If your family is like mine, you are over-scheduled and overtired. We try to have family dinners or connect between appointments but maintaining a connection can be hard no matter how much you love the people around you. The best thing about a family road trip is that you are given hours of uninterrupted time to talk and just be together. Do what you can to set your kids up for success and then embrace the adventure. You may actually find that you enjoyed the journey as much if not more than the destination. This week I have five more time tested tricks to having your best family road trip ever. Remember that every family is different but these really do work with my kids. Try them out and keep the ones that work for you.
When I see a grieving mother being viciously attacked by strangers after she watched her toddler be stolen by a wild animal, I know that it is not safe to write about my own, lesser struggles. When I see a woman who loses her child in a crowd for a moment, and then almost loses him forever to a gorilla, be held up as an unfit mother undeserving of parenthood, I am afraid that I’ll be destroyed for my own shortcomings. When I read that a mother is told she should have aborted her children and deserves to die because she publishes a rant on sunscreen, I worry that sharing my truth will open my family up to similar terror.
In the decade since I had my first son, I have come to realize that parenting is mostly just winging it. I might look like I have it together at this point but that’s just because I’ve perfected a Donald Trump style comb over to cover the spot where I pull my hair out.
I relate to the other parents of children with special needs on many levels but I don’t bear the guilt of having been the one to pass on Alyssa’s genetic disorder or the constant questions of if it was something I did caused her problems. I relate to adoptive parents too but our story isn’t just about adoption anymore. I switch back and forth between groups depending on the support I need at the moment.
Children rarely grow up to be exactly what their parents pictured. Many parents struggle to accept that their kids have chosen different paths. The difference is that parents of special needs children grieve because the different paths were not chosen by our children; they were forced on them.
At the moment, I think that I am making the right choice but that doesn’t make it any less painful. Taking the blinders off and recognizing the limitations in this life hurts. Coming to grips with the fact that the way things are is in no way close to the way I thought that they should be is a difficult process. I understand why some people choose to live like an ostrich and keep their heads buried deep enough that they do not have to acknowledge the world burning down all around them. I have to believe though that at some point beauty will come from the ashes. I can’t see the positive yet but at least I am a little closer to seeing the truth and that’s progress for me.
We didn’t intend on a special needs adoption. We asked for healthy kids but epilepsy came hard and fast anyway and left our family reeling.
Little Man has started dancing. It’s the funniest thing. He just bops his little butt along to any beat he finds, especially that new Pizza Hut commercial with the guitar. I know it isn’t a major skill like walking but it’s one of those parenting moments where they make you stop and smile and forget about the fact that you survived from Sunday till Friday on 14 hours of sleep. To me, those little mile stones are bittersweet. They are a part of what makes being a foster parent so rewarding. I experience the joy of watching this little person develop right before my eyes but that means that someone else isn’t seeing what I see. In a few weeks, he’ll go live with his dad and start this whole new relationship with a year’s worth of missed little moments.