Someone Has Anger Issues

img_1728

Mikayla, come brush your teeth!

Total silence.  Where is she?

Mikayla, come brush your teeth!!

Still total silence.  I’m tired and slightly irritated.

Mikayla!  Get in here right now!!!!  I’m not gonna say it again!!!!

That girl knows when momma means business.  She stumbled into the bathroom with her yellow angry bird tucked under her arm.  She squeezed his wing and he said “Someone has anger issues!”   And there you have it.  Truth straight from the bird’s mouth.  That crazy bird says all kinds of phrases.  But at this exact moment he decided to focus on my anger issues.  Really?

Life as a parent to little sweethearts who have special needs isn’t easy.  Our girls talk all day long.  They perseverate on a certain question or phrase and they say it a million times a day.  I constantly deal with behavior issues (the girls and my own).  My brain usually turns into a pile of goo by 3 p.m. When bedtime rolls around I’m exhausted.  I want little girls to show up when it’s time to brush their teeth.  I want people to stop talking.  I want my bed.  I have a right to be impatient at bedtime.  Right?

It’s been several months since my encounter with that angry bird.  Every time anger begins to rise up within me I hear his words ringing in my ears. Someone has anger issues.  And that someone is me.  Anger is my enemy.  It sneaks in and it steals my joy.  It makes me bitter instead of better. God is gently and consistently reminding me that anger and impatience are not ok.  Together we’re going to conquer my anger issues.  He’s making me painfully aware of how often I allow anger to control me.  Countless times in the last few months I’ve felt anger rising up within me.  And each time He gently shows me that I’m allowing anger to control my life.

I collapsed into bed on Christmas night.  I began scrolling through facebook.  It looked as if everyone had a picture perfect Christmas.  Anger began to bubble up within me.  Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.  But this day wasn’t wonderful.  We were at my parents house and Brett spent most of the day in a room with our little sweetheart who couldn’t maneuver her way through a meltdown.  Our problems don’t disappear just because it’s Christmas.  Sure wish they could disappear for just one day.  Why do some families get to enjoy Christmas and our family just tries to survive Christmas?  It’s not fair. Someone has anger issues.

We pulled into the drive thru to get the girls some lunch.  Chaos ensued.  The girls started screaming their orders.  Why are you doing that?  I asked you what you wanted when we were at Walmart so you wouldn’t do this.  Sigh.  Then they started fighting with each other.  The guy taking our order couldn’t hear us and we couldn’t hear him.  I really get tired of this.  Why does this happen almost every time we eat out?  It must be nice to be one of the families who eats inside of the restaurant.  But look at us.  We can hardly maneuver our way through the drive-thru.  Great.  Now I have a headache.  Someone has anger issues.

Why do I have to attend IEP meetings every year?  Lots of parents don’t even know what an IEP meeting is.  I used to be one of them.  Someone has anger issues.

Why is everything hard for our girls?  Why do they have to struggle every day to do things that come easily to most children?  Someone has anger issues.

Life was already hard enough before anxiety came and pulled the rug out from under me.  I have enough to deal with.  Why does anxiety have to be thrown into the mix?   Someone has anger issues.

Yes, it seems like I’m continually dealing with the issue of anger in my life.  God is lovingly and patiently helping me find my way back to a life of joy. A life of being thankful for what I have instead of angry about what I don’t have.  Thankful for the sweet moments with our girls that God highlights and wants me to remember.  Like the moment when we were walking into Walmart and Mikayla’s little hand reached for mine.  And I heard the Lord say “She may always want to hold your hand.”  I smiled as we walked hand in hand.  Mikayla and Hope may never outgrow their need to hold Mommy’s hand.   I will hold their hands for the rest of my life and enjoy every moment.  I believe that as I begin to focus on what I have instead of what I don’t have I will see my anger issues disappear.  And joy will return to my life.  And it all started with a silly angry bird who spoke truth into my life.

Sensory Processing Disorder: A Day At The Dentist

c03fb4b7-fc7f-464e-86a0-28ac1ebbe733

Mikayla and Hope were irritated with each other from the moment we stepped into the dentist’s office.  I was hoping they would call one of them in quickly so they could get away from each other.  They called Mikayla back for her cleaning and Hope started playing a game on her iPad.  Wow.  This is going smoothly. But after only a few minutes Hope became restless.  And she started talking.

It’s my turn!

No it’s not your turn.  They will come out and say your name when it’s your turn.

She went back to playing with her iPad.

It’s my turn!

Have you heard anyone say your name?

No.

Then it’s not your turn.

She played her iPad some more.

It’s my turn!

No.  It’s not your turn.  They will come get you when it’s your turn.

