Any parent can tell you that taking a child on an excursion is a crapshoot. There are a lot of factors that go into a successful trip - a full tummy, plenty of distractions and a well-rested child. For a special needs parent, there are even more things that need to be taken into consideration. For instance, Cristian's senses can become overloaded faster than a Kardashian divorce. He is also very set in his routine and the slightest diversion can become disasterous.
It's really easy to be lulled into a false sense of security. Cristian's birthday party went off without a hitch. We went to a family reading night at his daycare and had no issues. Therefore, we didn't think twice about taking him to a friend's house for a pick-up baseball game with some of our favorite church people. It's also really easy to forget that the proverbial rug can be pulled leaving us on our butts in tears.
The night started off wonderfully. A little catnap seemed to refresh him enough to play nice with our friends. There was a little horseplay but nothing too much. He ate well and listened when we told him that we'd come back for dessert. Little did we know that we'd be missing dessert when we all headed off for the field. The four boys held hands in a precious moment that needed to be recreated about five times so everyone could get their pictures in. We picked teams and headed into our spots. That's when it started to go south...
Cristian's knowledge of baseball starts and ends with knowing to hit the ball. While playing catch in the backyard, he knows the ball can always come back to him. When we started to play at the field and he realized the ball didn't come back to him, it started an epic meltdown that did not end. There was screaming and throwing and hitting and pinching - oh my.
My heart broke to see my little man so upset and I had no real idea why or how to help him. My heart broke for his friends who were upset because they were hurt - I wanted them to know that he really does love them. My heart broke because we rolled the dice one too many times and finally missed the mark. My heart broke because instead of enjoying snocones and an Oreo-filled donut, we ended up leaving with him kicking and screaming and me crying and apologizing.
After Cristian's diagnosis, we struggled with issues with friends as well as family. For many, it was easiest to push us to the wayside instead of dealing with us. Since then, I automatically assume the worst. I await people to end friendships and was sure as we left Friday night that we'd be back to square one. I thought we'd need to find a new church, new friends, worst case scenario. Blake had to head back to pick up something we'd forgotten, and the support that he experienced and relayed back to me was mindboggling.
Between the support from my parents and brother that night and the reassurance from the other families there, I felt better. They even discussed doing it again! It was a learning experience for us all - for Cristian, for Blake and I, for the families we spent time with. I can only hope that things like this get easier. It was past his bedtime. It was against his routine. The odds were stacked against us, but we have the control to change the outcome for the next game.
That night, it felt like the world was ending.
Until the next mani, stay puzzled and polished!