Having a child with special needs sometimes means over-thinking every decision throughout your day. I wake up and wonder what his mood will be like, and how he is feeling. Once that is determined we have to decide if Eddie will go to school, or stay home. His daily health means possible medications changes, which is yet another decision. This is just the start of judgment calls we make on a regular basis.
When we get invited to a function out of our normal routine, we first decide if we are going to go, and then decide if Eddie will go. I do this all the time; birthday parties, holiday gatherings, field trips, and even family vacations. I have been going through the same thought process since Eddie was born. Asking myself, will he have a good time? Will it benefit him to participate? What will be the drawbacks of him going? What positive outcomes could there be? Finally, is there anyone to babysit Eddie if we decide not to take him?
You can see that a simple decision is turned into an over-analyzed fiasco. Recently, yesterday in fact, I decided to change the question I ask myself when I am unsure about Eddie joining us on any occasion. Instead of asking “Are we going to take Eddie?” I am going to ask, “How are we going to take Eddie?” It takes the same amount of thought, but changes it to a positive light. I can focus on how Eddie can have fun instead of how I am going to leave him home. To be honest, I hate leaving him home. By deciding he will be included, I can relieve myself of the heartache I feel when he misses out.
Does this mean Eddie will always be glued to my hip? Um, no. When we have date night, he can stay home with the other two kids. When my oldest gets invited to a birthday party, that doesn’t mean Eddie gets to go, too. But, when we decide to go to a parade, or camping, or out to lunch as a family, I will do my best to always choose to have Eddie go, too. There are days I need to put some space between us, but really I feel that way more toward my 3-year-old than Eddie. Toddlers are trying, aren’t they?
If I continue to ask “How?” instead of “Will?” all of us will benefit and become a stronger family unit. This is something my husband does all the time. He never over-thinks these decisions, and always assumes Eddie goes everywhere we go. Not to stereotype, but like some men, he just doesn’t over-analyze. Some days, it drives me crazy, but other days I envy that train of thought. I guess I am aspiring to be more like my husband in that way; which frankly, is a little scary. However, the end result will certainly be beneficial to Eddie.