesterday morning John drove up to Fredericton before Kristen and I left in my car. Most of Kristen’s stuff packed into the truck and John swung by his brother Alistair’s (who lives in Fredericton) to pick him up. We wanted his help; many hands make light work and every year that passes I hate those stairs to the second floor in Kristen’s residence. Everyone huffs and puffs their way up only to find the second floor oppressively hot. The building is very old and uses hot water radiators. Last year Kristen used her fan continuously AND had her window open much of the time. This is remarkable because Kristen keeps the heat on in her bedroom at home during the summer! There are times her room is so hot I am blasted right out of there. Back to Holy Cross House, by the time I left yesterday every other window was open ~ except hers! I sweated rivets down my back and thankfully gulped in the humid Fredericton air that felt cool and breezy compared to her room!
Kristen and I left once Wendy came over to stay with Mathew. We are lucky to have beautiful aunts and uncles like Wendy ~ she took Mathew to the mall, shopped with him and treated him to a lunch out. Plus they watched a movie and some tv at home. Mathew adores Wendy which made it possible for John and I to concentrate on Kristen’s well-being and adjustment to leaving.
Neither Kristen nor I had eaten by the time we headed out so I stopped in to our local MacDonald’s for Kristen’s favourite breakfast. The drive-through was my obvious choice except the delivery truck blocked it off and shut it down. Me and a bunch of other hungry customers got sucked inside the black hole of the restaurant and clawed our way back out with breakfast. Kristen managed to amuse herself while I was beating my path to food as you can see from these pictures…
It was a warm day so, with windows down and sunroof open, we sang along with the latest hits on the radio. We arrived in Fredericton around noon and Kristen texted John shortly before we arrived so he and Alistair could join us at the dorm.
The next 2 photos show part of the Saint Thomas University (STU) campus. In the second picture, Kristen’s residence is on the left of the main structure. She lives in Holy Cross House. Being as non-religious as we are the humour in this is not lost on us but I can assure you, there have been no unsightly happenings in the 2 years Kristen has lived there.
The welcoming committee was cheering and tooting their horns at the main entrance to Holy Cross so we went around to the quieter back entrance as neither of us were feeling the spirit right then. Kristen is part of the same welcoming committee as I mentioned above however she apprised them of her situation and she is choosing what she is comfortable doing this year. Her friends were so happy to see her and the welcoming committee swarmed the vehicles and unpacked us in record time.
Kristen moved back into her old, single room from last year. Her sleep issues still keep her roaming the halls and studying in the wee hours and everyone benefits from her not sharing her weird hours. The first thing a student does is sign for his/her room which you can see Kristen doing here. This is the “before” photo of her room; that curtain topper is hideous (do you hear me STU? Those are from the 80s for heaven’s sake!!) but we put a pretty curtain over the bland blind and topper.
This photo shows a few of the people unloading stuff from John’s truck. The other “grown-up” is Alistair, John’s older brother. The rest of them? Sure like kids from where I’m standing! Yes…*sigh*…that is a bathrobe Kristen is wearing. It is her boyfriend’s. There will be more on that in a post for tomorrow so let’s just skip that parental embarrassment for the moment shall we?
Saying good-bye to her Dad was hard this year.
John and I both feel that university is the best place for Kristen if at all possible. Her third year is paid for, she is happy there and she still has her future to work towards. I take issue with anyone who dares challenge this decision and told her not to give those people a second thought. No one knows how we live in our 4 walls with a developmentally disabled person who is not a sweet-tempered, gentle creature to live with. Make no mistake, as much as we love Mathew he has many struggles and is more prone to outbursts and temperamental displays of anger, depression and dominance. We all live the best we can in this moment, with the knowledge we have. There is nothing Kristen can do here; Mathew wants me and me alone – his father comes second…and that is it. While Mathew loves his sister he also is jealous and resents that she is “normal” and goes out with friends, can go to university, and always is busy. This isn’t a new sentiment for him as we deal with it every time she goes somewhere with her friends or when she goes off to University. Kristen needs to believe and trust that we are happier and relieved if we know she is happy in University. She wouldn’t be able to spend much time with Mathew and frankly, he is in constant pain and doesn’t want her around.
Before you think it all sounds rather gloomy she already has laughed and had fun. Take note of the following picture.
Kristen’s boyfriend is attending the University of New Brunswick which abuts the STU campus. It isn’t too much of a walk although her dorm is at the very top of a steep hill and his….well… it is as far to the bottom as possible. They will get a good workout visiting each other.
Her boyfriend is a bit of a ham and doesn’t mind poking fun at himself. In case you missed it, look closer at what boyfriend has on for shoes…To boyfriend’s Mom: Kristen INSISTED I put this picture on my blog. She thinks it is hilarious. Don’t worry about him wanting to strut in women’s heels…he lasted the couple of seconds to take this picture. He thinks women are nuts for wearing ankle-breakers. Kristen has never worn them, by the way. She loves the sparkle on them and the potential to wear them. Check out her sensible, but pretty, sandals with the orthopedic inserts in the photo while waiting for breakfast. That’s my girl.
On our way back to Saint John, John and I stopped in at Alistair and Denise’s for supper. They have a beautiful home that Alistair built. His carpentry both inside and outside the house, along with Denise’s decorating flair, showcase a home worthy of a magazine. Every time we visit I see something new and sigh and drool again. My decorating talents pale compared to Denise’s and there are countless ideas I want to steal for my own (isn’t that the most sincere form of flattery??). Here are two photos of their home:
The front of their house
One of Denise’s flower beds.
Some time, with their permission, I will blog about this home. It will include plenty of pictures for you to sigh and admire.
Oh yeah…and that packing we did? It sucked!
After dropping her off I had to race-shop for shampoo, towels, bed sheets, printer paper and cartridge and food for her fridge among other things.
Then we still forgot items such as her kettle, bowls, dish towel and dish cloth!!!
We miss you beloved daughter.
We want you to be happy there so remember our talks and call us any time you need reassurance or a phone hug.
Love, Mum and Dad