Over the course of my years as a parent, I have gained weight and lost friends.
In truth, I’m not as fun as I used to be. I’m not as spontaneous and I’m not as carefree.
When you are a special needs parent, much of your energy is sucked up by the day-to-day and you are hesitant to make plans…especially ahead of time.
It is challenging to say to someone, “Yes! We would love to have dinner with you on that Saturday but…
it can’t be too crowded
it can’t be too loud
it can’t be too fragrant
it can’t be too slow
and even if your particular chosen restaurant isn’t any of these things, we still might have to get our food to go and leave early.
Not fun. I get it.
Typically, we do things with our family of three. This way, no explanations are needed.
Take the trip to the fair today. It would have been fun to have others go with us, but honestly…I wasn’t sure if we would actually get through the gates and if we did, I wasn’t sure if the time spent there would be worth the travel time.
We have gone to this same fair in years past and the fun was short-lived…very short-lived.
Today, there were moments when I wasn’t sure we were leaving the house. We made it to the car, in the car, and then out of the car to trek to the fair grounds.
Initially, his senses were bombarded by smells, sounds, crowds and flashing lights. To be honest, even I felt all of this stimulus flying at me.
After only minutes, he wanted to flee and escape it. All of it.
It was hard not to feel disappointed and a bit frustrated, even if we knew this could happen.
We quickly looked for something that might be appealing.
Luckily, we found games that allowed for his strong eye/ hand coordination to shine and that hadn’t attracted large crowds yet. His victories rewarded him with small, stuffed animals that he normally wouldn’t be interested in and his competitive spirit distracted him from all that was surrounding him. Soon, he wanted to continue a bit more. A few more games. A bite of cotton candy. A bit longer.
We ended up staying. We saw the animals. We watched a 4H dog competition. We talked with animal experts. We felt lots of animal pelts and various skeletons. We watched people creating their crafts. We even looked at funky chairs that massage you from head to toe. We walked a lot and I felt like much of our trip supported our homeschooling journey too.
On the way home, we reminded him that we were proud of him. It would have been easy, and expected, for him to let his uncomfortableness take over; he didn’t allow it to and I was relieved. He worked through the nerves and he seemed glad.
As a family of three, we agreed that the day was a success.