30 Days of Nothing To Do

Nothing to do for a month. That would seem like heaven for a teenager, right? Sleep until noon. Bike around town with friends. Meet up with the soccer pals at the field for a quick game. Take the old car down to the beach for the day. Have too many beers with friends in someone’s backyard. Charge up your battery and get a nice tan before college starts up in the fall.

Well, Ian doesn’t get any of that. 30 days with nothing to do means 18 hours in the house with parents who are glued to their computers all day. No friends, no car, no days with buddies at the beach. No college down the road. No job, because no one will hire you. Too old for the few camps that are appropriate for you.

Ian could play video games, look at memes, and make lists all day, but that wouldn’t be very healthy. So, again, I am NOT working. I am doing one fun thing with Ian every day for the next 30 days.

On Sunday, Steve and I took him to Central Park in New York City. Yesterday, Ian and I visited a huge Asian supermarket and food court. Today, I think it’s going to be a long walk in another Hudson River town. Lunch destination is yet to be determined.

This complete abandonment of my kid and my family by society comes on top of two years of picking up the pieces from a public education system that also abandoned us. I’m tired.

But being pissed all the time is definitely not healthy, so I’m making the most of this time with one awesome kid. We’re taking pictures of ourselves everywhere for 30 days and somewhat passive-aggressively posting these pictures on social media to remind the world that we exist.

12 thoughts on “30 Days of Nothing To Do

  1. It really sucks that there are no appropriate camps/schools available.

    However, as someone with two grown kids off living their lives far away (a good thing) this will be a favorite memory of yours much sooner than you think. I hope you make the most of this opportunity.


      1. I don’t have the time to reply in depth right now (10 years of unexpected, totally unwanted, but “had to be dealt with” family issues). But your “career” is not “destroyed”, but of course you see it as so because you are young. You have adapted so well, with a writing career that will flex as you need it to. Demonstrated by activism in school issues, Etsy sales (so cool and so currently relevant!) and balance with
        diverse friends.. Stop kicking yourself. You have your life priorities straight.


      2. I’m only talking about the 30 days. The rest sucks and will continue to suck. I’m sorry you are dealing with that.


    1. A reminder that a friend of mine (who works full-time, as does her husband) has a daughter on the spectrum. She went to a school and a jobs program in NJ and is working now. Her daughter is older than S, but not by much, so 23-24 now? She lived in mid-Jersey and is now in south Jersey, fwiw. If you want her info, I can get more info if you like.


  2. We have just over 2 weeks of vacation until the two youngest go back to school (11th grade and 3rd grade) and less than 3 weeks until my husband and our oldest start class at Hometown U. We’re wrapping up our summer stuff, but we also have the preliminary school stuff soon.

    It feels like it’s suddenly over really fast, but there’s no reason to drag out August in Texas. The sooner it’s over, the better.

    October, on the other hand, is exquisite!


  3. What would Ian’s summer look like if you could invent the perfect August for him? (well, the one that doesn’t involve you — it seems like he’s getting a pretty nice August with you) My teen’s summer doesn’t look quite like the idyll you describe (but maybe it can next August). He does do things with friends, but a lot of friends seem to have schedules too busy, to do flexible, non-screen summer you describe (work, family trips, structured activities like classes and volunteering, . . . interfere).

    I wish someone would organize 30 days of something fun for me. I don’t play video games and don’t really understand memes, but I am spending too much time making lists.


  4. I’m reminded of the adult autistic brother of someone I dated back in the early 90s. He lived in a group home so he could have daily activities. It was ridiculous because his family was perfectly able to have him live with them (and everyone preferred that) but there were no services for him where he could live at home and access the activities.


  5. My kiddos former K buddy when she was in elementary school is going to attend Bellevue Coomunity college in WA state and participate in their Neurodiversity Navigators program: https://www.bellevuecollege.edu/autismspectrumnavigators/

    A teen Vogue profile: https://www.teenvogue.com/story/students-cognitive-differences-covid-19

    A number of autistic college students are profiled in the vogue article.

    I don’t know the former K buddy well, but, I remember my daughter being disappointed because they were supposed to read to K buddies, but hers already knew how to read.


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