After 30 minutes of listening to Hope say “It’s my turn” the hygienist came out.  She had finished Mikayla’s cleaning.  She explained that Mikayla’s molars have deep pits.  She said that she could put sealants on them to prevent her from getting cavities.  She had some extra time and could do it while we were there.  I told her to go ahead.  She went back in with Mikayla and Hope went back to her same routine.

It’s my turn

No.  It’s not your turn.  They’re still working on Mikayla.  When they get done with Mikayla then it will be your turn.

It’s my turn.

Have you heard anyone say your name?

No.

Then it’s not your turn.

30 minutes later the hygienist brought Mikayla out and a strange odor filled the room.  She said Mikayla did fine with the sealants until they tried to do the ones on the top.  She gagged and then she vomited.  It was all over the front of her dress.  And it was in her hair.  They had cleaned her up but she gave me a moist towel so I could work on her some more.  She said she would be back to get Hope as soon as she cleaned the room.  I left Hope in the waiting room while I took Mikayla in the restroom. I cleaned her up the best I could but she still smelled.

When I got back to the waiting room I was very happy to find that Hope was the only person in the room.  Maybe we’ll get out of here without anyone having to smell the vomit.  Mikayla started eating the sucker they gave her.  Hope got upset and started yelling because she didn’t have a sucker.  Then she went back to the routine she’d been doing for the last hour.

It’s my turn

They’re cleaning the room.  They will come and say Hope when they’re ready for you.

It’s my turn.

Did you hear anyone say Hope?

No.

Then it’s not your turn yet.

20 minutes later the hygienist came out.  It’s finally Hope’s turn.  Hallelujah.  Mikayla and I start playing a game on her iPad.  I’m feeling very thankful that we’re still the only ones in the waiting room.  Then the door opens and a lady comes in.   A couple more people come in.  Then another.   I wondered if their noses were picking up the scent of my smelly little sweetheart.

After 2 hours had passed I was really needing to go home.  Hope finally came out.  I walked up to the window to make their next appointment.  Mikayla took her Despicable Me umbrella and hit Hope with it.  Then Hope took her My Little Pony umbrella and hit her back.  I told them to stop it.  They didn’t.  You stand here.  And you stand over there.  Don’t touch each other.  But they did.

The receptionist asked if I would like to make their appointments on 2 different days next time.  Yes.  After the way today went I would like to bring them on different days.  The receptionist apologized for it taking so long.   The computer was being slow.  Hope started eating the sucker they gave her and it made Mikayla mad.  They started hitting and kicking each other.  I suddenly felt as if I couldn’t breathe.  A panic attack began to take over my body.  I told the receptionist that I had to leave.  The printer finally spit out the appointment paper.   As my trembling hand reached for the paper the tears started to come like a flood.   As I turned to leave I didn’t look at any of the people in the waiting room.  I felt ashamed. What kind of mom can’t control her own children?  As soon as we got outside Hope started yelling because she dropped her sucker.  It’s stuck to the front of your shirt.  Peel it off and let’s go.

I cried the entire 25 minutes that it took to get home.  Why does going out in public have to be this hard? As soon as I got home I told Brett I was going to bed.  I didn’t care that it was only 3:30 in the afternoon.   I went in the bedroom, put on my nightgown and crawled in bed.  All I wanted was to forget that this day had ever happened.   And there’s no way I will ever write a blog post about it.  That’s for sure.  But here I am writing about it.  Crawling into bed and trying to forget the day wasn’t the end of the story.  A few days later I found a card in our mailbox from the ladies at the dentist’s office.  They each wrote me a personal note of encouragement.

Just a note to let you know we think you are great!  I hope your day got a little better.  

I enjoyed seeing your girls.  I can tell you go above and beyond taking excellent care of them just by looking in their mouths.  What a wonderful mother you are.

I was stunned.  They didn’t look at me and see a bad mom.  They looked at me and they saw a good mom having a bad day.   As I closed the card God whispered in my ear.  He said That’s how I see you.  I look at you and I see a good mom having a bad day.  And He loves me.  Even when my attitude stinks and I’m impatient He still loves me.  He gently reminds me I need to work on some things.  And I nod my head and agree.

The next day I took the girls to appointments at the eye doctor.  Guess what?  They were complete angels.  They didn’t yell at each other.  They didn’t touch each other.   I told them I was proud of them and I wanted to buy them a prize for being so good.  They wanted ice cream sandwiches.  I don’t understand why life can be so different from one day to the next day.  Or from one moment to the next moment.  But perhaps next time I feel tempted to carry shame out of the doctor’s office I’ll remember the ladies who looked at me and just saw a good mom having a bad day.  I’ll shake the shame off and walk out the door with my head held high.  And I’ll trust that tomorrow will be a better day.

