Life’s not so easy on the other end of the tether, either.
Mary is dependent on us for most of her transportation. We live in a mid size city in the Midwest. We have public transportation, but it leaves something to be desired. Six of the communities in our town have voted to support the bus system. The rest of them voted no on paying for buses, which means large parts of the metropolitan area are inaccessible to people who can’t drive or don’t have a car.
We have been driving her back and forth to work since the beginning of February. We are happy to do it, but it adds an extra 90 minutes of driving to our days. It’s a great opportunity to talk to Mary every day, hear how it is going, how she is feeling about her future, what her plans are.
Still, Mary is feeling the strain of the tether, and so are we.
“When I was unpacking Will’s clothes in his room with Aunt Mary, I felt so jealous. I wanted my own apartment or condo. I wanted to move out, but I know I need to have patience,” said Mary one morning on the way to work.
Over the last year or so, Mary and I have had many discussions about where she would live, how she would get around, how she would meet her own needs. Having a full time job has transformed her wishes to plans.
Finding an apartment or a condo which is near a main bus line rather than a tertiary bus route, is essential. The apartments closest to her job have bus transportation from 5:00 a.m. to 9:00 am and from 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm. A few bus routes have service from 5:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. and on Weekends. Not many though. But she is doing the research.
“I have to have transportation for when you aren’t able to take me to work anymore,” she said.
“I’ll still be around,” I said.
“But you might not be available to take me to work every day. I would still like you to take me grocery shopping. Apartments don’t seem to located near grocery stores. At least not the ones near my job, with dependable bus routes.”
Mary is dependent on us for transportation to work, church, the doctor and dentist, grocery store, shopping for clothes, and furniture. That will need to change. She goes to church with us now, but our church is not on a bus route, so either we will need to give her a ride, or she will have to find a church which is near her apartment/condo.
She wants to get to work on her own, have her own place. When, not if, she moves out, all of these issues will have to be considered. She told Ralph last week that she would like to move in about a year during the spring or fall. That should be enough time to save some money and figure out how she will provide for her own needs.
This blog has veered off the topic of transition for the last several months due to Ralph’s illness and hospitalizations. But really, his health issues are germane to the topic of transition. We have been unable to take her where she needed to go this fall. Our friends have helped out when we couldn’t. Chaos entered our lives, and we couldn’t provide for Mary.
“I know I can’t always depend on you and Dad,” said Mary. It’s true. So she is making her own plans to break the tether.