Vacation for Brandon and I once looked like evening strolls down the Champs-Elysees, studying Gaudi’s architecture in Barcelona, and Christmas-ing in Rome. (I’m so thankful for those times, now more than ever).
When you have kids, your definition of “vacation” is significantly modified. Throw some autism in the mix, and, well…
These days if we can manage a day trip away from home, in which we go and come back alive, that’s vacation!
Last week I scoured the Internet and thought long about what we could handle for a family vacation; ever mindful of Hope and not wanting her to miss out on anything and ever mindful of Rhema and what would be best/easiest/enjoyable for her. Sadly, it’s a rare thing lately to see Rhema really having a good time – the anxiety, the unfamiliar, the sensory onslaught sucks the fun right out.
We settled on York’s Wild Kingdom in Maine (thanks for the suggestion, Lo!) which featured a
zoo = good for Hope, bad for Rhema
+ small amusement park = good for both.
Except, of course the fact that the park opened a whole two hours after the zoo opened and heaven forbid we had to wait in line for rides = bad, bad.
The next day we took the kids to a mini-golf course. When we got there and saw the course – the water, the open green, the people – we thought, very, very bad. B and I sat in the car for a good 15 minutes trying to figure out what to do. Should I drive away with Rhema, while he and Hope did mini-golf? No, this is a family thing. Should we all just leave? No, Hope’s sooo excited. But what if Rhema pees on Hole 13? (She’s going through a regression in toilet-training). In the end, we decided to try anyway, and I wished everyone putt-putting could know how much courage it took for us just to be there.
I’ll spare the gory details, but both ventures – the zoo park and the mini-golf – ended in what could easily be described as disasters. There were some ugly, frustrating, discouraging moments. At the end of the day, during our nightly family prayer, B sighed, “We did the best we could do today, Lord.”
When I look over the pictures of our disaster vacation, I see Hope soaking in everything, not wasting a minute, full and spilling joy and life. Her happiness is satisfying; makes me think I’m doing right by her. I see Rhema, in her sweet practical, no-nonsense way, picking up the golf balls and putting them in the hole. Why in the world would you waste time with a club, people? I see her lasting for 5 holes on the course. That’s not nothing. I see my girls getting to spend summer days with their dad – finally, after several summers apart. I see us crafting a beautiful mess of memories. Blessing upon blessing, and none of it had to be.
“We did the best we could do today, Lord.”
And for me, it really is enough.