One of the change came as Will began his senior year and his younger brother A started kindergarten.
You shouldn't compare children, but I couldn't help myself. I found his little brother to be more responsible and able to follow through than the 17 year old.
Will stopped being a non-verbal child in speech therapy a long time ago, but I was, in many respects treating him like he was. I was nagging him about the same things and instead of teaching him the basic life skills, I was giving him a long to-do list to follow. I was putting his socks for him instead of teaching him how. I lectured him about responsibility, but I wasn't giving him a chance to be responsible. I didn't give him a chance to fail. Everything was done for him and my time was mostly dedicated to him.
After feeling guilty about my parenting failures, I saw my opportunity to redeem myself. My first challenge came in the form of a boy scout camp. I did the unthinkable.
Yes, I actually let him pack his own bags. I know that doesn't sound like a big deal, but do you realize how hard that is for me? I didn't ask him if he packed all he needed and I didn't double check his bag. If he forgot something, he would have to go without it and hope he would learn something from it.
I came home with a sense of accomplishment (especially for keeping my mouth shut) but I was still curious about what he left behind, a sleeping bag? a poncho? or tarp? It was hard to tell because I had many duplicate things and he wanted to take a different bag. After looking around, I realized he actually remembered to take his bathing suit to this camp out at the private beach.
When I picked him up, he was very happy and proud of himself of what he remembered to pack. He went on about his camp and what he managed to get done. I was glad for him, but I had to hide the guilt of keeping him back from growing up. But I am not going to dwell on it.
I'm not perfect, but who is. Will is growing up and so am I.