Out of the Closet

05/07/2021 2 By BuddyCushman

My son Spenser and I began this afternoon the work of cleaning out his closet. For the upcoming move. Like some crash sale – everything must go.

Regular readers of the Blog likely know Spenser has Down Syndrome. Which means his thinking process is unique and works just fine for him except when it doesn’t. Like being told everything must go and hearing the reason why – which he played no part in – about 100 times (so far) and saying he gets it and saying yeah, let’s do this, and saying we’ll be okay, Dad, and saying no way, saying un-huh, you’re not touching any of this, saying it’s staying right here.

Where it’s been the last four and a half years. Today, after watching him eat a lunch I made for him and watching “Dickie Roberts” (a favorite of us both), and just before convincing him to take a between-rain walk, I was able to bring him back to an “okay” with the packing-mind-place, and I told him I’d bought heavy-duty trash bags when I did his food shopping this morning and I brought them to his room and said I could start loading the likely 150-200 t-shirts piled on the floor and in boxes and and a clothes hamper and the mostly-fallen down closet hanging bar and he said, no, he wanted to do it. So I stood behind him holding the bag open and he took his shirts one by one, slowly, and dropped them in the bag and I asked every once in a while was he sure he wanted to not bring that one to his new home and he’d say no and drop it in and I got teary because this is just too much some time and my son, my son who you could say doesn’t always get it but sure gets loving his t-shirts, he’s paying the price of the adults. And after a while the bag was heavy enough and I kept reminding him he and his new family could go any time to where all his shirts and DVD’s and all his sacred stuff will be stored and he said one bag was enough today and put the things back that had been in the way, and then we went for a walk and came back and he sat on the couch to watch “Deal or No Deal” – the couch where he loves to sit and watch the smart tv and has all these years and that’s coming to an end and I’m not sure he really gets it. And I came down here to the basement to write this – what I call my “daily weather”.

This is what they glibly call “collateral damage” in war and other violence movies. And mostly he doesn’t really get it, and he sure doesn’t deserve it, and all I can do is help him walk through it – the easy part, moving in with people who have worked with him for years, and who love him – and the hard parts, like his beloved shirts, one by one, out of the closet and into a bag.