Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Fourth of July

I wanted to title this Happy fricking fourth, but I didn't want you to take it the wrong way. I love this country, even though some days it appears it is falling apart before our eyes. I am proud of my cousin Troy who just a few short years ago, gave his life for our freedom. I feel for his parents and siblings every time I see an American flag, or any symbol of our right to live the way that we live. This holiday is bittersweet for so many. I know in my heart this country was built on principles many of us still have, but that others take for granted. Just look around at all the relaxing that is going on today. I thank God every day that I have the ability to take care of my son. That my husband has a job that pays well and my children have insurance. But freedom certainly isn't free.
I love that today I have nothing to do, and the lakes area is full of BBQs, fireworks, and family get togethers. I am also glad I am not there. I think some parents that do not have a child with special needs may not get the concept of freedom as I see it. Freedom to do things they want with their children, freedom of the joyful holidays and trips without them for the weekend. Freedom to pack up some sandwiches and go to the fireworks display. My fireworks display may or may not happen tonight, but we must watch from the car. My trips to the store are ONLY to a select few. And my trips to the family for holidays? Let me tell you about yesterday.....
My father just put in a new pool in his yard. Nine grandsons, most of them 8 and younger, and he puts in a POOL. When he told me about it, my heart just sank. One more place we can't go. Now, my family is quite close and we plan family get togethers on most holidays. I tried to stay home, and I got to hear everyone say "It will be fine. We will help! He will be good...." My grandparents were finally employed to sway my insisting that we would be better off at home. So, against all better judgement, I went. I put him in his swimming trunks before we left since I know better. I no sooner unbuckle his car seat and his shoes were off, and his feet were dangling in the water. I wrestled him into a life jacket, and he jumped in giggling and making that happy face when his eyes are just sparkling and the pure joy shines through. Ah, water. The love of his life, and the bane of my existence. I'm terrified of it, hate it. Not afraid for me, as I am a good swimmer, but afraid for my son because he cannot stay away. He floats back and forth, kicking and paddling and grinning, as I sit on the deck listening to every say "Look how happy he is!". (inward groan, and eye roll) He swims for an hour and a half and I make him break for lunch. A handful of chips and some milk and he is breaking for the patio. I bring my tray down to the deck, and eat while he swims. I reapply the sunscreen 4 times, but he still has tomato red shoulders. We break again for ice cream. He watches my sister and I in the kitchen. I see him thinking as his neck cranes to look toward the basement, so I change him into underwear and a T-shirt, and put on his favorite movie in my parents' bedroom. After five minutes, I hear the door creak. I pretend not to notice, and he sneaks down the steps to the basement. From around the corner I watch him turn around three times to see if anyone is coming. He silently slides open the patio door just enough to squeeze his skinny frame through the space, and closes it softly behind him. Sitting on the deck, feet dangling again, he turns one last time to check for adults, and slides into the pool, clothes and all. His smile turns to a frown when he hears my voice yelling "Chandler! NO! YOU DON'T GET IN THE POOL WITHOUT MOM..BLAH BLAH..." I take him out, and its his voice for the next five minutes, "wah-er, wah-er, pool, mo, mo, please"...This is a futile fight that I WILL NOT win. I let him swim while I pack up our things and my family watches him swim in delight.
Today: I am feeling un-festive. I bought midol, and chocolate at the store if that clarifies the situation at all, and Chandler has stolen my fuzzy blanket I love on these days. Chandlers little shoulders are the hue of a lobster, and he cringes when he sees me coming every hour with the soothing gel. He is furious we cannot go outside. The situation seems simple to most, Put a T-shirt on him right? It will come off and the sprinkler on. He isn't wearing a shirt now, and he keeps putting his shoes on hoping I will give in, but the sun is glaring down. We are close to meltdown.....WE.....

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