There have been a few times in my life that people have looked at me like I was insane. Okay, more than a few. I remember when I was pregnant with my second child and people would ask me, “How old is your oldest?” My reply of “He’s one.” was often met with a slack jawed stare and the question, “Was this one an accident?” My very confident. “No, we were trying to have him.” Was usually replied to with. “Are you nuts?” (would that I were making this up.)
Well, this happened to me again recently. “We’re going on a family vacation!” And the reply is of course. “What are you doing?” “Disneyland for four days!” And yes, I got that look again. Or a verbal, are you nuts!?
The Yates babies are currently 6, 4 and 2. Throw special needs into that mix and anywhere we go is nothing short of an epic production. In Target yesterday we were most certainly the center of attention, and that was not our intent. At least, it wasn’t mine.
So yes, taking them to Disneyland for four days, for our first family vacation was…maybe a little ambitious. But I am SO GLAD WE WENT.
I was talking to Danger’s therapists just before school let out, and I was telling them we planned on taking a Disney trip. I expected them to ask me if I was crazy. Disney is noise, and sounds (loud sounds!) and there’s no routine, and it’s basically just plain crazy. What I didn’t expect was for them to say…good.
But they did. They told me it might even be good for him to experience something totally different. And, my friends, it was. All of the kids loved it. Probably no one had more fun than Drama, the six year old. But Danger is the one who needed it most.
There was something about him being in that new environment. I found out things about him. Things he could do that I never would have imagined he could. Things he liked that I wouldn’t have imagined he would like.
Danger loves roller coasters, it turns out. He’s less thrilled about animatronic pirates, even when one favors Johnny Depp. He also FINALLY went in the potty while we were at Disney and now I know he understands when I tell him to do it at home! (I’m sure he didn’t mean to betray this bit of information, but he did!) My husband took him into the bathroom and he said, “you can go back to the roller coaster after you go potty.” Uh, yeah, guess what he did effortlessly a few moments later?
And we could see the fireworks from our hotel room. And it was the coolest thing. My oldest and youngest were ooohing and ahing and Danger said “FIREWORKS!” Yep. And then he oohed and ahed with the rest of the kids. There’s a point to all this, other than just to say we had a blast and my kids are adorable.
If we listened to other people, we might not have gone. If we would have let all the what-ifs stop us, we wouldn’t have gone. But we took a chance. And I’m glad we did.
One of the things I noticed about Disney was how many families with handicapped family members were there. And they were having fun. It’s easy to think, at least it was for me, that your life will be limited by having a special needs member in your family. And yes, there are those who have children with more severe handicaps than I have, and yes, there are limitations that can’t be helped, but in this case, it didn’t prove true for me.
A few years ago I might have said, oh, we won’t get to do family vacations like a normal family. But we did. And it was all the sweeter because of our Danger. I’m glad we went. I’m glad we pushed him, and us outside of our comfort zone. It was totally worth it.
Do you have any family vacations stories? Good or bad?