Some of us gain independence in our teens, others of us in our 20's.
For my autistic brother in law Bil, it may not be until his late 50's. For others with developmental disabilities, it may be never.
Bil may never have the ability to fly totally on his own wings, but we will applaud his attempts at independence, no matter how low or how high he may be able to fly.
This coming Monday, he will take another step.
When Bil moved up to this area with his elderly mother some two years ago, he was not at all independent. He had depended on his mother his whole life. But, a day program he started to attend changed all that.
He used to watch the same political shows as his mother. But then, he changed his orientation. He went from one political party to the one his mother did not support.
If you asked him to do something, he sometimes asked "why?" Not out of disrespect, but he was starting to think things through.
And, he lived on his own (with support) for several weeks while his mother was in rehab after a hospitalization. He chose that. The only night he wanted to stay with us was when there were thunderstorms, something he is highly frightened of.
Now, Bil has the chance to live apart from his mother for the first time. Monday, he will tour the apartment he and others are being considered for.
We are excited for Bil, even as people like Bil, people with autism, face budget cuts and worse.
We will not stop fighting for him, even as those who hate continue their demonstrations.