Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Not Going Home for the Holidays

After our horrendous plane trips last summer, we made the difficult decision to stay here in Arizona for Christmas this year, rather than flying back to Georgia to spend it with our families. While we are sad not to spend the holidays with all of our extended friends and family, it was really the only choice for us at this point. Regardless of the difficulties of getting Christmas gifts across the country twice, the high cost of airfare and the logistics involved, we would have done it if Aaron could travel a little easier. As it is, he can't.

His sensory processing problems make traveling a complete nightmare for all involved (including the 100+ other passengers on the plane), but mostly for him. When your body doesn't know how to process new sights, sounds and motions, being strapped into a car seat where you can't move for four hours on a plane full of strange people, sounds, sights, smells and motions is pretty horrible. I dislike flying for many of those reasons and I don't have any sensory problems. I can only imagine how terrible it is for him.

Luckily we have a very understanding family. Matt's parents were able to come visit over Thanksgiving and my parents will be here on Christmas. We will miss seeing our siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends but we are lucky that our parents have the ability to come spend the holidays with us. I know many families who aren't as lucky. Either because their families can't travel or they don't "get" why the child with special needs can't travel.

So, as I'm counting my blessings this year (and there are many, even though it has been a difficult year), at the top of my list will be the blessing of a loving, understanding family who has always been there to support us no matter how bumpy the road has been or how far away we are. It is not lost on me how much you mean to all of us.

Right after that will be the blessing of caring, supportive friends who are always there for me when I need to talk or vent. Even if you don't completely understand what I'm going through, it means the world to me that you will take the time to listen to me and try to sympathize.

I think I will save the rest of my blessings for another post, but this deserved a post of its own. And if you are reading this, you are probably one of those people, so thank you, we love you all!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Let's Hear it For Respite Care!

We finally started respite care last week. I hired two different respite care workers from the same agency (actually the same clinic where Aaron goes for OT, speech and feeding therapy). One of the girls came on Monday morning. It couldn't have worked out better, I was so pleased with her. She sat down and started playing with Aaron right away. I gave her some basic instructions about where things were, what I was going to be doing and she seemed quite comfortable. I decided to stay home since she hadn't ever watched him before and I want us all to be totally comfortable before I actually leave him home "alone". But I was able to stay in my room and write and get a few other things around the house accomplished. I heard Natasha (the respite provider) playing with Aaron, talking about colors and shapes, all sorts of things. He didn't fuss or look for me the whole time and he seemed very happy all morning. I am just so happy that it worked out so well. Hopefully the trend will continue!

The other girl I hired came for the first time yesterday and I was equally pleased with her. The whole morning went smoothly and both she and Aaron seemed comfortable. I was able to get a lot of work done and definitely felt more relaxed than I do on a normal day.

Both of them have already needed to cancel once on days they were supposed to come, but they both had significant and legitimate reasons. Hopefully it was just a fluke that they both happened within a week of each other and things will go more smoothly from here on out. Time will tell I suppose.

I am so glad it has worked out so well thus far. I don't want to get too excited, because I know as soon as I get comfortable something is going to come up and throw our routine out of whack again, but having this time is such a blessing to me. I can already tell that I am happier and so is Aaron when we aren't together 24/7/365. Having just a few hours on a regular basis makes such a difference. I can concentrate on other things I need to do without him pulling on my arm every 30 seconds and he gets undivided attention from the respite providers. I feel like I am able to devote more attention to him when we are together too because I'm not constantly trying to do everything else that needs to be done. Everyone told me I would say this, so I'll go ahead and say it : I should have done this sooner!

I don't know if I really believe that though. I think I did it now because I felt like we were both at a point where it was going to be good for us. And I don't think I could have said that six months ago. But there is no point looking back and thinking about decision that we could have made, all we can do is plan for the future and go with the decisions we did make.