Two years ago today, Dowlan got up, got dressed and went to his last day of work.
Two years ago tomorrow, he began an unemployment longer than we ever imagined.
Two years ago the day after tomorrow, Dixie became finally, formally ours.
I wonder if I will ever be able to think of one without the other. The anger and fear, mixed with the joy and relief--they go on and on. After that court date, I no longer worried that something was going to pull the rug out from under us, that someone would decide she wasn't our girl. And, while I was looking down, guarding my rug, the ceiling fell in.
I'm still not certain how we've made it, but we have. Each time unemployment compensation would start to run out, the air would go out of the room, replaced by foreboding until the letter came in the mail, an extension had come. Until the time it didn't. Slowly, somehow, the air returned into the room and the paychecks continued to trickle in, matching pace with the bills. Every time the latter pulled ahead, serendipity arrived to pull us ahead. The blessings of friends and church--checks in Christmas cards and anonymous grocery cards arriving steadily in the mail.
Two is the number of jobs I work each day.
Two is the number of hours, on average, that I see my children each day.
To steal a line from a poet, 'The road winds uphill all the way, yes to the very end.' How do you climb a hill? One foot in front of the other. And I keep picking them up and putting them down, not in hopes of reaching some lofty apex, but in hopes of reaching something.
There's a new career path we're quite hopeful of him starting. I haven't mentioned much, because I'm tired of being disappointed. I'm reluctant to even mention it now. It's the kind of thing I wish I could whisper into an empty room, type in white font, write in water and watch it evaporate away.
Let's not forget Charlie's two therapies, his two diagnoses, his two-year-old ways in his almost-four body . . . The two battles--economy and autism--they wear me down. But, like the ants remembered in song, we go marching two by two . . .