Man, is everybody sick? For the last week I’ve had a bad cold, severe sore throat and other viral symptoms I’d rather not discuss. It’s certainly not conducive to writing.
This morning Nate went out for the second of three sessions at his latest job training site: Hannaford’s Supermarket. Remember when I said we didn’t want Nate packing grocery bags, that that was the last thing we wanted for him, that he is a college graduate with great skills and doesn’t need to be doing just anything to be out in the work place? Remember all that?
Last week, Nate packed grocery bags. In fact, Karen saw him at work and he seemed to be doing well. The truth is he likes this sort of thing and loves being in a store. I’m beginning to think this is similar to when Nate took math in 8th grade. In his last year in Illinois, Nate took algebra. In his first year in Cooperstown, he took the same course. I assumed that was because we moved to another state and there was likely an overlap of instruction. When, for the third year in a row he ended up with a nearly identical curriculum, I bristled and called the school to complain.
What I realized in mid-tizzy was that my hopes for Nate were very much wrapped into my success as a student and in math. What Nate needed was very different from what I needed, and I learned to reassess him outside of my personal experience. That’s what I’m learning with these jobs he’s been on. I don’t see Nate as someone who is suited to cleaning tables in a college cafeteria, or working at a factory or bagging food, but he seems to genuinely enjoy the tasks and the assessments are pretty good overall. Plus, he’s learning things like keeping an eye on the clock to know when break time is over, and how to better converse with co-workers.
So I’m going through a change on this. Maybe having him out in the world doing anything does have its merits. Still, as I list more of his art and wait to move ahead on Alpha Folks, it’s a jarring contradiction to think of Nate the artist as Nate the bag stuffer.