Parenting is hard. Whether you’re raising neurotypical or special needs children, there really is no go-to manual on how it’s all done. You can read all the books, look up every parenting website out there, and accept all the advice given from other parents, and still not even come close to being prepared for how it’s all done.
Why? Well, no two children are exactly the same.
We all have these amazing visions of just how relaxed, cool, and fun we will be as parents (in our pre-parenting days). We may have even uttered to others “when I have kids, they will never do...” (side note: my advice to anyone preparing themselves for parenthood - don’t be this person!).
Eventually you come to realize (especially if you have multiple children) that no two children are the same, and your kids just might do all those things you swore they never would. Kids are fun that way.
In addition to that, if you have special needs children, the stress and complexity of simple care and everyday needs takes things to a whole new level. You will learn (practically overnight) a dictionary worth of big fancy words that correlate to your special needs in some way or another. You will even learn words that correlate to those that don’t have special needs like neurotypical (never thought in a million years that I would use that word as much as I do in conversation now).
With our brains and our bodies stuck in overdrive all day, every day ends with complete and utter exhaustion. Just to add a little more fun to this parenting journey, comes a healthy dose of free, unwanted judgement from people everywhere we look related to decisions we make - never mind that we have spent literally endless hours researching the subject. Yes, I’m sure you, random Target lady absolutely know more than I do about what’s best for my kid. Thank you. Your dirty looks and heavy judgmental signs are super helpful.
It’s safe to say anxiety is high, and we can hit every emotion from happy, sad or down right mad on a daily basis.
Now don’t get me wrong there is an amazing love and joy that comes with parenthood as a whole, but the special needs journey holds some scary statistics that can haunt us if we let them. The divorce rate is notably higher among special needs families. The demands are more, the difference of opinion is more prevalent, and money can seem as if it's being stacked up in front of a window with a fan on high for therapies not covered by insurance, along with special diets and equipment just to name a few.
Time for ourselves almost permanently takes a back seat. We slowly begin to lose sight of our once full of life ready to take on the world selves. We may catch a glimpse in the mirror not even recognize our own reflections. Growing old together was always mommy and daddy’s intention - it just sometimes feels as if we’ve made it here faster than we planned!
When burning the candle at both ends, with work and life, it can feel like mommy and daddy haven’t had a conversation of anything but being parents in a long time.
While this is and will always be our greatest and most important accomplishment (bringing all three of you into this world), there is certainly more that used to define us.
Addie, we refuse to become a negative marriage statistic, so we give it our best shot at carving out mommy and daddy time whenever possible. Let me tell ya Ad, that’s way easier said than done because it takes a village of very willing participants to keep our controlled chaos moving!
Well, much to our surprise the universe must’ve known it was time for us to take a parental break and sent some luck our way. Daddy won contest! I know crazy right!? A Four Seasons Scottsdale Arizona Golf trip! Yep I think even daddy didn’t really believe it and thought it was spam when they announced he was the winner! So exciting!
A side note: the universe must put a cap on winnings because we tried the lottery and that didn’t pan out the same ;).
And for that matter, for as many years and multiple times a week I've been shopping at target, not once have I ever won a $5000 gift card from taking a survey. Hmmm yet I keep shopping there...well played target.
Back to the trip...
Having won this amazing trip back in April, the way our life goes, it was like choreographing a well-orchestrated concerto to actually pull this off in November. Yes, November. In all, this includes a team of loving, willing and able people to manage the chaos for us while we were away.
With about 8000 reminders and notes of schedules, pickups, drop offs, medications, food likes and dislikes and etc...
We were ready!
Scottsdale Arizona here we come!
We spent the next four days just mommy and daddy. We missed everyone like crazy, but it was nice to have a little break from changing diapers, driving people from here to there, barking dogs or preparing dinners.
We filled our time instead with mimosas,
fancier dinners than Chili’s,
massages and outdoor adventures.
You see Addie, in our life, schedules and structure is very important. It can get so scheduled though, that it feels like mommy and daddy just high five each other in passing as we move from one thing to the next. So, this break gave us time for each other, uninterrupted, undivided attention to one another.
While I know this isn’t the norm of getaways for parents that might need a break, I’ll admit we truly enjoyed every second of it!
We returned refreshed, rejuvenated, and reminded that our love is strong and we can weather through the tough stuff together for as long as we both shall live. Because the dream team once started with just us.