Saturday, December 18, 2010

Reality is bittersweet

On Friday, something rare happened.

I left the house with all three boys by myself.

My good friend Diana hosted a Christmas playdate for seven moms and 16 kids, ages 4 and under.

I did it for my girlfriends and for myself.

The prep work alone took a long time b/c I had to pack everything but the kitchen sink. Thomas woke up w a runny nose, but no fever, so we went.

I knew it would be difficult, but I guess I thought that once we were there, it would be fine.

But upon entering, Benjamin melted down. It was so sad and sweet and frustrating all at once.

He stuck out his lower lip, cried silent tears, and wouldn't let go of me.

Thankfully, Andrew was fine to entertain himself, and Thomas, though slightly fussier than his normal go-with-the-flow self, did pretty well. The most heart-warming thing of the day was how my girlfriends pitched in to help Andrew decorate cookies or hold Thomas so I could attend to B.

He finally let go of me but he ran to the door.

"Mommy, I know we just got here, but can we go home now?"

So while my other children were doing typical playdate activities for their ages...

Benjamin was safely tucked away in the exersaucer.
On the outside, looking in.

I am so appreciative for the exersaucer and the paci. Without them, I would have had to have left after five minutes.

He was so upset, he wouldn't even eat or drink anything even though I took him away from all the action.

And when we put all the kids (minus babies) on the couch for a picture, it hurt my heart to realize that there was no way we could include Benjamin even though age-wise, he should be in this picture.

We were able to get him in on the full shot. (For some reason Josh didn't make it in this shot, and you can't see Jenna very well b/c Miles is in her lap!)

And we attempted to get a family shot but were mostly unsuccessful.

After about two hours, it was almost naptime, so we hit the road. Thankfully, both younger boys stayed awake on the ride home and then each took a three-hour nap.

Benjamin ate a good dinner b/c he was so hungry. Here is a picture of the two of us after my run (pardon the messy hair and sports bra). You can tell he is back in his comfort zone.

I do love him so, so much, and I'm so glad he's mine.

When I am home in my bubble, it is easier to forget how challenging it is to have a different child. But out, it is hard. It is hard physically and emotionally and mentally.

But I was so glad to have my girlfriends there to ease the work and the hurt.

To my girlfriends who were there: Diana, Lindsey, Marina, Lanie, Juliann, and Melissa, THANK YOU. Thank you for not treating me/us differently. Thank you for understanding us and for loving us. Thank you for your help and your friendship. 


BLOOM - Parenting Kids With Disabilities said...

This is a beautiful piece of writing. And I really get what you experienced.

Lindsey said...

We love you. All of you. I was so thankful you were there!

JILL said...

I'm glad B was able to calm down and you could stay for some fun. That is a lot of kids! And a beautiful tradition. I hope each year gets easier for you - and even moreso, for Benjamin!

Jenn said...

Aw hun, I'm glad you blogged this. I have so been there, so I truly understand. I've had my 9 yr old hide behind a chair for the better part of 2 hours at a party at a friends house.
As long as you found a way to keep Benjamin happy and content - that's all that matters. I find that sometimes *I'm* the one with the biggest problem of all with my kid. I'm the one that gets embarrassed, like it's some sort of failure on my part, rather than an identified disability that is responsible for their sometimes odd and puzzling behaviour.

Mary Jo said...

As your dear long distant friend, I'm so glad that you have such wonderful local girlfriends and family close by to add so much sweet to the bitter. Love you! MJ

The Wood Family said...

I love your post. I think you offer so much honesty and truth about motherhood. Those girlfriends of yours sound wonderful. I honestly don't see how any of us do it without our girlfriends. =)

They love us and our children unconditionally. It really is a special sisterhood where we know we have each others' backs.

TwolittleN's said...

Have to tell you I know exactly how you feel! Nicholas often has meltdowns when we leave the house and do playdates or other family outings. Sometimes my husband has to leave with him, and it breaks my heart. I'm even dreading Christmas at my Aunt's where my extended family will be..too many people for him! I can only hope that they will eventually outgrown wonderful that you have friends that support and understand too!!
PS...he is such a doll :)

heartchild said...

I love that you have such great friends to walk with. Love the photos, too! (Side note - I love your playlists, it's like you are in my head a lot of the time. :-) )

Anonymous said...

Somehow I missed this post earlier...anyhow, I've so been there. When we are at our house or running routine {aka familiar} errands our days go smoothly. But then there are those days...I wonder is it a down syndrome thing? Or is that just Charlie's personality? Maybe he just isn't a fan of crowds...and heck his mama loves a good routine. Thank goodness for wonderful friends! Anyhow I hear you, see you and think of you often.