comings and goings

04/12/2022 1 By BuddyCushman

An alternative title for today’s post could have been, “the divorce of many fallouts”.

If you follow along here you may remember that shortly before leaving my friend Kate’s spare room the end of last June I had, first, a phone interview and then a Zoom interview with an agency in Encinitas, CA for a pt-time position working with a young man with Down syndrome, which felt righteous to me, about to leave far behind my own son with that very same human situation. I did have a formal in-person interview, after arriving along the southern California coast, and did attend a training shift in that young man’s apartment. What became clear quickly was it was not the right place for me, and in the parking lot about to go in for the second training time, I called my as-of-then boss and said don’t bother coming and meeting me here today, this isn’t right, thanks but not thanks. Which was fairly righteous and right-hearted on my part, and also put me in a position of being royally screwed financially, rent much higher than social security. Two nights later I saw an add on Craigslist for another agency and lazily ignored instructions on how to apply and just sent something I wrote about me and my “stuff” and hit send. The next morning I received an insanely enthusiastic email about my “application”, and later two phone calls, the second of which was from the agency’s CEO, who also enthusiastically talked about me coming on board as a team member working for a young married couple in their apartment in San Marcos, both couple members with Down syndrome.

Those were and are the San Marcos kids, as I’ve referred to them so often these last nearly nine months, and they welcomed me into their home and they welcomed me into their lives, and I was honored for the opportunity to share whatever “my stuff” is with them and their families and my fellow team members. Honored and blessed. And along the way I moved from Encinitas, a 10-mile back-road drive to San Marcos, to Golden Hill in San Diego, a fairly stressful and sometimes dangerous 35-mile drive each way. And you know, I hung in a long time, since the tail end of October, and it included half the driving in the dark and often through rainstorms which leaned toward the apocalyptic. And a couple of months back I made the decision I’d had enough of that. The drive. Me and my 72-turned-73 year-old self feeling like it was enough. So I called Beth, my boss, and gave seven-weeks notice, and today is the final day of those seven weeks. Today is my last day with the San Marcos kids.

As a human I have feelings and these are mine. This big sense of relief not having to do that drive but two more times – up the 15 in a couple of hours, and back the 15 early this evening. And being retired again. I have, also, a profound feeling of loss. Not going to be with the kids again, after today. It’s always felt great just walking in their door. I think if I went back through all my posts here the past nine months I’d find many occasions where I did justice to the experience of being in the presence of two real, and powerfully, loving people. It’s never felt like “work” for me (except some cooking stuff here and there). It’s been a gift. I do believe I’ve brought something to them – my experience as the father of a Down syndrome son; my 40 or so years of experience in the field of human services; mostly the me of me.

It’s been a really good deal, and none of this would have happened without the divorce. I’m not smart enough to know what to make of all that – the all of it, but I’m for sure smart enough to understand who’s been the lucky one.

Now, let me go up and hang out with the San Marcos kids one more time.