Tuesday, February 8, 2011

A Step for My Daugther and I

I feel like it's been forever since I last had a chance to blog. Some weeks are just like that though. I barely get time to breath so sitting alone long enough to make a post is near impossible. Last week was filled with boils on my toddler, a cold from my oldest that kept her out of school on Friday and then she was kind enough to pass it on to me. Finally everyone seems to be in good health physically. Emotionally is another issue.

Yesterday one of my best friends called and said her in-laws were taking her daughter to Universal Studios and they said she could bring a friend. She asked if B could go. Now something simple like an invitation to a theme park may not seem like a big deal to most parents but to me it's huge because  is special needs.

For starters B  has a lot of kids she calls "friends" but honestly I would say there are only a select few who would fit the description of what a friend should be. So the fact that she was invited to do something with a real friend is great. But the thing she's been invited to do is with people I have only spoken to a few times and it's in a place far away!

I trust my friend and I trust her judgment but even with her knowing B's condition and her and I both explaining it to the in-laws will they get it? Will they be able handle her? B doesn't ride rides so will they be patient and wait with her while their granddaughter waits in lines and rides on all sorts of tummy tossing coasters? What is B has an asthma attack? What if she has a panic attack? What if I have an anxiety attack from worrying? Will a kiddie ride fly off the tracks with my daughter securely fastened in? Will she wonder away into the clutches of a human trafficker or pedophile? Will she get lost? Will she get sick? What if the car flies off the road? What if, what if, what if?!?!?!?! I can't even tell you all of the scenarios that I played out in my head with every imaginable what if.

So I asked my husband for his opinion. After some discussion we decide that B despite being almost 12 is just not able to go. There are too many factors involved in her disabilities not to mention my own anxieties. But as I tried to go to sleep that night I got upset.

B doesn't get to do a lot of things because of my fears. Mind you most of my fears are valid many are far fetched and a result of PTSD and others are because I don't feel like anyone but me can understand and care for her correctly. Sleep overs or any activity where I will not be present or I don't know the parents personally are out of the question. So she doesn't do many things that other kids her age take for granted. And here we are... Presented with a chance for her to do something very "normal". Something an average kid could do. I know I have to let her take some steps towards growing up and a little independence at some point but is this the time?

So after worrying myself to sleep last night I asked my mom what she though this morning. She said no because she understands B  is special and having people who aren't used to her take her somewhere could be hard. Then I asked my best friend. She said yes B  should go. She thinks if I can trust my friends judgment this is a great time to let B take a first step towards doing things with friends.

What you have to realize though is that in spite of people seeing it my way and from other perspectives it's still complicated. I want B to do normal things. I don't want her disabilities to hold her back and I am turning this day trip into a metaphor for her entire life. So I went to yoga and the time I use to clear my head was filled with thoughts of how I can't figure out what to do for my child. What is less damaging? Letting her have a little bit of controlled freedom even though there could be a few risks (some of which are major) or keeping her at home and safe with me and not letting her experience things as simple as a day out with a friend.

And still I didn't know what to do. But here's the weird thing... I decided to call my friend and tell her B can't go but she didn't answer so I just left a message saying call me back. Hours later when she did call back while James was just walking in the door I kind of blurted out to her "I am terrified of letting B go with your in-laws so you have to be sure they will take extra care to make sure she doesn't wonder off or anything because I've never let her do anything like this before" and just like that I knew I made the right decision without even meaning to. Even though i let this literally upset me into tears because I didn't know what to do all day, here I was suddenly confirming she could go.

Yes, I am still terrified. Yes, I know there are about a million terrible things that can happen. But I also know that she will have the time of her life and every first step regardless of what it is for and what it is you are moving towards can be scary but you have to take it or you will never get there. This trip is a big step. It's step that both B and I will be taking together but will be leading us towards separate things. For her it's a little bit of freedom and a feeling of normalcy and for me it's learning to let go even if it is only for one day (but don't you think for one second that I won't be calling to check in about a hundred times!).


  1. Oh, bless your heart! Sending hugs your way and anxiously anticipating how Brianna's outing goes. She (and you) will be in my prayers! What a huge step for both of you.

  2. <3 Christina pretty much said it.

    Love ya Steff!

  3. So glad you decided to let her go. Its a GINORMOUS step and I wish you all the best to get through that day. I hope Brianna has a good day too :)

  4. So as a quick follow up I have to let ya'll know that Brianna didn't end up going. The offer to take her was taken back and yes she was disappointed but at least now I know I can say yes so hopefully next time something like this rolls around I won't be such a blubbering mess about it!