Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Family Trip

First off, I recently got a new camera after ours died in the fall, which explains why I haven't posted much lately. Plus, you know, life.

Moving on.

I had a rough fall emotionally. I was dealing with some bad memories and flashbacks from the NICU, specifically the day Ryan coded and the days following when we almost lost him many times it seemed. Scenes from those days were playing like a video in my mind whenever it was quiet. I wasn't sleeping well and I wasn't being very nice. I've struggled with some of this in the past. It comes and goes. Probably always will, dammit.

Our minds are fascinating, but they can sure screw with us, you know? That was/is/will be hard to deal with. I was surprised to find out how fragile I still am with the NICU experience and how fresh the wounds are nearly 3 years later. I realize Ryan has beaten the odds and is a living, breathing miracle, and we should be doing nothing but celebrating. Unfortunately, his current status and past successes haven't helped me shake the memories associated with those days and I really see what "traumatic stress" means.

John was great and prayed for me lots, especially while I was up at night with these flashbacks. There are some other factors that I was able to step away from that I think helped too. John also suggested we go on a vacation. I thought that having something to look forward to was going to be a good thing. He also suggested writing a book. I picked the vacation option.

It worked! (lots of other things happened too, but I don't want to get into that right now...or probably ever in this forum) Distraction is a good thing! Lots of planning to be done.

As soon as we narrowed down where we were going (think Orlando, big theme parks, giant mouse) and I got to planning, it was a great big distraction that was really needed.

I told my friend, Amy, that I was a bit nervous about the trip...the kids mostly. I fretted about handling complaining, whining, tantrums due to over-stimulation, schedule changes, heat, etc. I think I wasn't worried about them as much as I was worried about myself and my own reactions during a time where we were supposed to be "relaxed" and on "vacation." Like, how does one accomplish this relaxation idea when one is trying to manage two just-about three year olds and one six year old along with about a million other people doing the same? Time-outs with Tink? Do I react differently than when we are at home? I felt like somehow I needed to because it was vacation. How does mom go on vacation? I am a very talented pessimist is the bottom line. The kids were fine.

Now that I'm home, I still don't know how it's done. Pray for a miracle, maybe? I did.

Despite my worries about the trip, I was really looking forward to it. John told me I was more excited than the kids (I was) and wondered what it was about D-world that I was so excited about. Nothing about that, actually. I was excited for what I was leaving behind. I saw the trip as an opportunity to scoop up our family and get away from all the life stuff that gets in the way of us being us. We could leave work, phones, computers, school, cooking/shopping, commuting, etc all behind and just be together. I didn't care what we did, it was what we weren't doing that I was looking forward to. I had ZERO expectations because D-world was not for me, it was just the place we'd be, being together. The time and the memories were for me, but they were for us all. We agreed to stay unplugged and not order wi-fi at the room and I'm glad we did that.

Looking back on the trip, we had a blast and created some great memories. The kids were awesome. AWESOME! So awesome in fact, that if you'd like to take them on vacation with you, we should talk! Seriously, though, they were great. We had a fabulous trip and it couldn't have gone better. (except we could have gone without John's illness the last 2 days of the trip, but that will be the last time I will mention it)

So, no real transition here, but let's just jump right into the vacation. We worried about seating on the plane b/c of the stupid airline policy of not allowing seat selection until 24 hrs before takeoff. I logged in 22.5 hours before the flight as I was at a doctor's appt with Ryan 24 hours before the flight. There were no seats left next to each other. Worry ensued until we got to the airport to try to deal with it. Once we got to the airport, the check-in attendant switched others' seats around who weren't check in yet. Suckas! I figured they'd probably do that versus the option of just letting the two year old fend for themselves on the plane. Probably not good for the unfortunate folks with the seats next to them. I have had some not-very-nice things to say about this stupid policy. Unnecessary stress for parents is the bottom line. Can these idiots not figure out a better system??? Call me, AirTran, I have a few ideas.

Flight was fine. I took the girls in one row and the boys played the iThing in another row. We got in to Orlando and took a magical bus to our little campground cabin which was the perfect accommodation for us. We hung out there and then got on the Epcot bus and ate dinner at a Moroccan Restaurant there. Did the fast and crazy tour of this park, finished the loop within 2.5 hours, including stopping for dinner for an hour. The food was delish. And, luckily, Caitlin's favorite princess just casually strolled by--first character sighting was her favorite! yay!

The belly dancer entertainment was cool. She got the kids involved. Ryan loved the music and the action and was antsy to join in and Caitlin was really working it!

We only spent from 5-8ish pm at the parks the first day, but it was fun. Back to rest up for day two. If you made it this far, thanks! you are probably the only one!