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The Day Before Eclosion

The Day Before Eclosion

By, Adrienne D’nelle Ruvalcaba

Published by Indigo Plume at Shakespir

©2016 Adrienne D’nelle Ruvalcaba

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Prologue

“Momma, why can’t you help it? What if it falls?” Gracie demanded as she tugged at Sharon’s long, knit skirt while jumping up and down.

“Gracie, do you remember when we talked about this last night? The butterfly is hanging there so that her wings can inflate. If we touch her before her wings are ready, they might stay crumpled. If they harden like that, she will never be able to fly,” Sharon reminded her daughter.

As expected, the tugging on her skirt came again. She looked down into Gracie’s impatient little face and said, “This is the most important part of this butterfly’s life. We can watch, but we can’t touch.”

“Yes, Momma,” Gracie said as her hand stilled on Sharon’s skirt.

“Would you like to get your butterfly book and read the story about the Monarch migration to me while we wait? It might take a while until she is ready to fly away,” Sharon said.

Gracie’s face brightened into a full smile just before she released Sharon’s skirt and resumed jumping up and down. “I’ll get the book, and I’ll get Cody too!” she squealed in excitement. A moment later she had rocketed into the house, leaving the front door open and a trail of muddy boot prints in her wake.

Sharon didn’t bother to follow her inside. Instead, she sat down on the small wrought iron bench beside her little garden and enjoyed the quiet moment. Less than a minute later, Gracie and her younger cousin, Cody, charged out the front door like a couple of wild little chickens who had been in the coop too long.

“Aunt Sharon! Aunt Sharon! Gracie said you got us a butterfly balloon!” Cody screamed.

“That’s not what I said!” Gracie yelled back at him. “Momma, tell Cousin Cody what I said!” she panted when she reached Sharon.

“There’s no balloon?” Cody whined as tears gathered in his eyes. “Gracie, you lied!”

A moment later, Cody crossed his arms over his protruding little belly and stomped off around to the side of the house. “I’m going to play with the chickens until my mommy comes back,” he declared with a pout.

“Momma, can we feed the chickens some bugs?” Gracie asked.

Before Sharon could open her mouth to reply, Gracie had dropped the butterfly book on the ground, and was racing after her cousin toward the chicken coop.

“Little cousin, you are not going to touch those chickens unless I tell you to!” she shouted when she reached him.

Cody turned away from her and glanced back at Sharon with a frown.

“Gracie!” Sharon called as she stood up and walked toward the chicken coup. “Do you think it’s very nice of you to talk to Cody that way? Cody is our guest for the day, and we don’t scream at our guests. How would you feel if Cody did that to you?”

“Stop telling me what to do! You’re not my real mother anyway!” Gracie shouted just before running back toward the front door.

Sharon stared after her and considered her options. She could go after her like she always did, or she could give her a minute to cool down before attempting to talk to her. Each time she was faced with this choice, the decision never got any easier. Four years had passed since the adoption had been finalized, and in that time, a world of strife had opened up in her life.

Special needs.

It was a familiar set of syllables, but the meaning had shifted the very foundation of her life since becoming Gracie’s adoptive mother. All children had needs, but her daughter had special needs.

***

Chapter 1

Ten Years Later

“I just don’t think she’s ready to be out on her own yet,” Sharon said as she looked into her husband’s eyes.

“Honey, she is legally and adult. Don’t you think she deserves a shot to live with as much independence as she possibly can? When we first started researching assisted living, you agreed that it was a good idea. The alternative is for Gracie to spend her entire life solely dependent on us. Even Mrs. Townsend agreed that it’s better for Gracie to have a wider circle of people to meet her needs. We have to face the fact that we won’t be around forever, and she will need somebody,” Martin said in a perfectly reasonable tone.

“I’m only 48,” Sharon reminded her husband with a teary eyed little smile. “I think we’ll both be around for at least a few more years.”

“There’s no question we will, but think how much harder it will be for Gracie to adjust to life without us if she spends the next thirty years living with us. I agree with Mrs. Townsend that there needs to be some kind of transition now that Gracie has reached adulthood. If she does well in the independent living community, she can move out and have a place all on her own in another year. I thought we had already settled this.”

“I thought we had too,” Sharon said.

Martin released a sigh of frustration and appeared to choose his next words carefully.

“I feel really confident that the community we agreed on is a good fit for Gracie’s abilities. At this point, she has enough practical knowledge to live completely on her own. Her IQ is borderline deficient, so that means that she can do everything a person of average intelligence can do. She has responded well to her medications over the years, Sharon. I think she’ll be just fine,” he said.

Sharon looked down at the brochure in her hands again. The Cottage was billed as an independent living facility with supportive services for residents who needed minimal assistance in their daily lives.

“I know we’ve been considering options for years, but I just don’t see how one year in this place will totally prepare her to actually live independently when the time comes. They have good safety procedures in place, but what happens when Gracie moves into an apartment where there isn’t an entire staff to make sure the residents are secure? What happens if she forgets to lock her door in a regular apartment complex?”

“By then, she’ll be an old pro at living like an adult. We’ll remind her to lock her doors.”

“She’s only 20. I think she needs a few more years at home,” Sharon groused.

