We got to the camp check-in point, and found K. Ryan was happy to see them and scoot off, doing his thing. Eric and I and the littles went and looked at the bears, who were smart to still be in their "rooms" in the habitat sleeping. So we made a trip to the bookstore, relatively nearby. Eric had a plan to get the boys a new book we saw in a previous trip, and Richie quickly attached to a BU, green and gold, squishy football. After talking him into a cheaper *I mean* smaller basketball, and after some fun browsing we made our way around campus for a while. Good thing I brought a couple of puzzles, because three hours waiting on a college campus in the heat can get a little old with two squirmy little ones. We accidentally ran into Ryan once, but we managed to worm away with no upset on his part. Richie, however, was devastated, like we'd separated them forever. Bit of puzzle working and some apple juice and he was himself again.
Went to pick up Ryan, and he'd found the elevator. Ugh.
Keep in mind that these are kids (masters' level students) who have studied autism, and they're getting practice in dealing with this. Usually I'd be all "GAAAAH you let him play with WHAT?!" But honestly, I believe they were doing what they said, which was trying to figure out a way to transition him smoothly. This is cool... well, I think it is... that Ryan is involved in someone's learning process.
The rest of the afternoon following this, however, not so much.
We promised Ryan that he would have "the restaurant" for lunch on Tuesday and Thursday. We have fabulous band boosters here, and they gave us a gift card to "the restaurant" that will allow us, if we're careful, to take Ryan to his favorite restaurant twice this week. Honestly, if you work at it and don't mind sharing, you can eat well at "the restaurant" (aka On the Border) for cheaper than that place with the creepy clown. They are also awesome (the one in Waco, anyway) about seating us somewhere comfortable for Ryan. But we almost didn't make it.
On the way to the restaurant, Ryan started to scream "cheesy chippies!" in meltdown-form, complete with the chimplike beat-your-head-with-flailing-arms thing. After pulling over in a random store parking lot and talking about how we have to give mommy a chance to drive there, we managed to make it to his beloved "the restaurant". He did great during lunch, chowed like a big dog on his cheesy chippies, and we all had a great time. In the two errands after that, however...
First was Mardel. Love that place. I needed to pick up a timer, laminate Ryan's ipad puzzle (for losing/gaining minutes on ipad... stay tuned), and just generally wanted to look for a few things. All for Ryan. We'd use them for Richie and Mae eventually too... but for now, it's all about getting more tools in Ryan's belt. At the front of the store, they have this cool display of Veggietales stuff, complete with the videos playing all the time, and chairs to watch from. They also have a train table.
How DARE they.
I know, most kids, blah blah blah. But for us, it's awful. We decided to try to bolt to the back, get done, and leave. Man, do I ever wish the Force was real. "This is not the train table you saw. Keep moving to the back of the store." So Ryan thrashed. And screamed. And even brought out the yelp. I can't describe it, can't describe the looks and how it feels to have people avoid you, not just your kid... like maybe your horrible parenting skills will jump onto them if they get too close. I'm sure it makes them uncomfortable to see him act that way, and I am sorry. I really am. But not more sorry than I am that Ryan is so upset.
Fast-forward (for you young kids, that was what you did with cassettes... you had to wind the tape forward, and it was fast... nevermind) to Target. This wasn't simply selfish, but it was a little indulgent. We needed more cloth diaper inserts, more wipes, and mommy could really use a new swimsuit. The one I bought for our honeymoon is getting kinda see-thru... and no matter how much weight I lose, that's still yucky! Thinking we could help our little guy, give him something to make the trip more fun, we grabbed a bag of popcorn on the way in. After refusing multiple times to share with his brother, Ryan lost the popcorn. When he calmed down, he could have it back. But for now, no popcorn.
Can't tell you how many times I said that. No popcorn while you're screaming and beating your head. No popcorn while you're squealing like an angry pig. Calm down. You're ok. I tried everything I could think of, stayed calm, and tried to remember what I was looking for. By the time I was halfway through our list, Ryan had started to hit his brother. I heard Richie cry and asked him what happened... and hearing him say "Yyan hit Wichie onna ahm" I almost cried. I hugged Richie and asked if he wanted to move, but he wanted to stay with brother, who was still screaming. Then a few seconds later,
"What is it, sweetie?"
"Wichie wants Yyan ta havva poptorn."
Ever cried in Target?
So I got the popcorn, and explaining as best I could to Ryan that his brother, whom he had just hit, screamed at, and hurt, wanted him to have it. Grace and mercy from a three year old.
I may not get to shop for clothes, I may wear the same clothes I have for years. I may only go on a date with my husband by ourselves when the grandparents can watch the kids, we may never take a trip as a couple, our house may always have little signs with velcro strips plastered to the walls. We may be sick of feeling like we're being tolerated, sick of ignorance, judgement, and not being able to fix it. We may be on the edge all the time, feeling like we constantly must be on our toes, frustrated by schedules, limited by timers, money, and humanness...
but oh my WORD how fabulous it is to see our barely three-year-old teach his brother- no, his mother and father- about grace and mercy.
I can guarantee you that I wouldn't trade my life for anyone else's. Not Eric, not Ryan, not Richie, not Maelynn. After eight years of being Mrs. Senzig, I wouldn't have made that decision any other way. Eight years plus nine or so months of laughter, challenges, tears, rejoicing, and heartache as we take what life throws our way... after eight years I can tell you that we're better than we were at being married on June 7, 2003, but we have a lot to learn. Amazing, that committment... that covenant with God and each other to love each other through it all. To cling to the Lord and one another while forgiving, extending mercy and grace, and learning to see God's hand in it all. We've had some amazing times, Eric Senzig. I stand in awe at the relationship God gave us within a week and a half of our first date. I can honestly say I am more in love with you now than I was in 2003 (which I did not think possible), and I will be more in love with you tomorrow.
Happy 8th Anniversary, honey. I love you... and I promise to work every day to better 1 Corinthians 13 love you.
If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13, ESV