Sunday, July 31, 2011

Not Prepared in a Be Prepared Kind of World

Sorry readers for being less than consistent this summer – and especially these past few weeks.  I’m not sure why I’ve been so “off” lately….

Maybe I’m as tied to a routine as Sean is….

A genetic link perhaps?

Anyway, tonight I find myself in Wild Rose, Wisconsin at Napowan Adventure Base.  It’s a place Sean’s Boy Scout troop calls home for one week every summer.  This is my second season here fighting the mosquitoes and raccoons the size of dogs.

I sit here in what we call “Leader Land” in the semi-dark, hooked up to a rumored Wi-Fi and regretting not bringing the bottle of Deep Woods Off with me….

Sean is back at camp right now, currently not attached to the umbilical cord.  This week will be a test for me with the “coddling” and “bullying” of a past weekend fresh in my mind.

In other words, I am “here” but not.

As much as I would like to hand-hold him through junior high, I know I can’t.  For one, the counselors won’t allow it!

But here it’s different.  Sean is one of many in a place far from home.  It is not exactly fraught with danger but it can provide it’s moments.  Getting lost in the woods or being swallowed up by the lake name just two of my fears.

Of course staff is everywhere and for this well-seasoned camper, Napowan is the best I’ve encountered as far as ratios and safety.

Thus, the clamp and scissors come out and for a time, Sean is cut from my side.

Early this morning came my first excision.

Instead of covering the 220 mile distance to camp safely belted next to me in the mini-minivan, I allowed Sean to go on the bus with the other campers.

I did not lecture him about best behaviours or even do any pre-teaching about what to expect.

I gave him a hug and a kiss and went to my car.

I followed along with the caravan, stopping when they stopped.  I checked in with him but never gave more than a passing glance to make sure he was ok.

Did he wash his hands at the pit stop?  I don’t know….

And these are things I won’t know.  Over time, I guess I’ll have to get used to not knowing every intimate detail of my son’s world.

He’s growing up and it’s killing me.

But I have to let him do it no matter how much I fight it and beg the world to keep him my little boy.

It’s become completely dark now.  I should head back to the campsite soon. 

I could say that I’ve been gone long enough and that I worry that it’s time to get back, but I left him in good hands.

Besides, he is, after all, a Boy Scout.

Isn’t their slogan “Be Prepared” or something like that?

This whole growing up thing…. Consider me not prepared at all.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Making A List and Checking It Twice

I took the kids back-to-school shopping yesterday.  I had my lists and headed to the local oversized, has everything but that one specific item that you desperately need, store.

I usually don’t mind when it comes to back-to-school stuff.  It’s usually closer to the end of summer and both the kids and I are tiring of seeing each other 24/7.

But this year it’s different…

It’s earlier because, for some reason, I feel rushed.  I am already in that familiar panic mode that sets in about Thanksgiving week.  You haven’t yet even eaten the turkey and your stomach is in knots because you don’t have your holiday cards addressed.

I never send holiday cards that early and, as for the tree, whatever ornaments are there come Christmas Eve, then so be it.

My friends will disagree, but I am really not that anal….

I think I’m nervous.  For the first time in 5 years we will be without the comfort of the special needs world. 

Sean will be mainstreamed at the junior high for the full day and it scares me to death.

I worry about how he’ll manage.  I worry about him having enough organizational skills to master going to your locker and thinking ahead about what you might need for the next several classes.

I worry about lunch and the cafeteria.

I worry about gym.

I worry about him being bullied… of him making friends.  I worry about the little things that can pick and gnaw away at his healthy self-esteem.

In other words, I worry about everything.

I know that people say he’s ready.

I know that they don’t mainstream unless the world agrees that he can handle it.

I know… I know… I know….

But I’m his mom.

Isn’t it my job to worry?

It’s going to be a huge year… 8th grade!  My little five and a half pound baby boy is going to be graduating.

He’s bigger now.  Taller.  His voice is deep except for the moments that it squeaks.

