I know Spring has just arrived. And I love Spring, what with sunshine and flowers and butterflies and bees. But, instead of focusing on Spring, I am thinking about summer. Summer, glorious summer. Days of heatwaves and splashing water in the kiddy pool, going to the park and getting an ice cream cone from the sing-song car that drives by. Summer, when mama no longer has a moment to herself, but instead her life revolves around entertaining two boys whom have nothing to do other than become quickly bored after each and every activity.
I'm not one of those moms that dread summer. I enjoy having my kids near-by, time to shower them with attention and fun. Or, I USED to love it, back when life was more simple and I could manage both of them at one time. Now, it consists more of tearing apart fights and trying to keep them separated, trying to get Jari to quit teasing or whining, and getting Kaeden to actually do something on his own without pulling his little brother into the mix.
I love thinking about our summer vacation and what new experiences we will share as a family. Maybe a new location, but at minimal, a new home in which will become ours for just a week. I love having my husband with me 24/7 for those 3 weeks, sharing the daily chores in addition to an almost yearly argument over the map-reading process of hidden little bungalows in the woods. Him and I sharing our findings of things to do and see, packing up a lunch and heading off to our destination.
But the past few summers have been different. I start dreading the coming of summer, unsure how I will handle my two intense boys. When school runs, sportday, and class trips start being mentioned in the agenda, I recognize my time is nearly here. My me time forsaken, my sanity unplugged, my nerves standing on end. I try to reasuure myself: go for lots of bike rides, lots of playgrounds, lots of walks in the woods. Those activities never bring fights along. DO NOT leave them alone outside where something like building a dangerous hut is surely on the agenda and a hammer is but a near miss to someone's head. DO NOT let them fill the kiddy pool without supervision, where the entire house, kids, animals, and plats will get a drenching. DO NOT leave them alone in the kitchen where things like flour and sugar become a new floor covering. DO NOT...there are so many DO NOT's.
So, this summer, to keep tensions somewhat at bay, Kaeden is off on a trip to America. Yes, Kaeden. He'll be there for one month to be showered with attention from Gramma and Grampa. He'll have the opportunity to be independent and show us just how capable he is when things are left in his own hands. He's traveling alone, 9000 miles, over an ocean, a 20 hour day at his disposal. And me, I am really nervous.
Because of the behavior issues we've been having with Kaeden, I feel more nervous about this trip than I have in the past. And I am a bit unsure if I was sane in making this decision. Kaeden loves to travel and has always done wonderfully with it. He has taken this trip alone before. He was successful. But my mind keeps hammering: WHAT IF HE....and all these scenarios keep playing out in my mind, which always bring me back to an emergency landing and Kaeden never returning to European soil. I know this is not realistic, but that's what plays out in my mind.
Am I being fair to people he'll come in contact with, IF something happens to go astray? Am I being fair to the airline, putting the responsibility of my son in their hands, my son whom even I can't seem to control (though he does much better with others than with me). Am I being fair to Kaeden to expect so much of him when lately he proves time and again he is unable to control his actions? Am I being fair to my parents, whom though they love Kaeden dearly, may come into contact with 'the beast' and entertain a different notion about their first-born grandchild? Am I jeopardizing too much being selfish and earning myself a little breathing room?
I can't help but put these questions through my mind. My husband tells me I am worrying for nothing. That Kaeden, in new situations with strangers around him never acts out. That he has traveled this route many times in the past, and every time has been more helpful to us than any hinderance. That Kaeden needs to be given a chance to prove to himself, and us, just how much he can achieve on his own. That he deserves the right to spend time in his homeland, with his grandparents, to enjoy this little piece of heaven that he calls his own. That Kaeden needs the spcae to breathe, just as much as we need the space to breathe. That a little distance can only help us to gather up our sleeves and bring more patience and energy back into our bodies.
I can't help but worry. And yet, somewhere in the back of my mind, I know it will all be okay. If I wasn't more sure than unsure I wouldn't have considered buying those tickets. Please, I have 2 months before his departure. Give me peace with this decision. Don't keep me up nights worrying, popping tylenol to rid myself of a continual headache until he is safe on the other side. Help me come to terms with the fact that though autistic, my son is still just a teenager wanting to enjoy life, and able to do so. Just give me, and my son, a little extra boost of strength, to make this a safe journey.
And when he's safe on the other side, I will take my lil guy on bike rides and for ice cream and to the park, happy that it's summer, happy that I have time to shower him with attention and fun, while knowing the other one is getting the same...without a frazzled momma unsure how to cope.