On the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, as I finished making waffles, I asked the kids “Who wants to go on a trip?” Two of the three were all in, jumping up and down, yelling “Me! Me! Me!” This trip would be a few hours away and included one stop for me, then an overnight at a hotel with a pool, then to take in a Major League Baseball game. I figured the swimming and travel would capture TealGirl’s heart, and baseball had the boys written all over it. I looked over and TealKid said “Yeah, no. I’m not interested.”
What? WHAT? A trip with swimming and a baseball game and you’re out? I think I asked him about ten times, but he was definitely not interested. He had just been at camp the latter part of the week before, so I figured he was still recovering from that. I did wonder then and still do if he was partially opposed because it was the city where he had his anaphylactic reaction to at this time last year which you can read about if you would like here.
I went to talk to TealHubs and he wasn’t really interested either, so online I went to find a hotel and game tickets. When I came down, I asked TealKid again, because I was sure he would change his mind. Nope, still wasn’t interested. From the time I asked them, to being in the car and pulling out of the driveway, was roughly 35 minutes. We had all been in PJ’s when this started, but we were packed and on the road for our Mom and Littles overnight.
Thirty-five minutes. For Mom, a 9-year-old, and a 6-year-old. Dressed, packed, reservations made, and out the door.
It was close to two hours to our first stop, and the kids had picked DVDs to watch. Since I was “alone,” I had time to think. I just kept thinking back—thirty-five minutes to get out the door. We’ve traveled a lot over the last year or so (and many more trips before this past year). I have a pretty good packing system that I have down pat. Cereal, Sunbutter packs, a box of safe milk, rice cakes, and other shelf-stable foods. Then there is the med box. Besides epinephrine, we also carry asthma inhalers, thyroid meds, and always, always, always, our safe brand of pain medication. (The last thing I want to deal with is the inability to help a kiddo who walked all day, whose legs hurt, and I can’t give him anything! Ask me how I know!) I usually pack at least one cube for everyone for the road, so we don’t have to stop for lunch or dinner when on the road and so on.
That does not happen in 35 minutes. Not even on my best day. Not counting packing the regular gear for a family of five.
I mourn. I get sad and angry. My amazing, funny, smart, kind, loving, always-smiling kiddo will never have a “Let’s just go!” vacation. Surprise trips won’t be very spontaneous and will never be “easy”. Yes, I may have had to swallow hard to stop from tearing up thinking about it all.
Will TealKid ever feel this way? He’s never been one to allow his life circumstances to stop him from doing what he wants. We figure out a way to make it happen for him. It takes extra planning and prep, but we do it, gladly I will add! Please do not for one moment think I am not 1000% willing to do all this for him! He doesn’t know any different. His diagnoses were made at 12 months (allergies) and 3 ½ years (Celiac disease)—it’s all he knows.
So, for those out there who think that parents of kids with allergies are looking for attention, or trying to be special, or seeking special treatment—I hope this gives you a little look at what just one small part of this allergy life we live looks like.
While he may never mourn what that pick-up-and-go is like, I mourn it for him. The guilt was strong on this trip. I missed him being there with us so much, but the freedom we had was something I haven’t experienced before when traveling with the little kids.
It was much easier, and for that, I feel such guilt.