Faithful Friday: The Painful Art of Letting Go [of An Adult With Disabilities]

Faithful Friday: The Painful Art of Letting Go [of An Adult With Disabilities]

by: Debbie Waltz

I know I promised a review of Color My World with Love much sooner than this, but doctor’s appointments and surprises have changed my daily routines. While my morning personal assistant has been away on vacation, I have spent a lot of the time editing my book with my mom and getting it ready for a run-through by a professional editor before finally sending it to an agent. It is a challenging process considering most of my earlier content was written when I was in high school, and I didn’t have much experience with writing, etc. Those have been updated and added to several times as a result.

The movie “Color my world with love” centers around the tight-knit relationship of mother and daughter, Kendall and Emma (played by Lily D Moore and Erica Durance). Over the past year, Kendall has made several strides in developing her talent as a painter and becoming more independent by learning to cook for herself. But, little does her mother realize there is another reason she likes those cooking classes- her friend Brad (David Desanctis), who also happens to have down syndrome. The couple seems to have quite the connection and are hoping to get Emma’s approval to date. However, she has her concerns with the whole idea, feeling that they are moving way too quickly in their relationship; unable to say no to her daughter, she comes up with a compromise- chaperoning on their dates. Things get even more complicated when Emma starts developing feelings for Nic (Brad’s uncle, played by Ben Ayres). With Nic’s free-spirited ways, Emma begins to relax a little and loosen the reins on her daughter. Emma begins thinking long-term and what she wants for her life – besides being just Kendall’s mother; as a result, she begins to help out with Nic’s project of creating homes for the intellectually disabled. As Kendall and Brad explore what this means for their relationship, the couple are encouraged to take things slow and figure out what love means to them both.

Unfortunately, Brad has other ideas.

 On bended knee, Brad proposes with a real diamond ring during Nic’s parent’s anniversary party. (Not the one Nic thought Brad was trying to get for Kendall while playing in an arcade game.) So, while trying to make sense of her relationship with Nic, she is faced with another obstacle- How to slow things down while still keeping Kendall’s dreams for love and independence alive?

Kendall and her mom are out shopping one day when they come across a bridal boutique and go in and try on some wedding dresses. It is then that we begin to see societal impressions of the disabled emerge- saying something like, “This dress is expensive and going to take up to 6 months to customize to her ‘special’ size. However, despite the salesperson’s rudeness, Kendall is willing to forgive her, saying that Brad would’ve hugged her anyway because she was probably treated the same way in high school as they were.

Despite Kendall’s growth, Emma remains concerned about how they will maintain a marriage together- knowing how stressed out Kendall can get over the littlest things. Case in point: the couple has their first argument when discussing how soon they should have the wedding. Brad hopes to have it within two months, while Kendall is willing to wait it out. The couple begins arguing, and Kendall walks off. Brad walks off as well, only to realize that he has Kendall’s phone. But when he returns to the bus stop, she has disappeared. Brad is devastated- not only feeling guilty for arguing but leaving Kendall by herself at the bus stop.

Emma is devastated, but the police eventually notify them that Kendall is down at the police station. It reiterates her fears that they won’t be able to handle things on their own and urges everybody to take a break. Instead of agreeing, Nic encourages Emma to trust them and have faith in their relationship.

I’m not going to spoil the ending for you. I only suggest that you take the time to watch it yourself if you have the Hallmark Movies and Mysteries.

This movie had me reflecting on my relationship with my parents growing up.. From the very beginning, they struggled with how to struggled with how to raise a disabled daughter.My parents believed I would be as independent as I could be; believing in that; they enrolled me in a particular school designed for people with cerebral palsy. Once they saw that I had developed the skills necessary and they had learned all they could from the school themselves, I moved on to a regular schooling program. As I excelled in the mainstream program, they realized my intellect remained unaffected by the CP and began advocating that I be allo. Joan wed in some regular classes.

 Unfortunately, it wasn’t smooth sailing after that because I encountered problems getting personal assistance at school, even when my mom had to serve as a personal assistant and notetaker while they were hiring. For a time, that strained our relationship – knowing that we would spend all day together and also see each other at night. It also put a damper on my already complicated social life, knowing that my mother was usually around in most social situations. Still,  she was more than willing to do it to have the support I needed at school.

Even at age 42, my parents still struggle with when to let go. Because of financial constraints and their health, I still live with them in a downstairs apartment designed with me in mind. My parents will always see me as their little girl, but I still want to be independent and thoughtful. As a result, I have almost always hired personal assistance (since college) to help with my care. Mostly, these have been professional nurses trained to assist with my care; some have been students working their way through special education programs. I still request that my parents be a part of the interview process to providing input as to specific questions that need answers, but I am pretty independent otherwise. Thanks to governmental assistance, I pay my rent on time via printed checks through my bank. As many of you may have read, I even had my job once working as a contractor for the State Department, making sure websites were section 508 compliant for federal workers with disabilities. Unfortunately, the department downsized, and my job was cut

My dad still questions my hair color choices, but that’s another story..

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