I am acutely aware of my age.
At 38, most of my friends and family are long "done" having babies. There are a few exceptions, but by and large that is the reality. At some point, say 15 or 20 years down the road, they will have an empty nest.
I don't know if we'll ever have an empty nest. As our children grow, I am seeing the disparity between what they can do and what Abby can do. When the big girls were both small, the difference didn't seem like a big deal - they both required tremendous amounts of intensive, in-the-trenches care. But things have changed. Rachael, at 7, is quickly maturing into a young lady. She is able to do so many things independently now it sometimes surprises me. Joseph, at four and a half, is also quickly growing up.
Bedtime is a good example. I can tell Rachael and Joseph to get ready for bed. They will, with no or minimal assistance from me, use the toilet, wash up, brush their teeth and put on pj's. I just need to read them a story.
Abby, at age 9, needs a similar amount of help as baby Christina. I must help her brush her teeth, wash up or have a shower, change into her pj's, brush her hair, etc. The only step she does independently is use the toilet.
Now, independence takes her a long, long time. But chances are, even as an adult, she will require a level of assistance. She will always need a caregiver to help her with basics like hygiene and dressing, administering medications, preparing food, you name it.
So where does that leave us?
We will likely keep her at home as long as we can. Probably age 30, but maybe longer. Even if and once we are able to transition her to an assisted living situation, we will likely still participate in her care as much as we can. We're probably looking at having her at home until my husband and I are into our 60s or 70s.
I worry about her future. We save, financially, taking advantage of programs like the RDSP making a little nest egg for her, and we have provisions in our wills for her perpetual care. I still lie in bed awake at night, worrying if it will be enough. Worrying if something happens to us too soon, what would happen to her. I have those same worries for our other kids, but they are particularly intense when it concerns Abby.
Sometimes I think I would cash in all the nest eggs in the world if only I could have a crystal ball.