house for saleOn a recent walk around the block, Marcus noticed the house for sale a few down from ours and proclaimed, “I’ll buy it.” Wishful thinking for that kind of disposable income aside, this is a point worth discussing.


It gave me the opportunity to remind him, “To have your own house, you have to keep it clean.”

“I’ll do it myself.” He replied.

“You have to do your own laundry and you’ll have to cook all your own food.”


By the time we were sitting on the couch, further discussing this, I got a little sad.

Not by the impossibility, but by the possibility.

As I mentioned in the post “Yes, My Son, an Adult with Down Syndrome, Lives at Home” (re-shared just last week by talented blogger Ellen Stumbo). I like having Marcus at home. But I recognize, this arrangement may not be right or possible forever, and we must all prepare.

So as Marcus and I discussed it the next time he brought it up (uh, oh – he’s really thinking about this) most people don’t start with a house. Most people start with maybe a roommate, and maybe an apartment. “Remember our apartments?” I asked him, “Or, like Kelly, she lives in an apartment.”

“Yes,” he says, “I’ll live next door to Kelly.”

Each time I instinctively put on the brakes, “Well, not yet, buddy. There’s also a job. You need to get a job.”


(Marcus is not opposed to getting or having a job. He loved his job at Wright Printing and is anxious for another. That’s my challenge yet, getting him the support he needs to work is trickier than I want it to be and I’m in a stalemate with the state to get that help at the moment. Still, it’s on the list to keep plugging. He talks about work here, and I talk about the challenges here. Back to the subject at hand…)

Pushing Forward & Letting Go

As you may have noticed from earlier blogs, like the Walk around the Block, for example, it’s Quinn and I that need the prompting sometimes more than Marcus. When Marcus told Quinn and our friend Brad that he wanted to move out to a house (Yes, that’s another unsolicited mention), Quinn told him, “You’ll have to cook and clean…”

And as Quinn was telling me about it, I put on my What-we-should-be-doing hat instead of This-is-what-I’m-feeling hat, and reminded him:

This is important. This is our opportunity to teach Marcus more about responsibilities. He may not be able to live with us forever. We have to prepare him.

Because He Can

Marcus talking to meTruthfully, there are more things Marcus can be doing for himself and for the household, if we show, ask, teach him too. He does prepare some meals for himself by himself. We should expand this. He has “chores” every day that he does independently, we should expand this. It takes time to teach. That’s the primary rationale that prevents us in the day to day, and when we look back on today, that may turn out to be a lousy reason.

Not that I think that Marcus can live alone, no, that is not in his future. But there are opportunities for more of his own place and space in supervised environments, and that’s what we should be preparing, um…us, for.

In the short term, the house already sold. Marcus was a little ticked off about that and he hasn’t really mentioned the moving idea since. However, the nugget is there – Mom and Dad – were you listening?

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UPDATE TO THIS – As we keep learning and growing, here:

Note in the news: The old ideas of institutionalisation for everyone took a shift for the better because of the Olmstead v. L.C case the NDSC has an Action Alert regarding appropriate housing for adult with disabilities. It’s coming up in Senate RIGHT NOW – more information here.