Our church had a huge celebration last Sunday. Before we left for church Brett asked me if we should take both vehicles in case Mikayla and Hope went into sensory overload. I told him I thought we should just take the van. Brett was working in the hamburger stand from noon until 1:00. I was only going to have the girls by myself for an hour. Surely I could handle that. Right?
Wrong. The atmosphere was filled with live music, bounce inflatables, all the free food you could eat and a huge crowd of people. I thought the hour that Brett was working would pass quickly if the girls played on the inflatables. We went to the first inflatable and the girls took off their shoes. The sun was shining on the entrance and the girls were saying that it was too hot. They’ve always been overly sensitive to things being hot. They were done with the inflatables within the first 5 minutes.
I decided we should get something to eat. It was extremely crowded in the area where the food lines were. I get claustrophobic in large crowds and I feel like I can’t breathe. And I knew that the girls wouldn’t be able to stand in line for very long. I had no idea how we were going to get something to eat. Then the girls spotted the popcorn. There wasn’t a line so we walked right up and got 2 bags of popcorn. That should keep them happy until Daddy gets done passing out hamburgers. Then he can stand in line and get us some food.
I learned last year when we were at this event that if you mix fried food, bouncing in the inflatables, and humidity together it will make a little sweetheart vomit. I was the mom holding her girl’s hair back while she vomited in the trash can that was smack in the middle of all of the action. That was a really good time. I was hoping to not have a repeat performance this year.
We found a tent to stand under while the girls ate their popcorn. A lady named Amanda was passing out candy to the kids. I told her that the girls couldn’t stand in those long lines, so they were eating popcorn. She said that she would be glad to stand in line for us and get our food. Years ago I would have never let anyone do that for me. But I’ve learned that it’s ok to accept help. I told her to get us 3 hamburgers and 3 bottles of water.
Apparently all the excitement in the air makes our girls have to visit the porta-potty frequently. Oh joy! There’s nothing I love better than a porta-potty. We made our first visit to the porta-potty and Amanda beat us back to the tent. The girls were happy to have a bottle of water after eating a whole bag of popcorn. But they didn’t want the hamburgers. They started yelling “I want a corn dog!” Ok. Let’s go stand in the corn dog line. That ought to be fun. I found a friend who took the 2 hamburgers.
We were standing in the corn dog line and the girls continued yelling “I want a corn dog!” I explained to them that we were going to get a corn dog but we had to wait in line. “I want a corn dog” We’ll get one in a minute. We have to wait in line. “I want a corn dog”. I know you want a corn dog. We’ll get one in just a minute. The couple in front of us got tired of hearing my girls yelling for corn dogs and they decided to get out of line. Wasn’t that nice of them? Now we’ll get our corn dogs sooner. As we got closer to the front of the line they quit yelling that they wanted a corn dog. and they started yelling “I’ve got to pee!” You’ve got to be kidding me! What do I do? I didn’t want to get out of line. But I also didn’t want either of my little sweethearts to wet her pants. So we got out of line and made a beeline to the porta-potty. They were both inside of their porta-potty and they were yelling “I want a corn dog.” Really? Do you really want Mommy to cry right here in front of hundreds of people. Because she’s just about to lose it.
We started our trek back to the corn dog stand and both my sweethearts are yelling “I want a corn dog!” the whole way there. And people were staring at us. I love it when people stare at us. It’s my very favorite part of being a special needs mom. The heavens opened for us and there was no line when we got back to the corn dog stand. Thank you, Lord!
It was after 1:30 and Brett was still passing out hamburgers. They were swamped and he couldn’t leave because they still needed his help. I told him that I didn’t know where I was going but I had to get away from the crowd. And then I heard my husband’s voice inside of my head saying “Do you think we should take both vehicles?” If only we had two vehicles I could go home. I made a mental note that next time he asks if we should take both vehicles my answer will be “Yes….yes we should”.
I always try to find something positive even in the middle of a horrible situation. As we walked to the van all I could come up with was “at least no one puked this year”. I was extremely close to having an anxiety attack. We got to the van and I couldn’t believe what I saw. Someone had parked behind us and blocked me in. I just wanted to stand there and cry. But then I noticed a golf cart coming towards me. The golf carts were transporting people back and forth so they didn’t have to walk. I stopped them and with tears in my eyes I told the lady “My girls are having a fit. I’m exhausted. I’ve got to get out of here and someone has me blocked in”. She took the license number and said she would have them announce that the vehicle needed to move. I sent Brett a text that said someone had me blocked in and I was never coming to this event ever again. A few minutes later the golf cart reappeared. I told the lady that I was sorry if I had been rude. I told her that our girls have sensory processing disorder and big events are just too much. She said she helps in Mikayla & Hope’s class. she’s an OT, and she knew from the look on my face exactly what was going on. She was so understanding. The person showed up and moved his car in record time.
As I was driving through the parking lot Brett called to check on me. He said that they announced that a vehicle needed to move and that it was an emergency. He was worried I was the one blocked in. Then he saw my text and he knew that it was me. I told him I was fine even though I knew that I might burst into tears at any moment. I started to drive to the next town and the girls immediately calmed down. All they needed was to get away from the crowd. And then Mikayla asked “Where’s my hamburger?” Sigh.
I bought a sweet tea at McDonald’s for my pounding headache. We went to Walmart to buy some chocolate and then we headed back to church. I ate too much chocolate. Then I called Brett and I told him that I needed to go home. And then it happened. The tears came like a flood. He said he would find our older girls. If they weren’t ready to leave then he would take me home and come back and get them later. I didn’t care what we had to do. I just wanted to go home. Brett drove an hour to take me home. He gave the girls a bath to get the sunscreen washed off. And then he drove an hour back to pick Taylor up. He sure does love me.
I think it’s good to push through your fears and do something that’s not comfortable. That’s why I’ve attended this annual church event for the last 3 years. It’s been a nightmare every single time. I was frustrated when I texted Brett and told him that I would never come to this event again. I’ve been thinking about it for 2 days and I’ve come to the same conclusion. I will not be attending this event in the future. Part of being a special needs parent is deciding what events you can attend and which ones you shouldn’t attend. This is definitely an event that we need to pass on. So next year Brett and our older girls will stay and enjoy the day serving others. But you will see me exiting the parking lot and heading home with a smile on my face. And I will spend a lovely, quiet day at home with our two upside down turtles.