Surviving the Home Stretch

Time at our house is often spent in chaos; a random succession of events occur throughout the day. Friends stop in unannounced…the neighbor kids come to play…TV’s are turned on and off…and food is offered when convenient or requested. As you can start to understand, we have no routine. Even though that works for the majority of our family, it doesn’t work for Eddie.

We try to establish some kind of routine for him, but we can’t make the rest of our family predictable. Eddie does have a good morning routine, and he gets meals at about the same time every day, but outside of that he really doesn’t have an event planner. Obviously, school is much better suited for organization and schedules.

No matter what school you attend, you can expect a tight schedule. Bells ring at the same time every day. Meals are served in a very specific way. You know that when you walk in the door your day will run like clockwork and little will happen that you can’t predict. Because Eddie craves routine, time at home can be very difficult.

During the school year, I consider the weekends a sprint. We leave school Friday knowing it will be just a couple days before routine will return. By the time the weekend ends, Eddie is “winded” but jumps back into school before he completely falls apart.

Holiday breaks are more of a distance race. Some are 5k’s and some are 10k’s but they still go by relatively quickly. Even if Eddie is a little more frazzled by the end, there still isn’t time for him to get entirely off schedule. Just when he realizes we really don’t know what we’re doing, he gets to go back to school.

Then there is summer. Summer is a marathon. It is long…and difficult…and exhausting…and the end always seems far off. I’ve never wanted to be a marathon runner, but admire those that do it. Honestly, I’ve never wanted these summers that feel like marathons either, but it is simply part of being Eddie’s mom.

As we get closer to August, I can see the home stretch, but Eddie doesn’t know it is so close. Each day we wake up wondering if he’ll have a good or bad day. We don’t know if he’ll like the trip to the river today or not. We’re not sure if he’ll still like his favorite foods, or if he’ll boycott grapes just because. It’s not that we don’t enjoy family time with Eddie, but we just know how much better the school routine is for him.

Routine is something many visually impaired kids appreciate. None of us like not knowing what is or will happen to us at any given time. The “unknown” is scary and many don’t appreciate that adrenalin. Schedules can be very helpful, but simply difficult to maintain during the summer when the family is going every which way.

Every year I strive to have a better summer “routine” and every summer I find myself in August without ever establishing that plan. Do any of you parents have suggestions for a more routine summer? How do you help your kids enjoy their time away from school…and away from strict schedules? How do you survive the home stretch?