The Case Of The Missing Coats

coats2

The insurance paper had the words “not medically necessary” printed on it.  Mikayla and Hope’s speech and occupational therapy will no longer be covered by insurance. I felt totally helpless.  What do we do now?  One person said we should do this.  Another person said we need to do that.  And another person said we need to do something else.  How do we decide where to go from here?  I’ve not slept much.  I’ve worried and I’ve cried.  I’ve wondered what God is doing. I’ve prayed and asked Him to direct our steps and to show us what’s next for our girls.

Right now we see two options.  We can move to the state where Brett works.  His commute would be shorter and more services would be available for our girls than we have in our state.  Or the girls can get the therapies they need if we enroll them in a school that’s 50 minutes from our house.  To be honest, neither option sounds very appealing to me.  I don’t really feel like relocating.  I’m not opposed to the school but I don’t like the fact that it’s 50 minutes away from our house.

I decided that I want to talk to someone who has worked at the school and I also want to talk to a parent whose child goes to the school.  A friend from church volunteered at the school several years ago.  We’ll be meeting with her soon and getting her thoughts on our situation.  But I don’t know anyone who has a child in the school.  But I do know God and I’ve prayed for Him to direct our steps to the right places and the right people.  Last night He directed my steps in a rather unique way.

It was 37 degrees when I pulled into the church parking lot.  I pulled up to the door and let the girls out so that they wouldn’t have to walk in the cold.  I didn’t want to mess with putting their coats on since they only needed to take 3 steps to get inside.  I told them I would bring their coats in with me so they would have them for our walk back out to the van after church.  I parked the van.  I grabbed the coats and my purse and walked into church.

As worship service was getting ready to start I took my coat off and I put it on the seat next to me. Wait a minute.  Where are the girls coats?  Oh great.  I left them in the restroom.  I ran to the restroom.  No coats.  I went to their classroom.  Maybe the girls were carrying them and I just don’t remember.  Nope. No coats in the classroom either.  I walked up and down the hallways.  No coats anywhere.  I saw Amanda and Kathy standing at the check-in station;  I asked them if anyone had turned in a couple of coats.  They said no one had.  Amanda told me to go into the worship service and relax.  They would find the coats for me.

I went into the service.  I began to sing but I wasn’t able to relax.  There’s nothing in this world that makes me crazier than not being able to find something. Amanda and Kathy had enough to take care of without having to look for my girls coats.  So I prayed.  I asked God to help them find the coats quickly.  And then I heard a still small voice that said “You didn’t bring them in……they’re still in the van.”  I grabbed my keys and I went out to the van.  Sure enough both coats were in Mikayla’s seat.  I realized what had happened.  I parked the van, opened the hatch, and grabbed the coats. And then I noticed I’d done a terrible job of parking.  I was way too far away from that line and way too close to that one.  So I put the coats in Mikayla’s seat, got back in the van, and straightened up my bad parking job.  Then I got out of the van, forgot to grab the coats, and went into church.  The case of the missing coats was solved.

I was feeling like a complete fool as I walked towards the kids classes.  But I had to let the ladies know that they could stop looking for the coats.  I found Kathy and I told her that I hadn’t actually brought the coats into the building.  We laughed about my brain malfunction.  I told her that I hadn’t been sleeping much.  She asked me why I hadn’t been sleeping.  I told her that we’re needing to make decisions about Mikayla & Hope’s future.  I told her that sending them to a school almost an hour from our house may be the only way they can get the therapies they need.  She told me that she has a friend whose daughter will soon graduate from the same school.  She’s sure she would be glad to talk to me about the school.  Ok, Lord.  This whole missing coat fiasco makes sense now.  I went back into the worship service just in time to sing the last half of the last song.  And all I could think about was how good God is.  He directs my steps no matter what.  Even during a moment when I felt like a complete fool He directed my steps towards Kathy.  He knew that Kathy had a friend who can help me.

I learned a valuable lesson last night.  Searching for the answers to our girls futures is much like searching for their missing coats.   I ran all over the church trying to find their coats but I couldn’t find them.  It was when I stopped and asked God for His help that the coats were found.  I can run all over this earth searching for services, therapists, and schools and not find them.  But if I just stop and ask God to help me He will answer.  He delights in every detail of our lives.  He even delights in me during those moments when I’m looking for something that was never lost.

