Lilly has made a great friend, and he has also been her boyfriend for about 5 months.
Dustin (not his real name) is on the same residential campus as Lilly, but in a different building. Dustin has a disability as well, and behavioral issues, but he and Lilly are on the same level when it comes to shooting the breeze and having some fun.
They have been able to have “dates” on campus in a pavilion, where Lilly brings some pizza or snacks and they eat and talk for a couple hours and sometimes play basketball.
Dustin has proposed to Lilly, and she said yes. Then she changed her mind. Lilly wonders how they could live without staff helping them, and also wonders if Dustin would be able to keep her safe. Pretty remarkable that she would consider such important things, huh?
You may have 20 questions right now, but this is beyond me…who would have thought? I doubt it could work out, but I don’t want to voice that to her. Better she reach that conclusion on her own. I just try to listen.
Lilly wants all the things that other young women want. She wants to work a job, drive a car, find love, etc. And she gets sooooo angry when she sees that life has dealt her an unfair hand when it comes to realizing her dreams.
It’s been a while, and I wanted to keep you updated about Lilly. So many things are going on, and some are really good!
Lilly is still in a State facility, but it’s a really great one, with the best staffing we have experienced in this long journey to various places. Some cool things:
Lilly has a staff that does hair, and she gets all kinds of hairdo’s to make her happy about her appearance. Her hair has been red, green, brown, and orange. And she’s had different extensions added from time to time. The girl is stylin’, and it’s a terrific distraction for her. (Not her pictured.)
She can swim indoors each week.
There are outdoor cats that are friendly to a point. She has helped care for them, and it has been a positive thing in her life.
Lilly has a 2 hour organizing job that she does on campus that nets her $20 a week.
Staff will take her to a drive-thru for fast food when she has the money.
Bruce and I see her in person every other week, either outside or in a game room. When we are there, we play card games and show her pictures on our phones.
We can have a DUO (face-time) visit almost any day and actually see each other that way. This has helped her (immensely) to feel connected.
She has a boyfriend in another building on campus, and she is allowed to have planned little dates where they eat together or sit outside and talk. This has made her feel more normal as a young woman.
The not-so-great things going on are:
Lilly has found Face Book, and it’s been a train wreck. Lots of hurt and embarrassing moments on FB. She is learning how to be more appropriate now, and that there are things (and people) who are not good for you!
Workshops have been closed down due to Covid. One less place to go, and she likes going places.
She hasn’t been allowed to come to our home for about 8 months because Covid risks.
Lilly can sometimes get super-agitated and will lash out…not often, but it still gets very scary. Although she has been (impressively) kind and helpful with her developmentally-disabled peers 90% of the time, the other 10% is rage, and can have her choking someone who has gotten on her last nerve. So it seems the 10% is why she needs to be in a facility, (plus for her protection from people who would take advantage of her).
The last negative is smoking. Lilly has become addicted, and it’s a source of trouble, because she can’t afford all the cigarettes she would like to smoke. If they are available, she smokes constantly. If they aren’t, she is edgy and angry.
Lilly is not so different from the rest of us. She wants freedom, romantic love, peer respect, privacy, and income. The problem lies in the behavioral extremes of her life that limit these. How would you like to have someone check on you every ten minutes? But it is necessary.
A recent conversation with Lilly:
“Hi Lilly-Billy! How’s your day been?”
“Not so good. Dustin has been on my last nerve. I swear I’m gonna punch him out. He just won’t shut up! And he takes my stuff. I keep telling staff to keep him away from me.”
“Yeah, that stinks. Isn’t he the guy you choked?”
What’s on for dinner?” (I try to redirect her.)
“I think we’re having piz- HEY! Be right back, Mom.”
She was gone about 60 seconds and came back to the phone and said, “Sorry about that. Someone was being mean to Dustin and I had to help him out.”
I commented, “Dustin? The one you hate?”
“Wow, Lilly, I am SO proud of you!”
Giggle…”I know, right?”
P.S. Don’t forget about Chasing Lilly for a Christmas gift for your home-bound friends! I think we have more time to read these days, which isn’t a bad thing!