In addition to documenting the details of your child's daily life, The Letter of Intent (LOI) is an appropriate place for you to describe the personal traditions and holiday activities that bring happiness to him or her. The LOI can be a helpful bridge for future caregivers to have insight into how to fulfill their roles.
Sarah and Thomas, Part III
Below, the story of Sarah, and her LOI for her adult son, Thomas, continues. Since Sarah's "ah-ha!" moment during her injury last winter, she set a goal to work throughout 2019 to complete a very detailed LOI for her son, Thomas.
Allowing herself the time to complete the LOI a bit at a time has been a great gift. It has freed her up to record the important details of her daily life with Thomas through the lens of both his capabilities and her expectations. It has also led her to expand her thinking about what she does for Thomas to include and focus upon what is meaningful for him, what is comfortable for him, and what is joy for him.
The 4th of July
This 4th of July, will be a great day for my son. I know this because it always is. He will get up in the AM and put on his Red Sox T-shirt. While he is no doubt a super-fan, and the Sox always have a game on the 4th, he wears it today because it's red, white and blue. He will be excited because I will have the day off and he will have friends and family all around and it is the middle of summer - the best time of year to be a New Englander.
We always start the day with a neighborhood parade featuring children on their bikes which they have decorated with streamers, a salute to the flag, and coffee and doughnuts on our neighbor’s porch. Thomas is out of the house by 8AM, as his job, lining the parade route with miniature flags, needs to happen before any of the festivities begin. Later, after we help clean up and pick up all the flags and store them in their box in our basement, we will go to my cousin’s home for a BBQ. There Thomas will drink too many sodas, eat too many hot dogs and basically have a great time. There will be fireworks, and sparklers for the kids and an infinite number of reasons to be thankful for and celebrate our freedom. Thomas and I will drive home and go through our nightly routine before collapsing, exhausted by the sweet joy of the day.
Next Steps for Sarah
Sarah has made the LOI into more than a chronicle of Thomas’ daily life; she has created a diary of their life together. While no one will ever fully fill her shoes, the details in this LOI will give them an idea of Thomas’ favorite things. It makes sense to keep a diary for others to know these special moments. She is hopeful he will have people in his life to help him continue the traditions he loves.
She will begin by watching Thomas interact with neighbors and family this 4th of July, and mention to them how much joy this holiday tradition brings him. This might be the first step in asking people to be a part of Thomas’ life when she is no longer able to be there for him. She is moving forward.
(Author's note: While the content in this post may stand alone, you may receive greater context by reading Sarah's story in Parts I and Part II of this series about parents' and caregivers' concerns as they and their children age. )