Saturday, September 27, 2014

Traveling in the Fog

Mother Connie is very blessed to have special guys in her life.  The fellow above is Michael Birdsong.  Another, Andy Baum, is pictured below:

These two dear characters live together in an Extended Family Home, where they are cared for with love and concern by a precious family who could easily be poster children for "How to Be the Ideal Family." Twice yearly we gather with their Teams of caretakers, Work Site leaders and each of their Service Coordinators to evaluate their activities, program progress, and quality of life.  This past week their semi-annual planning meetings made for our travel destination.

The trip began early in the morning.  The sun was almost up as we began our trek; we could see that the fog hovered above the crops in ribbons of white froth.  It put me in mind of wedding finery with a veil that trailed after the bride! The aroma of fall was in the air; the leaves were changing colors and we marveled at the progress of the corn and soybean crops.  We sipped our coffee and chatted as we traveled, thoroughly enjoying one another's company.

First up: Andy Baum's meeting.  His new Service Coordinator had arrived before we did and we were pleased to meet her for the first time.  It was clear from the outset that Joan already enjoyed having Andy on her case load.

Much of his meeting consisted of the Caretakers sharing a very long list of Andy's activities.  We all giggled as mention was made of his being photographed with the drummer from STYX; we were delighted to see that Andy sported new glasses, a new watch and guy jewelry around his neck and on the watchless wrist!  *This is a very new wrinkle for Andy Baum!

Andy kept close track of the time and when the hour was up, he announced that he was finished and he would ride the van to his house.  This was vintage Andy.  He likes his routine.  (Don't we ALL?)

When it was time for Michael Birdsong's meeting he appeared wearing his new blue shirt, smiling widely and looking very stylish.  Each of the boys has a personal shopper--another of the many perks of living with Al and Deb--and they have become more concerned with their appearance.

There was a long list of Michael's activities, too.  These guys do not have the same interests and their networks of people are varied.  Their desires and dreams are regarded with serious consideration.  It was fun to learn about the dancing partner, the birthday parties, the people whose lives were touched by this man.  His biggest thrill was getting to deliver a drink sack to the recipient's door when Meals on Wheels was on the agenda. 

Michael Birdsong will celebrate another birthday next month.  Since we won't get to see him on the actual date, we toted a few goodies for him.  To honor his Cheyenne Indian heritage, we found some tipi and canoe kits; a headdress, and a paper file for some of the greeting cards he loves to send to his pals.

Every one of Michael's birthdays has been a miracle.  When he arrived in this world, they were sure he would not survive the first night.  I have been told that his doctors met the evening he was born to ascertain how to proceed.  The opening in his spine was carefully closed and they declared that if he lived to age 2, it would be another miracle.  Before that second birthday he received a shunt to accommodate spinal fluid and they were absolutely convinced he would not see his 13th birthday.  Well, Michael Birdsong had things to do and people to meet and he has reached the ripe old age of 48. 

Michael and I spar every year over his age.  I INSIST he should be 18 because I am "33"...I always argue that it doesn't look good for a woman my age to have a son his age.  But I do concede that he is adopted...It gives us a good laugh and reassures him that he has a family or two who really, really care about him.

I find it interesting that this mother should be so invested in two guys when she was not in the delivery room with either of them.  Ya.  That's how love works; it just spills all over people.

Connie Baum