Hitting the Road

At this moment, I’m questioning my sanity. It’s the night before we begin the longest family car trip we’ve ever attempted…and I still have so much to do. In Anne’s recent post, which I hope you’ve read, she explains that moms of special needs kids need to give ourselves a break…and, sadly, that’s not exactly my plan this Christmas.

Last year, we didn’t leave the house for a week. My husband built a homemade luge track in the front yard, and the kids were entertained by snow and sleds for days. Family came to us, and we spent all Christmas day in our PJ’s. Doesn’t that sound heavenly? It was.

This year, way back in February, we promised the kids a destination Christmas. My mother, their grandmother, was turning 60 just after Christmas. Where else would she want to spend it…but the happiest place on Earth? So, our family of five plus a very brave Grandma are headed south. As Grandma always says, no matter what adventures await, we’ll be making memories.

When I was eight, my family did the Christmas Disney adventure. We spent many days driving there, with scenic stops on the way, and we also were a family of five. I was the middle child, and even though I wasn’t always perfect (mostly, but not always)…I was quite different from our own middle child, Eddie.

Of course I have dreams of reenacting parts of that memorable vacation, but I’m also trying to be realistic. Having a child who is blind and autistic in tow, is going to change things up quite a bit. Yes, we have some strategies, but I’m pretty sure Eddie is the ultimate strategist and his agenda will definitely come into play.

The only way to keep him satisfied is to be very well prepared. Packing for Eddie is so much different than packing for his siblings. For the girls I simply need clothes, books, and snacks; but, any of those things can be replaced on the way if needed. The only thing Eddie owns that could be easily replaced is clothes…the rest would be a nightmare to lose or forget.

He needs orthotics (all pieces), his cane, his therapeutic listening headphones and music, iPod with favorite songs, snacks cohesive with his diet, tactile communication system, prescribed gum, noise-cancelling headphones, and medication (including growth hormone that would cost $3000 to replace on the fly). On top of that, we need to pack his medical information in the event of an emergency, his handicap decal, and wheelchair.

As many of us know, traveling with a handicapped child is just challenging, and this year, we’re up for the challenge. We may be crazy…and we may wish many times for the luge and PJ’s of last year’s holiday…but, we are determined to make memories. So, wish us luck…pray for us…and I’ll be in touch. If nothing else, I know I’ll have some stories to share when we roll back into town.