He has hair and pimples and an interest in girls.

Sean talks about driving…

He’s growing up and I am not ready for it.

Maybe this is typical of a mom of an 8th grader.  Maybe our worries are some of the same.

I always parallel my world with the world of others who have both feet planted firmly in the so-called “normal” world.

While they run around from practice field to dance lessons and eat out of their cars, I rush from therapy to therapy and order take-out.

Sometimes I even feel like my life is less hectic than theirs.

I have to slow down.  I have to have those days where Sean can decompress.  I can’t spend hours running errands or being spontaneous when it comes to having friends over.

No… my life is all calculated and planned.

Even though Sean has spent some time at the junior high, much still remains unknown.  He’s never eaten there.  He’s never taken gym there.  He’s never had to go to his locker and change out his books.

…So many unknowns…

I can walk his schedule with him.  I can time his routes in the hallway so he doesn’t get anxious and run.  I can help him organize his books and folders according to his classes.

But I can’t be there for him.

That first day he’s going to walk out the door and I am not going to get an email from school or a phone call to let me know how he’s doing.

I won’t get a point sheet detailing his day.

I won’t get much more than, “How was your day, Sean?”


And I’ll have to hope it was….

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Calm After The Storm

 Sixty hours and I am finally back from the world of the technologically challenged.

Who knew that a simple dumping of 7 inches of rain in a mere 3 hours could cause so much damage?

The bright side is that without phone (including cell service), Internet, electricity and cable (all sporadically replaced over the last three days), I not only cleaned out my refrigerator but also managed to find the time for some long tossed-aside tasks (like that pile in the corner of my bedroom).

Who knew?

Sean was – what else? – great over the weekend. 

He helped load the car with boxes of food to take to Grandma’s house where an empty freezer awaited us.  He packed his backpack with books, merit badge supplies and his toothbrush and toothpaste (the kid is a brushing pro!) for the trip across town.

And, the most amazing part, while we were waiting out the hottest portion of the day over at Grandma’s, Sean did not once ask when we were leaving.

Imagine that.

It was tough on all of us to be suddenly thrust into a mode that none of us had ever experienced before.  Sure, we’ve lost power before with storms as well as cable and phone.  But this time was different.  While some said to wait it out because the electricity would be on shortly, our instincts told us otherwise.

I think we started planning our escape to Grandma’s as soon as we woke up that morning.  The power had been out for hours by then.  Streets were already flooded.

We let the kids sleep in.

It was Sean who noticed the lack of electricity first.  His routine is to come out of his bedroom, turn on the computer and then make breakfast while the computer is warming up.

It’s funny how it really didn’t faze him much at all.  In actuality, he was extremely nonchalant about it.

You would think that for a kid so tied to the computer that he would have freaked.

But he didn’t.

We set about our business of packing up the kids and the food – as well as 15 year-old Smokey – and headed over to my mom’s.
I look back and it truly was a family working together.  We each had jobs.  There was no yelling.  No screaming.  No crying.

It was all so calm.

Once we were over at my mother’s house, Sean had space to roam.  However, he spent much of the beginning playing in my mom’s mechanized chair that rises or lowers depending upon whether the person wants to sit or to stand.  He loved the fact that it had a remote.

He played with the thing until I worried that he would break it.  And then he decided to sit in it (it is one of the most uncomfortable chairs on the planet!) and read for most of the day.

I expected boredom.

I expected the required inquiries into when we were going home.

I expected pacing and circling.

I got none of that.

He did drive me nuts with the “rub me” though but that’s certainly nothing new.

We wanted to sleep in our own beds that night so we headed back to the house late that night.  The neighbourhood was still pitch black.

Again, I expected some kind of reaction from Sean – no doubt negative – about the power still being out.


You would think…

I know my nerves were frayed…the worries and unknowns seemingly endless.

But Sean was absolutely fine.

Imagine that.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Word ....


It's a good thing to have....

But I'm in the Chicagoland area and if you haven't heard by now, we received about 7 inches of rain in 3 hours.

