Chris is doing everything for us except donning the uniform and flicking lint off our shoulders with a brush. His agenda is blank now that the summer is here and his voice teacher is on vacation, choir and amateur opera rehearsals are in hiatus, and his part time employer is also away. Oh, yes, Dr. Stern is away for most of the summer, too.
So, here’s what he’s doing. Menu planning, grocery shopping, cooking, laundry, pick-up and delivery of Ian’s shirts, cleaning the apartment once a week, sorting the mail and accepting the delivery of packages. In his spare time (there’s still a lot of it), he has initiated the process for becoming a citizen in this fair country and is dealing with the bureaucracy involved.
Though he says he’s feeling overwhelmed (he’s a young man, after all, housework is stressful), he does this all so enthusiastically and well that it raises the question, why isn’t he in full time work or back at university or in vocational training? It’s been seven years now since his first hospitalization, and ten years since we began to suspect something was not right. His intellect is not impaired, he’s much better than he’s ever been, but he’s still hanging around the apartment with Ian and me, his parental units.
I do believe that people who have experienced what Chris has gone through tend to be too self-sacrificing for their parents and others, no thought for themselves. This is something to be worked through, but how? Being a valet to his parents surely isn’t helping, unless this is just something he has to do as part of the working it out process. Our situation is a bit complex in that we are not citizens of the country we are living in, and Ian and I do not intend to stay here after we retire. This means that if Chris wants to remain here with his brother Alex after we leave, he’ll need citizenship. What he would do here without a skill is beyond me, but that’s a long way off, in any case, and maybe by then he’ll have one.
I know Chris is thinking about possible directions, but this is still in the thinking stage. I will be overjoyed when he exercises more structure to his day in a field of his choosing.