Anxiety Is Not My Friend

I’m not gonna lie.  The last couple of weeks have been rough.  Anxiety is real.  It’s like an unwelcome guest who just won’t leave no matter how much I want it to.  I drop kick it out the front door and then it sneaks in the backdoor.  After a phone call with our insurance company it latched onto me like a parasite.  And it followed me to bed Monday night and kept me company until 4 a.m. Anxiety is not my friend.

It all started a few weeks ago when it snowed.   Snow makes Mikayla feel anxious.  She deals with her anxiety by following me around all day and talking nonstop.  I began to experience a fair amount of anxiety after spending 4 days with my chatty mini-me shadow.  Wednesday came, the roads were clear, and we headed to church.  I took the girls to their class and I went into the worship service thinking that I would be able to relax and regroup.

We were halfway through the first song and I began to feel claustrophobic.  The drums that have never bothered me before were making my chest pound.  I grabbed my purse, bolted out of the sanctuary, and ran into the restroom.  And then it happened.  The worst ugly cry I’ve ever experienced in my entire life came pouring out of me. As I began to pull myself together the door opened and my friend was suddenly by my side.  She has a lot of experience working with special needs adults.  She listened as I shared what was bothering me and she encouraged me.  And then she said 3 words that sent me over the edge.  She said “I get it.”  As soon as those words were out of her mouth I lost it.  I asked her “Do you get it?  Do either of your children have anything wrong with them? Do you deal with special needs 24 hours a day without a break? Do you have to worry about if your kids will ever leave home?”  As soon as I spit out the last word I wished I could take it all back.  I usually just think those things when people tell me they understand.  I’ve never actually said them to anyone.  But it happened.  I was glad that it happened with a friend who will continue to love me even when I’m unlovable.

Hope had a really bad day at church last Sunday.   Something wasn’t right even before she went to class.  But I was hoping that she would settle down and enjoy class.  I got a negative report from our frazzled friend you was helping Hope during class.  I was feeling as if everything was spiraling out of control.  Things I thought the girls had finally overcome were coming back to haunt us once again.  I was so discouraged.

Our insurance company denied a couple of medical claims that we thought they would pay.  Totally frustrating.  And our insurance is also in the process of reviewing the medical necessity of our girls therapies.  A couple of the therapists met with me to discuss what we need to do if the insurance decides to stop paying for the girls therapies.  It wasn’t an easy conversation.  I didn’t sleep that night because of all of the questions racing through my mind.  What if they quit paying for therapies? What are we going to do then?  How can this be happening?  The insurance will let us know their decision by February 19th.  And so we wait.

So I’m totally stressed out and I look at the calendar.  A mammogram on the 27th?  That should help my anxiety, right?  Oh joy.  I didn’t want to reschedule it so I go to the appointment.  She calls me in and hands me the gown.  She tells me the gown opens in the front.  If you’re wearing deodorant you need to use a wipe to remove it for the test.  Put your clothes in a locker.  Keep your purse with you.  Sit in the waiting area and we’ll call you soon.   Yes.  I know all of this.  I’ve done it before.  But thank you.

I’m reading my book and waiting for them to call my name.  And then I suddenly realize that I didn’t remove my deodorant.  How in the world did I forget to do that? She even told me to do it.  So I ran to one of the dressing rooms and removed my deodorant.  I got back before they called my name.  After the test was over I went into one of the dressing rooms, put my purse on the chair, and then felt like a complete idiot.  It’s kinda hard to put your clothes back on when you forget to stop at the locker and get your clothes.  So I sneak out of the dressing room, grab my clothes, sneak back in the dressing room, and get dressed.  Yep.  There’s nothing wrong with me.  Other than I don’t function well on 8 hours of sleep in 2 days time.  It’s really nothing that a 72 hour nap wouldn’t cure.

I went to church after I got home from my appointment even though I didn’t feel like it.  I didn’t have a full-blown ugly cry in the restroom.  That’s progress.  As we stood for the closing prayer a friend came up to me.  She hugged me and she handed me a paper.

Paper from Amanda

 

So much truth that I needed to hear while I’m in the middle of my current mess.  The Lord will direct our steps.  If we lose insurance coverage for the girls therapies He will direct our steps.  He cares about every little detail of our lives.  He cares about our girls behavior.  He cares about my behavior.  He cares about how much sleep I get or don’t get.  He cares about the anxiety that I carry.  He wants me to give my burdens to Him and He will take care of me.  (Psalm 55:22)  It seems as if I’ve stumbled a million times in the last few weeks.  Yet He still holds my hand and I know that He will never let go.

The Heart of a Mom

000_0352

I don’t remember whose idea it was.  But I know it wasn’t mine.  I’m not a leader.  I’m a natural-born follower.  I didn’t often get into trouble when I was a kid.  But on this particular day I listened to the wrong voice.  I don’t remember whether it was the voice of my older sister or the voice of my younger sister that led me astray.  But the one thing I do remember is the sound of our mom screaming.