Electricity, as well as access to streets, cable, internet, and phone service are luxuries that you have to learn to live without during a flood.

Even my cell phone is useless....

I hope to be back to normal sometime early this week.

I'm on limited battery power now so I can't even write (ok, technically there is pen & paper!)

I have so much to tell you!

Thanks for checking in and be safe out there!!!

See you all soon...


Thursday, July 21, 2011

Bullying... Read This Or Else! Part Two

 I’ve struggled these past few days with how to follow up on the bullying.  I certainly don’t feel comfortable detailing every blow.  However, this blog is my word, my life, and I promised myself to be as honest and forthright as possible.

Thus, I’ll begin with that it happened and it hurt.

I guess you can say that Sean was lucky to be blissfully unaware of what was going on.  He didn’t understand.  He didn’t know.  In fact, he even tried to make excuses for them. 

I’m sure he thought he was protecting “his friends” in some way.

I witnessed every ugly moment of it and yet stood by for the majority of it in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” tug of war.

If I say something then I am somewhat “coddling” my son and therefore, it will be taken that my son was indeed bullied due to my own actions.

If I don’t, then I stand by and watch the world’s cruelness set upon my son.

I stood on that edge and muffled every internal motherly instinct that I had.  I justified it by telling myself that boys will be boys and Sean will learn from this.  He will figure a way out.

But he didn’t.

And when I could stand it no more, I came up with Plan B and got Sean involved in another activity.

I hoped that it was over.

When it happened for a third time that night, no amount of Fort Knox security could hold the mother in me back.  I said my piece.  We finished what we had to do.

And then we left.

Was it cowardly of me, to run like that?  Did I just give in to the bullies?  Did I let them win?

I can say “No” but I believe that the world would think otherwise.

But I ask you this…

How long do you stay in a situation that is not healthy simply to prove a point?

You can’t argue with ignorance.

I used to try.  I would say to myself, “If they only knew….”  I would try to educate them.

However, ignorance is something completely different than “not knowing.”

People who don’t know things but who want to know… They ask.  They listen.  They try to understand even if they can’t.

People who are ignorant simply believe what they want and no one, not even the highest regarded expert in the world, can change their minds.

They don’t want to know.

Worse yet, they don’t care to know.

That’s sad, don’t you think?

With education, you change the world.  You change who you are.  And you change how you function in that world.

Empathy comes from education.

There is nothing from ignorance.


Bullies, and the people who support them, are ignorant.

For Sean and myself and for the future, they will mean as much as they are worth.

And that is…


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bullying... Read This, Or Else! Part One

My son Sean was bullied yesterday and I was blamed.

How does that happen?

I chose not to write last night due to my anger.  Rich always warns me about "writing angry" and yesterday was certainly a reason to heed his advice.

I want to talk about the bullying but my heart is still too close to it so let's begin with how it came to be not so subtly implied that it was somehow my fault.

First, how does that even make any sense?  How am I or my behaviour responsible or an excuse for someone else's bad judgment?


I was infuriated when it was suggested to me that my son got bullied because of me.

I am there for Sean and yes I can be every bit of the definition of a "helicopter mom."  However, he is also autistic and that gives me much more leeway on how attached I can be to my son than say, a "typical" child who still has mommy do his laundry into his 30's.

If I am on my son, then it is either because he needs direction and/or supervision while doing a task or if something unspeakable like drowning can occur.

I watch over my kid so no one else has to.  I take responsibility for him.  And when I feel he can take care of himself and he is in a safe situation, then I'm off doing my own thing.  Sean is 13 years old and the journey to independence began years ago with the purchase of a house key to store in his backpack.

Like I said, I am there to assist him, to guide him, to be there for him one-on-one if he requires it so that the lifeguard, the skate rink attendant, and the leader can all go about doing their jobs.

Sean is not their son.  He is mine.

I do not coddle him and to imply, even in the remotest sense, that my son was bullied due to that, is not only so unforgivably offensive to me, as well as hurtful to my son, but can almost be taken as excusing the inappropriate behaviour.

