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Aran Leaving, Leaving Aran

Aran has moved out.

Saturday we packed everything up: his clothes, his room, the stuff we'd bought for his dorm.  The major purchases included a small fridge and a small microwave.  (I had already called the school to find out who his roommate would be in order to learn what his roomie might already have, but housing said they assigned rooms when people arrived, so there was no way to know.)  The truck was filled!

We did have a small difficulty.  The Michigan Career and Technical Institute (MCTI) is located in western Michigan, and the only move-in day was Monday, August 24.  The memorial for Darwin's father, who died a few months ago, was going to be held on the same afternoon in northern Michigan.  We decided to handle it by driving to western Michigan on Sunday, spending the night, and arriving at MCTI as early as possible.  From there, we would drive up to the memorial.  It would make for a long day, but it'd be doable.

So off we went.  Sunday night we rented out the attic of the Hall House bed and breakast.  Darwin and I like B&B's way better than hotels.  They're more comfortable, you get breakfast, and they're often about the same as a motel.  The Hall House was built in the 20s and was beautifully restored.  The attic had been renovated into a suite with a bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette, and two more beds tucked under the eaves.  We liked it very much.  Maksim was in heaven!

I didn't sleep well.  I don't think Aran did, either.  We were both too nervous.  Aran has been worrying about what are, to me, odd things.  He worried about how to pack his room and what clothes he should take.  A major worry for him has been how he'll get quarters for the washing machine.  None of his worries included how he would get along at the new school or if he'd miss people back home.

My worries =have= included such things.  I often wonder how my worries would be different if he weren't autistic.  I =know= MCTI is set up for students with autism and other disabilities, but I still worry.

At any rate, we rose in the morning, had a delicious breakfast (Maksim was in heaven again), and headed out.  When we arrived at MCTI (which is literally in the middle of a cornfield), it took some hunting to find the registration area. Although we were there by 9:10, the line had already grown long.

The registration process consisted of several stations spaced around the main academic building.  Aran, who had spent a week there one summer to suss the place out, already knew his way around.  I hung back and let him handle the registration.  I only spoke up once, when it was clear he didn't understand something.  There was also a brief medical interview at the med center, where I also spoke, but that was it.

The final station was the dorm.  The housing lady asked Aran a few questions.  Did he consider himself a quiet, private person, or a social, louder person?  (Quiet.)  Did he want a room by himself (she could put him in one, but couldn't guarantee it would stay solo) or with someone else?  (He wanted to be with a roommate, a little to my surprise.)  And finally, did he want to room with a new person like himself, or an older, experienced student?  (New.)

She clicked around, gave him his room key, and told him his roommate's name was Christopher.  Okay, then.

We arrived at the room to find Christopher and his family already there.  Introductions were made all around, and then we started hauling.  Christopher had brought a refrigerator but not a microwave, so we decided to use Christopher's fridge and Aran's microwave.  (I could easily return Aran's fridge.)  There!  It was much moving of boxes and suitcases and unpacking and making up beds.  The halls bustled with other students and families moving into other rooms as well.

The room was carpeted. This was a surprise, too.  When Aran attended camp, the room he stayed in had a bare tile floor, so we'd brought a big floor rug for him.  Fortunately, this would also be easy to return.

At last, Aran was mostly moved in.  He was only about halfway unpacked, but he could do it on his own.  Besides, if we unpacked for him, he might not find stuff.

We took the empty suitcases and boxes down to the truck and I got a final picture.  We said good-bye, and I acted like I wasn't upset, and Aran simply walked away.

I needed a moment before we could drive off.  Since Monday, I've gotten five terse text messages from him, all of them in response to questions from me.

Aran spent most of his time at home in his room, but he was always there, and the houses feels a lot emptier with him gone.



( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 27th, 2015 04:15 pm (UTC)
Interestingly the things he's worrying about make sense to me. People and so on... can't change. Day to day routines - which are important to me - need to be sorted for me to not be anxious. That's an interesting insight.

It's strange seeing you talking about him leaving home... I remember the long process of getting the boys in the first place.


Well... now you get to empty nest. I'd say a couple of months of crazy cat guy behaviour then settle in? ;)
Aug. 28th, 2015 02:48 am (UTC)
I'm still in the "WTF?" stage.
Aug. 27th, 2015 05:06 pm (UTC)
This is a big moment for him. Just the fact that he's willing to go out on his own, and live among strangers marks him as a young man who won't be limited by himself. Trust that you've done right by him, taught him well, and given him the tools to be doing this. That sense of pride may not make the "missing him" part go away, but it should give you some comfort.

I'm sure Darwin and Maksim can keep you busy enough that a day will come very soon when you realize that you haven't worried about Aran for a day or two.

My condolences to Darwin on the loss of his father. I hope the memorial went well.
Aug. 28th, 2015 02:48 am (UTC)
Thanks! I'll tell him.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
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