My Kid Will Never Go to College
When my son Elijah was born, my mother established a 529 College Savings Account for him and told me that she intended to make modest contributions every year on his birthday. I was very touched by her gesture and thought it was a lovely expression of the good values she passed on to me about the importance of education.
Six and a half years later, my mother continues those annual contributions. But my feelings about them have become much more complicated. You see, Elijah is autistic and his communication difficulties and other developmental delays are significant. He will probably never be able to live independently. Although much is still unclear about what his future holds, attending college seems increasingly unlikely.
I’ve thought about investigating whether 529 accounts can be used for other purposes (camp tuition? therapy dog?) but I haven’t been able to bring myself to do the research. I also haven’t talked to my mom about it. Does she continue to build a college fund because she is in denial? Are the contributions a sham she keeps up to avoid hurting my feelings? I’m not sure.
It feels so odd to have grown up in a strongly achievement-focused family and to now be walking down a totally unexpected path with my son. I try to accept and embrace Elijah exactly as he is but I also wrestle with feelings of shame and embarrassment. Jewish women like me are supposed to give their parents gifted grandchildren, right?>> Read More