A man had stopped by the house and brought mom some elderberries.  They were talking and working with the berries when mom’s “must check on girls” alarm went off.  She came around the corner of the house and she suddenly turned as white as a sheet.  She screamed and almost fainted when she saw all three of her little angels perched on top of the roof of the house.

The man came running when he heard mom screaming.  He glanced up and saw us lined up on the roof.  He did the same thing that our dad would’ve done if he’d been there.  He doubled over with laughter.  Mom didn’t want to yell again for fear that it would make us fall off the roof.  So she calmly asked us “What are you doing up there?” One of us gave the obvious answer.  It was the answer that made complete sense in our 3-year-old, 5-year-old, and 6-year-old minds.

“We’re having a tea party!”  And once again the man doubled over with laughter.  But not poor mom.  There was absolutely nothing funny about it.  But let’s be honest. Doesn’t it take a lot of imagination and creativity to come up with such a splendid idea?   Why have a tea party inside of the house when you can have one on top of the house?  We thought it was fun.  Mom just didn’t understand.  My 5-year-old mind thought that she seriously overreacted to the situation.

The man walked over to the TV antenna tower and climbed up to retrieve us.  That tower was what started this whole mess.  It wasn’t a tower that held up the TV antenna in our minds.  It was a ladder that led us to the best tea party that three little girls ever had.  I wish we had a picture of our tea party on the roof.  But it was 1976 and mom didn’t have a smart phone in her pocket that she could use to snap a quick picture.  She didn’t have time to run in the house and grab the Polaroid. She had to watch as each of her darlings were rescued from the roof.  Once our six feet were back on the ground mom’s face suddenly looked normal again.

Nearly 40 years have passed since the tea party on the roof.  I now realize that mom was just doing her job. It’s a mom’s job to protect. It’s her job to worry.  It’s her job to scream and even faint if she needs to when she finds her girls up on the roof.  I’ve never seen any of our girls on top of our roof.  But I’ve screamed and almost fainted a few times.  It’s just what moms do.

I’ve cringed as I watched her fail to stop her roller skates.  And then I took her for x-rays and a pretty purple cast.  She leaned on the sliding screen door and I watched her fly out onto concrete when the screen fell off the side of the house.  And, yes, I screamed and I almost fainted.   I’ve had my “must check on girls” alarm go off and realized that not everyone was inside the house.  And there was a little darling out in the middle of the street playing with our cat.  I screamed and a nice man named daddy saved her.  And then he bought dead bolts so little sweethearts couldn’t get out of the house.  That’s what dads do.

The heart of a mom is full of fierce love for her child.  It’s a love that makes her scream when her child’s in danger.  It’s a love that makes her wish she could trade places and wear the pretty purple cast.  It’s a love that wants to dive onto concrete to save a child from injury.  It’s a love that God put in our hearts that no one can ever take away. The heart of a mom is a beautiful thing.

Brynna Leigh Turns 15

10635924_10202597318156672_7876960412090685455_n

Fifteen years ago I held our beautiful baby for the first time.  We named her Brynna Leigh.  She hardly ever cried.  I remember standing over her bouncer seat and asking her if she was hungry.  She was overdue for a feeding but yet she still smiled at me.  It was as if she was saying “Oh….is it time to eat? I didn’t notice.” Fifteen years later she’s still just as content as she was when she was a baby.

When Brynna was little she loved ladybugs, toads, flowers, and Dora the Explorer.  When I hear the Dora theme song I still see Brynna bouncing around the living room with pigtails flying.  When she was 4 years old she was in her first Bible school program.  She was bashful and we were a little nervous about how she would handle being in front of a crowd.  After the program Grandma told her that she was proud of her.  Brynna said “I just did what I had to do, Grandma!”

Brynna started taking dance lessons when she was 11 years old and she fell in love with jazz, tap, and ballet.  She exhibits such  grace and beauty when she’s dancing.  I’m so thankful for the gift that God has put within her.  I look forward to many more years of watching her dance.

I dropped Brynna off last week for her first driver’s ed class.  Really?  How can she be old enough to drive already?  It just doesn’t seem right but yet it is.  I would like to rewind the clock, put pigtails in her hair, and sit her down to watch an episode of Dora.  But I can’t do that.  But I can enjoy watching her catch toads with her little sisters.  And I will savor the moments of watching her dance.  And I will be thankful every day that I’ve been given the privilege of being Brynna’s mom.

I Want a Corn Dog!

korn_dog-451x300

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.