I’m having my first Saturday off since Dylan moved to residential care. I thought it might be good to break the pattern of him always coming home for the weekend so it doesn’t become too much of a routine. As it was half term last week and I could take leave, Dylan stayed overnight during the week instead, so things have worked out quite well.
I’ve spent the day installing myself in my newly-decorated study and getting jobs done that aren’t easy to do when Dylan is here. This has also given Dylan chance to experience being at his residential home at the weekend. It often seems to me, when I collect or drop Dylan off, that there is a slightly different pace and atmosphere in the home at these times. Perhaps this is my imagination; judging from his programme Dylan will have been no less busy today than he is during the week. The difference which most of us experience between weekdays and weekends should, I suppose, be less pronounced in a care home. Even so, spending today at the setting will have allowed Dylan to build different relationships with residents and staff.
As tonight is Halloween it’s not an entirely typical weekend, although I don’t think there are any particular plans to mark the event at Dylan’s residential home. This is probably a good thing from Dylan’s perspective. He has never been very comfortable with Halloween and last year became quite upset by people knocking at the door. The costumes scare Dylan (he doesn’t understand they are children dressed up) but he wanted me to open the door when he heard knocking as that is what he has learned that we do. At some point in the evening, hearing another knock at the door, he turned to look at me, his face a mix of confusion and dread. ‘Sister?’ he asked, hopefully.
Dylan does, however, enjoy making pumpkin lanterns and setting them to burn in the back garden. So I found it hard, this morning, not to buy some while I was out shopping. There will be plenty of lanterns at the care home, I told myself: Dylan doesn’t need me to make one. Although we don’t particularly celebrate it, I wondered whether Dylan might miss me more because it’s Halloween; I know he measures time by such events and I imagine tonight is a marker for him along the route to Christmas. He might need reassurance, I thought to myself, that he will be coming home for that celebration.
As a staged approach to transition has worked so well for Dylan I thought that applying the same principle to weekends might be a good idea. So I’ve arranged to visit tomorrow afternoon and take Dylan for a short walk; spending some time with each other will, I am hoping, help to break the weekend routine gently: an All Hallow’s walk can be our lantern.
The photograph is of last year’s lanterns.