This past weekend we were fortunate enough to have avoided the devastating path that Hurricane Florence unleashed on North Carolina.
My birthday being on the tail end of this storm, left me feeling extra blessed and grateful having come out unscathed from the very real and potential disaster that could’ve been. We only experienced wind, a few flickering lights, rain, some backroad flooding and few wet bathroom floors from the hurricane prepped bathtubs full of water that you discovered. You weren’t about to let all that water go to waste! All joking aside we were really, lucky!
Being an introvert to my core, and with the suggestion by local officials to stay inside, it didn’t seem to bother me much to stay home celebrating another year of life on a low-key level. You all still managed to pull off my favorite birthday meal - Thanksgiving dinner and a homemade chocolate cake that you wasted no time blowing the candles out of!
This is still a new skill for you, so I didn’t mind that you once again had stolen a few birthday wishes ;)
Feeling every ounce of blessings in now my 38th year of life, I decided that our first chance to leave the house would be to help those that were not so lucky. I thought getting out and about would be good for us all (seeing I must’ve heard “Miss Mom I want outside please” close to 800 times over the weekend! Tropical Storm Warnings = no outside swinging or playing in the rain. Cue MADdie. Surely, we could all use a breath of fresh air. The only catch was that you were not exactly the happiest of kiddos and were acting a bit off. Having such limited exposure to your go-to sensory seeking activities made you a wee bit agitated all around.
While a lot of where we go or what we do revolves around the environment in combination with your mood or current sensory sensitivities, there will always be a time when we just brave our own potential storm of a meltdown and forge ahead – this was that time.
Not to sound insensitive, but just because you were having a bad day didn’t mean we would halt all our efforts to help those devastated by the storm and show our appreciation to those working round the clock to restore any glimmer of normalcy - from electricity, to first responders, or clean up. Parenting is full of teachable moments and this was one not to be wasted.
So, we packed up our dream team and headed to Target. It was open and close to home.
With your mood on edge I decided that the Caroline Cart was perhaps a good idea – that’s the 5-point harness special needs cart for larger kids and adults that ensures me you won’t take off running in a fight or flight moment. Unfortunately, they only have one and it wasn’t available, so in the back of the buggy you went.
You immediately took your headphones off, cueing us to prepare for a louder shopping experience than normal. It didn’t take long before the first crying baby was heard in the back of the store, nowhere near us, setting off your hypersensitive auditory distress into full effect. Not only do you scream from the sound, but you have also recently taken it up a notch by yelling “Ow! Ow!” Always makes for some interesting looks.
Addie, I will never tell you that you don’t have every right to feel the way you do, I may not feel your hurt, but I do understand it. The thing is you were only hearing these noises because you refused to wear your headphones. Your agitated mood was lacking reasoning, so shopping quickly was the plan. Autism 101 – reasoning isn’t always on our side. You did however flash a smile to your Kindergarten teacher who we happen to run into. Just a side note: Although we absolutely adore ALL of your teachers, no special needs parent ever wants to run into their child’s teacher especially when they are clearly struggling!
After the longest 20 minutes ever in Target, we finally made it out with all the supplies we needed. Phew!
We dropped off the hurricane donations to a neighbor and headed home to make appreciation blessing bags for the workers assisting in the storm recovery.
We set up a bit of an assembly line and one by one we filled the bags with drinks, snacks and Kleenex. While I’m confident you didn’t exactly understand why we were doing this, maybe one day you will, and it was important to me that we all had a hand in helping.
The Late Billy Graham once said,
“God has given us two hands, one to receive with and the other to give with.”
So, Addie, this week we avoided a hurricane, celebrated another year of mommy’s life and helped out those in need. It wasn’t without some distress, but we managed and continue to still count our blessings.
Even on your bad days baby girl, always remember I love you the whole world full.