“If we wait, in a few more years, we’ll be having this exact same conversation again,” Martin countered with a look of acute exasperation.

Sharon glanced down at the brochure again. She and Martin had set an appointment to tour the facility before discussing it in detail with Gracie and scheduling a move-in date.

She really had not intended to be the squeaky wheel at this point in their lives. God knows they had already been through enough over the past fifteen years. Within their third year of being an official family, diagnoses and behavioral issues had come rolling in like a massive thunderstorm. Every day of their lives had been dominated by the need to categorize and explain every set of behaviors that made no sense to them. ODD, ADHD, RAD, developmental delay were all terms that had held very little concrete meaning to Sharon until her daughter Gracie had been diagnosed with all of them.

She had gone through all the stages of accepting such life altering diagnoses as truth. First had been flat out denial. But then, after several rounds of retesting and several IEP meetings with social workers and school officials, the acceptance had started to creep in. Now, more than ten years later, she was fully invested in the knowledge that her life was no longer her own. She was the mother of a vulnerable individual who would never outgrow the need for her. After struggling to accept that fact, and even to embrace it, how was she to allow her daughter to leave home and live in a new place?

This next step in their lives, though logical, made no sense to her heart.

“Maybe we should invite Gracie to come along with us on the tour. Since she’s going to be moving soon, she’ll need to be a part of the entire process. That way she can take some ownership over this change,” Sharon said with a sigh of resignation.

***

Chapter 2

Two weeks after Gracie’s late winter move-in date, Sharon still struggled to accept that her daughter no longer lived at home, that she needed to get in her car and drive ten minutes every time she felt the need to check on her. If Sharon had a dime for every time she had squelched the urge to pop by and check on her daughter, she would be a millionaire by now. She got through the day by redirecting her thoughts and sending the occasional text to her daughter. Texts which, thankfully, Gracie answered within reasonable timeframes.

That evening, Sharon was in the middle of setting the table for dinner when Gracie walked in.

“Momma, I’m home!” she called out with a huge smile on her face.

“Gracie!” Sharon exclaimed as she rushed forward to hug her daughter. “Are you joining us for dinner again tonight?”

“Yes, and I have a big surprise to tell you about. A huge, secret surprise, actually,” Gracie said as her chin went up a few notches and she placed a hand on her hip.

“A surprise, huh?” Sharon said.

“I’ll wait until Daddy comes home. He needs to hear too.”

“Okay, Gracie. We’ll wait for Daddy. Do you want to help me finish up with dinner and set the table?”

“Of course, Momma.”

Sharon’s heart lifted at Gracie’s gentle smile. The days of struggling with every simple request were long gone. In place of the defiant and anxiety riddled child, Gracie now stood as a functioning young adult. Over the past two weeks, Sharon had constantly reminded herself of that fact to keep her natural tendency to worry under control. Tears came to her eyes as she watched Gracie take plates out of the china cabinet and carefully place them on the table. Every once in a while, she interrupted herself to smile and wave at Sharon.

Once the dishes were in place, Gracie walked into the kitchen and said, “I’m done, Momma.”

“Your dad should be home any minute. Thanks for doing such a lovely job setting the table,” Sharon said.

“Do you want help with the noodles?” Gracie offered.

Sharon glanced back at her daughter and squelched the urge to warn her that straining the noodles was a hard job. Of course Gracie could strain a pot of noodles; she was an adult now. An adult who lived in a small apartment with a kitchenette.

“Uh, sure,” Sharon said with a smile as she stepped aside. She then watched from the corner as Gracie placed the colander in the sink and grabbed a couple of kitchen mitts. “Watch out, Momma. It’s hot,” Gracie said as she carefully lifted the steaming pot from the stove and walked toward the sink. A moment later, a cascade of hot water and noodles poured neatly into the colander, and Gracie looked at Sharon with a wide smile on her face.

“Thanks for letting me help,” she said.

“Well, thank you for helping,” Sharon said with quiet enthusiasm.

Just then, the door swung open and Martin walked in.

“Daddy!” Gracie squealed. “I’ve been waiting so long to tell you and Momma that I got a job!”

“A job!?” both Sharon and Martin exclaimed at the same time.

“Yes! A job!” Gracie squealed again as she clapped her hands and jumped up and down. “I did it all by myself, and I love it. I just love it!”

Sharon watched the joy in Gracie’s eyes radiate to every feature in her face as she fought the unease that threatened to ruin this moment for her.

“Where are you working, honey?” she asked with a careful smile.

“At the congruence, wait no, the con… con…the confluent tower,” Gracie answered.

“Do you mean the confluence tower?” Martin asked.

***

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The Day Before Eclosion

Sharon's only daughter, Gracie, is ready to move out on her own. What should be an exciting transition is complicated by Gracie's disability. Can Sharon learn to accept Gracie's newfound need for autonomy before irreparable damage is done to their relationship? The Day Before Eclosion is the story of a mother's struggle to respect her daughter's need for independence at the most crucial time of her young life.

  • ISBN: 9781310070372
  • Author: The Indigo Plume Publishing Company
  • Published: 2016-06-20 09:05:06
  • Words: 10930
The Day Before Eclosion The Day Before Eclosion