Lately everywhere I look social media is quoting a popular reality show asking people– “Does this spark joy for you..?” I know they are speaking of small household items and belongings, but the truth of the matter is that phrase truly has meaning to me because for the past year I have been building our dream home with my special needs son.
My son, Boo, turned 18 this past summer. It was joyful yet bittersweet as well for this Mama… Hitting that milestone was a sweet but gentle reminder to this special needs mama of the moments and milestones my sweet son will never get to experience. I am so blessed every single day to be a Mama to Boo. He is kind and gentle . He never complains even though life as most of us take for granted is so much harder for him. He has low functioning Autism, Severe Cognitive Delays and Speech Apraxia (mostly nonverbal and his expressive speech is difficult for others to understand) At 18 our developmental pediatrician diagnosed him to be developmentally 5 or 6… Sometimes younger depending on the task… Yet every single day, this young man of mine wakes up with a smile and absolutely loves life!
He is my forever child… My sweet Boo will be with me always. He will not move out and get his own home someday. He needs help for so many aspects of his life and I am grateful the Lord chose me to be his Mama and help him.
One day I was sifting through my social media and an ad for #LennarHomes popped up on my screen. I didn’t realize it at that moment but it was fate and it changed our lives forever. I began looking through the Lennar website and was intrigued by the Next Generation Homes they are building. I thought they looked amazing for anyone caring for a loved one! Boo and I went to the model homes to meet Jake…. Jake was so sweet and kind and truly amazing with Boo. Over the course of this journey, Jake has been more than our sales person– He has become like family. Jake guided us through every step of building our new home and went above and beyond to make sure this was not only a good experience for myself but my son as well.
Building a new home with Lennar was a fabulous experience , but knowing we were building a Next Gen– that filled my heart with such joy! Because of Lennar, I am able to give my special needs son something he could never have on his own– to feel like he has his own apartment! Even though developmentally younger, he is 18 and realizes he is an “adult” not a child anymore. He watched as his older brother went off to college and then graduated and got his own place.. My heart broke that he would never have those experiences but Lennar Homes have given my son that chance to feel like he has his own place!
Boo was thrilled as we watched our new home being built and each time we came out to the job site he would pick a new stuffed animal to come with us to see his “apartment”. My heart swam with joy to see his eyes light up each time we stood in his area and seeing what new item had gone up since our last visit.
Our home is also a smart home! I am not super tech savvy so I was a bit nervous about this aspect but I absolutely love it! Lennar installed everything we needed for Amazon including Ring doorbells! They even sent Amazon out to my house to set everything up and explain how it all works! Now I can set my thermostat, lock and unlock my doors and see who is at my door all from my phone even if I am away from home! We have Alexa Echo , Sonos and Echo Show set up so I can ask Alexa for help from any room in my home! It has been beyond cool to ask Alexa to show me how to make a recipe then I can watch each step on the Echo Show as I cook in the kitchen!
The day we closed on the home Boo woke me up at 5am– “Mama! It’s moving day!!!!” We were both full of excitement as we drove into our new neighborhood! Colt and Nick (our construction supervisors) were waiting to do a final walk thru with us. I am so grateful to these two amazing people for taking such pride in the homes that are being built and for building us this beautiful home!
I feel like both Colt and Nick have gone above and beyond making sure this truly is our dream home and have done so much to assure that Boo is happy in his new environment. I had asked Nick if he could hand our keys over to Boo when the time came and Boo’s eyes shone with pride and happiness as Nick put the house key into his hands. 🙂 Colt and Nick both show such caring towards my son and truly feel like family.
The main house has an absolutely lovely layout and I adore this home so much! The main house has a door in the living room that connects to Boo’s living room. We keep that door propped open because I still have to keep on eye on Boo and help him with everyday tasks. However, the next gen is truly amazing! Boo has his own living room area that really is quite large! He has a recliner couch, cozy chair, entertainment center and STILL has room for a play mat with all his matchbox cars and toy trucks! He has a lovely kitchenette that is spacious with a HUGE breakfast bar, dishwasher, sink, microwave and full sized fridge! ( Thanks so much to Lennar Homes for providing him all of these appliances including the fridge! ) He giggled with excitement the day we saw the fridge was installed and promptly began making a snack list for Costco to fill it! 🙂 He has a little hallway that leads from his living room into a large bedroom. It is such a huge room I was able to get rid of his twin and get him a queen sized bed to sprawl out on. (Boo is 6ft and still growing so a bigger bed was a blessing!) He has his own bathroom with a walk in shower. We don’t really use that shower because he has sensory issues and water from the shower is a trigger so he takes baths in the guest bathroom instead but it is nice to know that shower is there… Overall this Next Gen home has been a blessing for our family! It has given me the chance to do something for my son I never thought I could– give him a bit of independence …
I have seen a change in my son since moving in here this past November… He walks a little taller, a little prouder. He truly feels excited to have his “own place”. Seeing him feel this way makes my heart burst and I truly love our new Lennar Next Gen. I felt at peace here our very first night and every time we pull into our driveway I feel a spark of joy that this is our home. Thank you so much to Jake, Colt and Nick— you three are our dream team and without you none of this would be possible today… and thank you so much to Lennar, who had the insight to know that Next Gen homes like these would be such a positive addition to families caring for loved ones… I can honestly say that this beautiful home sparks joy within my heart and I see firsthand the joy it sparks in my sons…