Thursday, April 24, 2008

Pleasure Trip or Guilt Trip? Leaving a child with special needs behind

It seemed like such a great idea, back in January when I solidified my plans. I hadn't been back home to New York in six years. My step-mother is having a 75th birthday celebration, and I decided that while I was going to Long Island for that I could also visit relatives in Northern Virginia, as well as an old college friend in New York City.

That was before now, when I am faced with the challenge of packing for a semi-formal event, choosing clothes for the heat and probable humidity in Virginia, and dealing with a forecast of rain in New York City. Selecting shoes I can walk in, and clothes that don't scream "I'm from the Northwest" is more difficult than I anticipated. Not to mention remembering all my toiletries and medicine. When did I become so high needs? Eye gel and drops, thyroid medicine, nasal sprays, and on and on. Oy!

And leaving a family with a child with special needs behind requires a whole other layer of planning. I have been surprised by the number of people who, when I tell them about my trip, ask, "Who is going to take care of Sayer?" I look at them sideways and say, "Well, my husband, Dan" and then I quickly add, "We also have some caregivers lined up, Jacob can help, and Dan has an understanding boss." Ah, yes, it is our good friend, guilt, peeking its head up above the sloggy northwest spring soil.

I was a tad of a wreck yesterday, when I decided that I would tell Sayer the news. Because Sayer has pretty intense anticipatory anxiety, I decided to wait until two days before I left before I told him. I used my "Make-A-Schedule" software to create a ten day schedule, complete with caregiver visits, swim lessons and - TA, DA - the visit to the doctor to get his arm cast off.

I strategically presented the schedule to him while he was eating one of his favorite meals, Chinese food from Safeway [I know, I'm a New Yorker, it's sacrilegious but there are NO Chinese take out joints around these parts.]. Anyway, Sayer was rather blase about the whole thing. He asked if Jacob was going (no) and if I was coming back (yes) and that was about it. So now it's "Mom is going on a trip and will be back in ten nights."

I think I was the one suffering from anticipatory anxiety just dreading telling him, but he's cool. I think, actually, Sayer knew something was up. There were clues like folded clothes on various surfaces in my bed room and me being a bit snippier than usual. He's likely relieved to know what is going on. I probably should have told him sooner. OK, guilt, touche for you. Even when it is OK that I go you still wrangle your way in.

Wish me bon voyage. The good news is once I'm gone I don't fret much about what I'm leaving behind. I will be in and out of internet availability but will do my best to do a few posts next week. But if that doesn't happen I will NOT feel guilty!

1 comment:

ByJane said...

Bon voyage, etc. etc. Have fun and so forth. Don't worry; be happy--oops, where did that come from?