How does that come to be?

Sean was bullied, plain and simple. 

It wasn't his fault.  It wasn't mine.

Take responsibility.

Be accountable.

And if you want to blame me for being a mom, for keeping my son safe, and for guiding him in life....

Then, as our litigious society often says, "Fine, sue me."

I know who I am.  I know who my son is and his needs.  I live with him every day.

When you, the outsider, accumulate as much Sean-time as I have, then and only then, will you have the right to judge or to blame.

But I will have more.  I will always have more time, more patience, more understanding, more insight, and more instinct when it comes to my son and his needs.

I am his mom.

Blame me for forgetting the parent-teacher conference.

Blame me for the forgotten permission slip that I promised to fill out days ago.

Blame for the tardiness, the missed practice, and the assignment that received a lower grade because I let him do it himself.

But do not blame me for the foul behaviour of another.

Sean was bullied.  He did nothing wrong.

And, you know what?

Neither did I.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Song And A Smile

Sorry I haven't felt much like writing lately.  I've been frustrated with Sean and while I want to be real and honest with this blog, I also don't want to come off as this ogre mom....

Remember when I was counting down the days to summer?  I've always enjoyed the summer so much with my kids.  Stress-free, care-free days....

It hasn't been like that and I don't know why.

I'm not working my day job this summer.  I work only two nights a week.  I'm more care-free than I have ever been.

But it's not feeling like that....

It's been tough for me dealing with Sean's growing teenage angst.  I guess I should count myself lucky that he is experiencing it at all.  Isn't that "normal"?  Don't parents of typical teenagers go through it?

The sighs and the pained look on his face when I suggest anything other than sitting at the computer are beginning to wear on me.

I tell him the schedule for the next day every night before bed.  It's habit.  He should know it's coming.

Yet, he looks at me (or as much as he can look at me) and his face tells me he just wants to be left alone.

Big, not-so-fun things have happened this summer.  The washing machine shorted itself out, the roof needs repairing, the DVD entertainment system in the van broke.  I need to take care of things.  I need to leave the house.  And... I need to take him and his sisters with.

I can't remember what I said yesterday while standing in the kitchen but if his eyes were capable of looking at me, they would have rolled.  Sean rolled his head instead....

I called him out on it and the teenager in him quickly denied the act.

But he did it all the same.

So it's been difficult these past few weeks....

How do you deal with an autistic child who wants to stick to his own routine, his own world and a burgeoning teenager who also wants to stick to his own routine and be in his own world?

You have to wonder if they are indeed one in the same....

It's going to be a crazy fine line I navigate these next five or six years.  What is teenage angst and what is autistic anxiety?  What is disrespect and what is merely the autistic side of Sean?

I've always told Sean and others that being autistic doesn't mean you have a free pass in this world to act as you please.

In other words, there's being autistic and then there's being as ass.

This is not The Little Drummer Boy and I don't want to be keeping time at the manger...

And I don't want to be the ox...  but I believe I am.

Today was a go nowhere day.  I didn't even send the kids out into the yard until well into the afternoon.  I kept it quiet and I let Sean have his distance, as well as his beloved computer games.

I think we both needed the break from each other.

Call me naive, but I even think that Sean may have felt a bit of remorse over yesterday.  He asked if he could work on his merit badge booklet while he was outside.

That made me smile.

Tonight, when I arrived home from work, I walked into his room to say good night.  We chatted for a bit... something about his hernia surgery when he was two years old.

I said my good nights...

And then he smiled at me.

Maybe I'm not the worst mommy in the world....

Maybe I'll get lucky and these teenage years won't be so bad...

And now maybe I have the song stuck in my head...

Pa, rum, pum, pum, pum...

Great... good luck with that!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Oh My Heaven Is Not Just For Slurpees

Yesterday we went to Meijer to window shop for school supplies.  With Sean being full-time in the fall at the junior high, Carissa entering junior high and Ashley going into kindergarten, I suspect I will have to put in more than a passing effort and a few dollars for new crayons into back-to-school shopping this year.

