A few weeks ago, on a particularly warm summer day, Ryan and I announced to our crew –
Kids! You’ve been so helpful lately and did your chores without complaining so we’re going to have a family fun day at a water park!
Kids responded with glee and excitement and Yays! all around and asked –
Who’s going to watch Luke?
We’re going to bring him, we replied.
He’ll enjoy getting out of the house.
Mom!!!!! NO!!!! bellowed the sounds of despair. We’ll have to leave early if Luke comes!
This is a constant dilemma we face.
We brought him.
He did make it very difficult and tiring.
We did have to leave early because Ryan and I were absolutely beat after a few hours of fun.
We arrived around 11:00 a.m. because this particular event had free food (major bonus with our crew!). We loaded all eight plates full of grub, and then Ryan retreated to the furthest corner of the park, in the shade, to feed Luke so that the stimulation of all of the people didn’t overwhelm either of them and so he wouldn’t try to grab the food off others plates (Luke not Ryan). I picked a table near the food because I knew my tribe was going to take full advantage of the free factor.
Mya took charge of Annabelle as she skitted about, and the rest were free to roam independently. Ryan and I took 20 minute intervals engaging with Luke. A word here – Luke is no longer content to sit. EVER. He has declared a mutiny on his stroller and wants nothing to do with it, but he needs constant supervision and assistance for his and others safety. We took turns introducing him to the parks plethora of activities – 5 slides, numerous water features, an accessible swing, acres of land to explore, lots and lots of hot dogs because he wouldn’t eat the chips or watermelon or popsicles.
About 3 hours later Ryan and I looked at each other and we knew – we were done. Physically, mentally and emotionally, and we also knew our kids wouldn’t be happy about it.
Let’s give them the 30 minute warning
My wise husband suggested.
The moans of disappointed began –
Luke always makes us leave early! Why can’t we find a babysitter for him? Why can’t you and dad drive separately? (Which maybe we should have but the park was about 45 minutes from our house)
WHY DO WE HAVE TO BRING LUKE? They wailed
And we responded, frustrated as well and exhausted, questioning the excuse we offered-
Because he’s part of our family, and we need to include him occasionally.
We currently do not have a solution for this problem.
It is what it is.
We do feel the need to include Luke – even at the expense of his siblings happiness, but we understand their frustration as well.
This post is simply to bring awareness; the little things that special needs families struggle with such as decisions that sometimes cause pain for other family members. I do believe that our children will be better human beings in the long run for having Luke in their life as they have patience, flexibility, and independence that other kids may lack. They have also learned compassion and acceptance towards those who might not be just like them – those who might cause a bit of a disruption to their happiness – those like Luke.
Just keep livin.
Every bit of this post calls close to home! I totally relate even though I don’t have 8 kids… I see how people invite me over to their homes for celebrations but they will rather I don’t bring my son with me though…. those unspoken words but clearly spoken with looks.
Honestly, one of the reasons I decided Kay will be my only child is because unlike you two – I simply don’t have what it takes to raise another child alongside Kay. It’s a lot of work – dear Lord!
Thank you so much for sharing Jess – so crystal clear – I am reading your day at the park and it’s like am watching a movie …. a movie I have acted in so many times – I deserve an Oscar for it! Smiles …..
Also, thank you for this sentence:- ( …. so he wouldn’t try to grab the food off others plates (Luke not Ryan). It made me SMILE REAL BIG!