Last night, my sister and I attended a meeting on what will be the next step for Jared, for all of us. The meeting was about "self-determination". Gone are the days when people with special needs end up in day habs stuffing envelopes once they have aged out of school. At least, I hope they are gone, and if they are not, they should be. Since I am just at the beginning of this journey, I won't even attempt to explain the whole thing, but the goal of self-determination is to put the individual's future in his hands as well as in the hands of a select group of people who agree to support him. I would be lying if I said that I have complete trust in the system, but I do really hope that this means that Jared will be able to have a life where he is the center, where, when I am gone, he doesn't feel the gap; he can go on, without me. That has always been a fear of mine, leaving Jared on this earth without me. Did I ever tell you about the time I first found out about the hole in Jared's heart? He was a baby, and I was a sad and scared mother. He and I were in the car, driving home after one more seemingly hopeless dr. visit where I was again, baraged with all that was wrong with my baby. For a split second I thought that if I could just turn the wheel quickly, this baby boy would never have to be scared, never have to go at it alone. Thank goodness, the thought was not fully formed before logic immediately smothered that moment of insanity and tucked it far back in my mind. So I drove on, into a life that, while difficult and confusing at times, still has given me so much joy and so much wonder as I look at that now 18 year old baby, packing his wrestling bag and rushing out the door into senior year with more gusto than I ever had. I'm glad I didn't turn that wheel. Even though my mind reels at times at all I need to do to raise this boy, I'm glad I kept that car on the road, and I'm thankful for the people who have been helping me drive for the last 18 years.