This is a kind man, this psychologist with the British accent. I can tell. He has an earring. That alone got past my defenses, just a little.
I hate these appointments.
It is his job to evaluate Jude for services. The premise of the grant we are up for is that it is cheaper for the government to provide things like respite and care in the home than to pay for residential care.
Residential care. It sounds like swearing. We don't say those words in my house.
Nice guy asks Jude some questions, like what day is it, and where do you live? Jude points at some pictures when asked, but not all of them. I try not to interfere.
Actually, the worse this guy's report is, the better chance we have of getting the grant. I should not be trying to get Jude to show how smart he is. Rationality, though, is outside cooling its heels in the minivan. I left it there. I always do.
When the testing is all done, Don takes Jude outside to look at squirrels or whatever and I stay to talk to earring. He tells me, not unkindly, that Jude tests in the mentally retarded range, and that he will likely need residential care before his teen years are through.
He is brilliant, I say. Jude knows who Gustav Klimt is, for God's sake. He loves Thoreau. Keats. Brahms.
That might be, says nice earring man, but if he can't put on his own shoes, then his functional IQ is low.
There are plenty of people out there who function just FINE I want to say, and they never recognize beauty one freaking moment of their lives. I do tell him, that Jude is loved, and lovely, and happy. I might have waved my finger in his face.
Poor guy. What a crappy job. He gets paid to tell people things no one should ever have to hear.
Later, at home, I cry, weeping, sobbing with a towel in my mouth so no one can hear my anguish in the bathroom. It's not fair, God, not fair, you give me this beautiful child and then you ask me to give him up. I can't be that brave. Stop asking me to be so brave.
I send nice British earring guy an email, thanks for being honest with me.
He writes me back that my feelings are quite normal, but I can't use them to make decisions about Jude's future, because Jude deserves independence. Just like I am planning for Sage and Eden to grow up and have a life, so I must plan for Jude.
He is right. It is a selfish, crappy message to give to Jude that he can only be okay when he is with me, and that I only exist to wipe his nose and button his shirt. Just like God has a plan for Sage, and Eden, and me, and my friend's kids, and earring guy, He has one for Jude.
So I pull up my socks, and trust in God, and try to be brave. Just try. Right now, it is really all I can do. Okay God, and Jude, and earring guy, this is me, taking those baby steps. Trying to move forward, and trying to let go.
Just don't ask me not to cry.