Trying to be the ultimate-organized mom, I checked out the supply lists on-line during the day.

I was not only overwhelmed but also genuinely afraid for my credit card.

The kindergartners need headphones?  Are they serious?

And how many packets of loose leaf paper does Carissa need?  My fingers cramped up in mock sympathy pain.

Of course, Sean being mainstreamed full-time poses its own unique set of problems.

Sean was in one classroom for the majority of time while in his day program.  There was no need to worry about going to lockers or switching out books for the next set of classes.

Life was simple, basic.

Junior high will be neither.

It’s true that he did attend the junior high and was integrated first into two classes and then later on into four.  However, all he needed was one binder and a couple of notebooks.  He carried everything with him for the morning.

After he finished with his last class, Sean would then head to his locker, dump his stuff and proceed to the front office to check out and be picked up by transportation to go to his day school.

It took some walking-through and took some pre-planning and pre-teaching, but Sean got the routine down fairly quickly.

This year he’ll be going to his locker multiple times and have more folders, books and notebooks to deal with.

Thus, the trip to Meijer and my pre-emptive strike against disorganization came to be.

I was hoping to convince Sean to use, what I called in ancient times, the Trapper Keeper system.  It’s a zip-up binder with room enough for a multitude of folders, calculators and other school essentials.

He would have one set up for his morning classes and then another one for his afternoon.

One stop shopping, grab and go.

I mentioned it to him while at the store and even showed him a few and how they would work.

“Genius” was crossing my mind.

However, Sean was not about to crown his mother with the title and shut down completely.

“I need one folder with two pockets – one for school papers and one for personal papers.  That’s it.”

Oh, Sean… you’re going to need so much more….

Carissa loved the idea.  She even picked out one pink and one purple.  Hey, you have to be colour-coordinated…

But Sean…..

Well, he just simply wouldn’t listen to my reasoning.  Some of it was from his budding teenager’s attitude of “you’re an adult and have no idea what you’re talking about.”

The other part was Sean being stuck in his own routine, his own thoughts, his own notions.

He sees the world as he sees it. 

And he thinks he understands so much.

But we all know differently.

How much do I push?  How much do I insist?

It’s about four or five weeks until we’re in full going-back-to-school panic mode.  Maybe I’ll give it some more time.  Maybe some more thought.

Maybe once he gets his schedule we can sit down and figure out exactly what he’ll need and when.

Then maybe I’ll get through to him that he needs more than one folder.

But, at this point, I’m not holding out much hope.

Maybe I should simply sit back and enjoy the waning days of no alarm clocks and no schedules.

OK, Sean.  You win.

Forget the organizing and let’s all go for Slurpees instead.

Today is July 11th… 7-11…. and the special 7.11 oz delicacies are free.

And free… whether it’s a Slurpee or time… is always a good thing.

Enjoy your day!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

North, South, East and Flush

“Mom!  Where’s my compass clip?”

“I’m in the bathroom, Sean.”

“Mom… Where’s my compass clip?”

“I’m in the bathroom.  I’ll get it for you when I’m out.”

“Tell me where it is.”


I know where it is.  And I also know that I’m not about to tell him that I shoved it in a box with a bunch of papers and put it in the barroom just so my life-long friends can come over to the house last night for a BBQ/pool party and see a clean countertop.

No… I’m not about to tell him that.

He would freak.

Besides, what does he need with his compass clip right now?  He’s supposed to be working on his First Aid merit badge workbook.

“Mom, just tell me where it is….”


I don’t hurry on purpose.

I get out and find him wandering around the house, wrapping and unwrapping the cord around his MP3 player.

Doesn’t quite look like a merit badge booklet in his hand, now does it?

“Sean, I thought you were supposed to be working on First Aid.”

“Where’s my compass clip?  Just tell me.”

“You’re supposed to be working on your merit badges.  Now go in your room and I’ll find it for you.”

