Issue #31 – See Ya’ Friday

Posted on Posted in All Articles, Down Syndrome and Congenital Heart Defects

Rana Reisman


A number of months ago, I was encouraged to begin searching for long-term placement for my 23-year-old son, Yehudah.

Although there was availability in some residences, I was not yet comfortable placing Yehudah at that time.

A while later the call that I had wished for, begged for, nagged about and kvetched for, finally came. The principal of my son’s yeshivah called to inform me that there was an available bed in the very much sought after, coveted Dorm.

My son’s yeshivah has its own dormitory. The boys live there from Sunday through Friday morning. They attend yeshivah during the day and return to their dorm in the evenings. They go home to their families for Shabbos.

Although it doesn’t offer a full respite, It’s a clear step towards independence.

The decision was ours to make.

The slot was ours if we so desired.

And so, we grabbed the opportunity.

This move took an emotional toll on me. My son was moving out, and although he would be returning home for Shabbosim, the reality hit hard. Yehudah had now been given an opportunity to become less dependent on his parents and more dependent on himself.

Despite the fact that there are dedicated dorm counselors overseeing the boys, Yehudah is now motivated and encouraged to figure things out on his own. He needs to do his own laundry, clean up his room, shop for his groceries, and be responsible for his medications.

All these responsibilities are exactly what I had prepared him for.

This transition is hard for me. I’ve spent my life providing for his needs, wants and adapting my schedule to his. As he begins a new chapter, he leaves one behind.

As for me, a part of my life has ended as well and a new chapter has begun.

I feel lost without him.

I question my purpose.

The house is quieter.

I don’t need to run home to take care.

I can attend functions without figuring out logistics.

I am torn; I miss him but am so grateful for this opportunity.

I tell myself “No guilt; you’ve done your job. It’s time to let go.”

He is ready for this stage.

It’s been my goal since he was born, to make him as independent as possible.

“Be careful what you wish for; you might just get it.”

I got it.

And now I need to process it.

Absorb it.

Accept it.

Embrace it.

I feel a little niggling inside myself. My stage in life is changing. The clock doesn’t tick backwards. The “future” is creeping closer. Although this dorm arrangement works well for the immediate future, it doesn’t answer the inevitable. At some point Yehudah, along with his dorm mates, will need full- time coverage. But I won’t allow myself to dwell on that. For now, I’m going to enjoy my newfound freedom.

Thank you, Rabbi Horowitz, for this incredible opportunity!!

And Yehudah….