Things have pretty much gone according to plan today. A few meltdown moments here and there, but mostly they were about having stopped to wait for something. We narrowly avoided one while we waited for Eric to get my family badge. He was catching up with an old friend, and when I felt Ryan's patience slipping away, I kinda hollered over to Eric "the wheels are flyin' off..." and Ryan, Maelynn and I kept moving a bit. Well played, if I do say so myself!
This morning we took Ryan to school as usual, and planned for Eric to be home about 9:45 to take the dogs to the kennel. This went off without a hitch (for once) and we were on our way to get the little man right when I'd normally have picked him up for therapy on that day. We trucked right through Austin, even. If you've done any traveling in our great state, you know that Austin rush hour is somewhat hard to avoid. The trip through the state capitol's traffic has meant the demise of many a school van, and many an air conditioning system has given up during the summer. You get it. Lots and lots of cars. There is one place close to UT where the highway splits. I like to ask the kids if they want to go up or down. Usually I remember which lane takes you which way. Well, this time I forgot. But Ryan was a champ! He asked for up, but what he got was down. Not a sound from the back seat.
Then somewhere south of Austin, a cop turned on his lights. The car in front of me was a touch jumpy, pulling over to the left side of the three lanes of traffic (which were thankfully pretty empty). Not knowing what else to do, and with the cop, says my husband, giving the guy the universal palms-up of "what in the wide world of sports are you doing?!" I slowed down a great deal. Somehow Ryan took this as the universal sign of "your parents aren't really taking you to the hotel... time to cry, and freak out in general." Poor guy. I literally almost had to pull over to calm him before he woke his sister and brother. After that, every little bit he'd holler "go to the hotel!" until we stopped for potty. Then we pulled out the VSmile and headphones... and made it past the exit for Morgan's Wonderland without a peep. If you saw my Facebook post this morning, you know I was nervous about that... his first mention of "The Carousel" was at breakfast at 7:37 this morning.
Once we pulled in, the kids did great waiting for the hotel to check us into the system. We waited in the van while Eric went in and took care of getting keys. While I waited, I found a picture in his folder from school that had his name... his first (well, it's really his middle name... Eric Ryan, he is...) and last name! I don't think I've ever seen him write both. It's usually his first name. We were so stinkin' proud!
Then he was so cute as we got the stuff unloaded onto the luggage cart. He kept repeating "Go out to exercise" from a book we like to read. That was his way of saying "I have wheels on my booty, mom. I need to get out of the van, 'cause man am I EVER happy to be here!" He was thrilled to see the elevator, but of course he had to be held, this time by his Daddy. When the door opened to the room, I noted quickly that we had an adjoining room, which isn't best with him but he hasn't touched it. Cool. Then my eyes fell upon it just after Ryan's. The window, situated perfectly to overlook the pool.
Can't ask for a new room because it overlooks the pool. Not in this situation, not in this town, not at this convention. Not kidding! There are so many people here right now that if you want anywhere close to downtown you have to book in August or so. So I've had a few minor meltdowns over wanting to swim, and I expect many more. This is one of those things I have to answer over and over, not allowing my emotions to enter the reply. I get so sick of answering the same question. I mean five times in a row, within two minutes. Rapid fire. And the blue elevator. Tomorrow, honey. Tomorrow.
But I know that, even though he asks a billion times, the euphoria will be over almost immediately and he will want something new. Or he'll want to do it again and again, spiraling into a shaking, crying, stimming, can't-stop-doing-this mess. Seriously, he can't. I've said it before and I'll say it over and over. It's like living with an alcoholic. You have to watch these things and keep them under control. Allowing him to completely go nuts on the elevator is like handing an alcoholic a bottle and telling him to have fun. He can't stop. He doesn't yet possess the ability to self-monitor these things.
Once our stuff made it to our room, we quickly saddled back up and walked with Daddy to get registered for the convention. Well, he was preregistered, but you have to be present as family over twelve to get a family badge. Gotta say, it's still strange to have a family badge.
So this evening we got back to the room, and in between fits of begging to swim, I ordered pizza. As the kids ate and lost themselves in Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, I daydreamed about the first time we came to TMEA as a married couple. Valentine's Day is usually during the convention. San Antonio is an awesome city, especially in its downtown with the Riverwalk. But you know what I wanted? We had a fabulous hotel room, and all I wanted was to go buy each other new jammies, get a pizza, and watch Looney Tunes in the room. It was snowing. We walked to get our pizza, and on the elevator we stood with couples dressed beautifully, obviously headed out for the evening. And there we were in our jeans, smelling up the elevator of pizza. One of the guys actually said that we had the right idea (for which I think he got a sharp elbow). We had so much fun being us that evening. Now, as I sit here in the hotel desk chair in my jeans and t-shirt while so many friends (including Eric) are working at the convention, looking back on that night, I see that it was fitting. We are who we are, we do what we do, and we love who we are and what we do. And you know what I was looking forward to that night? I was looking forward to this.
Lord, let me now forget that I once did not have this opportunity, and soon I will have it no longer, for babies grow in to children and children to adults. Help me to savor them, Father. Thank you for them, for Eric, and for the wonderful times you gave before I had them.
Grace and peace to you tonight, friends.