“I need to know where it is.”

I send him off with a sternly pointed finger to his room and I head to the barroom to excavate the pile of newspapers, school papers, Girl Scout registrations and miscellaneous riff-raff that’s been tossed into yet another box in order to hide my inability to tame the paper monster from the world.

My name is Frances and I have a problem with paper….

Toys, hair ties, band aids, books… If you can name it, then I can organize it.   My cabinets are obsessively organized.  The kids’ things are as well.

But not paper.

Paper is my Achilles’ heel, the thorn in my side, my dirty little secret….

And today, Sean is mere moments away from a melt down and pointing out the inadequacies of my being a mother to him if I cannot locate this stupid little freebie from the library reading program in the next sixty seconds.


All I wanted was a moment of peace in the bathroom.

But yet, here I am, fanning frantically through a week’s worth of tree by-products that deserved a better ending than in a box, semi-hidden in the barroom.

A paperless life would be my Utopia.

Crap.  I can’t find it.

I’m just about to give up and go to Plan B.  I’ll tell him that I’ll find it later.

Yea, that will work.


I stand in the middle of the room, trying to calculate in my head who is going to wind up being more upset over the darn thing, him or me, when I spy it peeking out from under my mother’s nightgown which she gave me to hem.

Yes, amongst the contents of yet another box.

I do have a problem.

But for now, I am triumphant.  I grab the compass clip and proudly hold it up so the whole house knows of my achievement.

I found it.

I give it to Sean who is only now finally working on his First Aid booklet.  I take the laundry detergent off the still-uncluttered countertop and head out the door to my mom’s in order to do laundry.

I’ll go the bathroom there.  It’s quieter.

No need for a compass on a clip… I know the way.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Is The Battle Worth The RISK?

Big sigh.

Take a breath.

Try and understand...

But seriously...

I don't care that the computer game is a "non-save" game...

I don't care that you are supposedly three-quarters of the way through winning it...

I don't care.  I don't care. 

I.... don't.... care.

Step away from the computer and go outside and play in the pool.

How hard can that be?

It's summer.  It's 95 degrees. 


Why is that so difficult and met with frustration and objections?


It's because he's autistic. 

And today is the first day of the new "normal" that comes with summer vacation after having Rich home for the last ten days.

Ten days... one of the longest string of days that Rich has ever been able to take off from work.

While it was fun and relaxing for the majority of the family, it was not always true for Sean.

Ten days of not knowing the schedule.  Ten days of being outside of his comfort zone.

Ten days of anxiety, worry.

Ten days of walking a fine line between barely keeping himself together and having a major meltdown.

When you look at it like that, you have to wonder if taking time off and doing vacation-type things such as going to the amusement park or a drive-in are worth it.

You put your child through a dental cleaning for good reason.

But can the same be true for a roller coaster ride, a car museum, or a late-night movie?

We've always tried to give Sean the "typical" experiences of youth.  Some have been met with success - Boy Scouts and gymnastics.  Others have been a colossal failure.  Soccer should have never been....

But we've always tried.  We've always believed that with us there, with pre-teaching and pre-planning, that together we could get him through anything.

And if we could get Sean through one experience in life then we could get him through the next and the next...

But at what cost?

I no longer allow Carissa to sleep over at her friends' houses.  She can stay as late as she wants and we will pick her up at midnight or 1am when the slumber party is winding down.  But she will never sleep over.

Why?  Because I don't like the girl that comes home after only three hours of sleep.

The experience of the sleepover is no longer worth the price we pay as a family.

So was the last 10 days worth the mini-meltdown Sean had when I told him to get away from the computer and go outside?

I want to think so....

I want to believe that some good will come from it.

I wish I could say that tomorrow was going to be truly a "go nowhere" day so Sean can unwind but we have therapy.

Sometimes - like now - I wish we didn't.

But knowing that Sean is struggling I will keep the noises of Life down to a roar...


Then, of course, I'll forbid him from embarking upon the long version of RISK until a rainy day.

