I have to take a minute to mourn something. One of the first things my daughter’s therapist told me when we started seeing her three years ago was that I needed to mourn and let go the idea of the “average” family. The “typical” family. The “normal” family. I mention this whole conversation in You’re Going to be Fine.
I wanted to cry when she said it but I try really hard not to because quite frankly I’m an ugly crier.
However, that thought has stuck with me all this time. I didn’t want to mourn or let go, I wanted to keep trying to make us fit into the perfect ideal you see on Subaru commercials. We had a Subaru so…why couldn’t we? This hurt us in more ways than one.
I love to travel and I have planned trips several times for me and my daughter but they never happen. Emotional disorders are debilitating and the idea of taking her anywhere far from home makes me turn into an anxious mess. Just going the two hours to see a specialist is chaotic. No one enjoys themselves. We’ve tried to make it fun, we’ve gone sightseeing and to special places in the city to eat but there’s still always a breakdown, always a fight, always tears and yelling. The stress of traveling is too much.
I was in New York and New Jersey not that long ago and I saw all these children running around some of them her age, some even smaller, and I ached a little. I want to take her to explore. I hear other parents talking about trips around our local historical landmarks and museums and I smile and I nod and I say how cool they are but I have to avert my eyes after awhile. We can’t go with them.
I want to make memories and see the world. But how? How do I do that when I have no idea what I’m preparing for? Granted, any time you travel with ANY child there’s that fear. What if they get sick or your flight gets canceled and you have to entertain them at the airport for six hours? What if they hurt themselves climbing a tree at the resort you’re staying at or get bit by something while you’re camping? What if…what if…
We have this puzzle of the world that we’ve done twice this past week and we keep talking of all the places we want to go to. Ten minutes later we had an episode and this whole thought process flashed in my mind.
Well, in our case, and other families like ours, there are those fears along with the extras. We can’t be trapped in a car, or a plane, or a train, in case of severe meltdowns. Stimuli in small spaces is at a minimum. We’ve tried DVD player, tablet, games, art supplies, all these seem to work for the small dose of travel we HAVE to do. But what about farther? An actual vacation? What happens if that meltdown occurs at 30,000 feet in the air? What if she can’t sleep? What if she breaks something wherever we’re staying? What if she hurts herself and we’re out of town? What if…what if…?
She has been begging to try to go camping again, something that is near and dear to my heart. We tried when she was about three and my husband and I were both scarred for days afterward. We didn’t even make it long enough for it to get dark.
This year we will make an effort to try again. Camping, site seeing, anything. I came to this conclusion after these past few weeks of holiday hubbub because I see a lot of parents who opt to not do these events and travel because it’s too hard. And it is. I get it. But I have another child and to be honest, I don’t want to not experience things. I want to say we at least tried.
We’re going to try day camping this spring and backyard camping. Maybe by fall, we can try overnight. Maybe just the day trips will have to be enough. Maybe if it’s enough for them it’ll be enough for me.