After all, to win the war, even a great general has to compromise every now and then.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

You Never Can Predict The Weather

Yes, I am still here.  I was merely on my “staycation” in suburban Chicago.

It’s been going fairly well.  My patience has been thinner than usual at times but overall, I’ve been able to get through some very long days without resorting to putting myself on a time-out… although yesterday did come close.

One of the most difficult days was on Thursday when we took the kids to Six Flags Great America.  It had been in the planning for weeks and the weather was going to be as optimal as you can get in the land of 30-degree temperature swings and where the threat of a freak snow is never taken lightly.

No, Thursday was the day and we were going to enjoy it… or else.

I hadn’t slept well the night before – can’t really remember why – but Rich was kind enough (smart enough perhaps?) to let me get an extra hour or two in the morning.  We weren’t all that concerned about being the first ones in the park. 

Thus, I slept in and we readied ourselves at a surprisingly non-frenetic pace.

If I was rested enough to go, then I assumed we all were….

It was apparent while waiting for Rich to check in with customer service at the park that all was not well with Sean and Carissa.

The Eeyore-like cloud hanging over Carissa was easy to figure out.  She was still upset over the previous day’s doctor appointment and the three shots that she received.   Ouch…

On the other hand, Sean’s foul mood was harder to pinpoint.

It was Six Flags for goodness sake!!!  Be happy.  Be excited.  Be something other than a mope.

Sorry… re-living the moment there….

Most of the morning and early afternoon Sean moaned and groaned.  He was tired.  He was achy.  He needed to sit down and rest.  His back hurt.  His neck hurt.

Rub me….

I could not believe how he was acting.

Was this a 13 year old in front of my eyes or an old man?

I was becoming increasingly frustrated.  It’s not like he constantly asked to go home.  No, instead it was, “What time is it?”

We had told him that due to the late start that we might be at the park until 8, 9 or even 10 pm.

It was turning into a very long day….

And it was still early afternoon.

Around 2 pm, Ashley asked to go on the log ride one more time before lunch.  Sean was tired and wanted to sit and rest.  Carissa was traumatized from getting wet on an earlier log run.

I wanted to go but decided that Ashley would be better off braving the rapids of Logger’s Run with Daddy.

I took the older kids and found a place to sit and wait.

The words “rub me” have almost become synonymous with Sean sitting anywhere.

“Rub me” was called out from the picnic area before I even had a chance to find a place for myself.

I almost blew my stack.  Here we were…. Gorgeous day, all healthy and fine, and my two older kids were acting like I was torturing them.

I was ready to go home.

Sean finally came out and said that he was tense from not knowing what was going to happen next.  He really does need the minute-by-minute run-down of the day.

But we’re at a theme park…  You can plan some things but unknowns were all around us. 

How long will that line be?  Will Vertical Velocity open up at all?  What ride will be next? 

Or, the best one, how many roller coasters will Mom ride before she gets sick?

The answer?  Two.

Not everything can be pre-taught, pre-planned, pre-anythinged.

Maybe I expect too much from Sean….

Sometimes I just want to have a day….
After Ashley and her dad had their soaking moment together, we headed to the car to grab some pre-packed lunch.  Sean promised me he’d be in a better mood after some food and a nice extended rest.

And he was right.

Sean held himself together for the remainder of the day.  I rubbed him when he asked to be rubbed.  He grabbed and pinched the inside of my upper arm when he needed it.

It was all going to be good.

Later on, the winds picked up and the clouds turned nasty.  We walked to the exit and left the park without regrets.  The kids had done all they could and we were all exhausted.

We learned the next day that a funnel cloud had touched down not far from the area where we were.  Pictures of hail and downed trees were abundant from my Facebook friends.

It seemed ironic to me….  What started out as a gorgeous day weather-wise had turned ugly after awhile.  And what started out as a tired, grumpy, moaning type day, actually turned into quite a nice day for everyone… most especially, Sean.

You never can predict things like that now, can you?