Wednesday, July 25, 2012

TBA Day 4: Over the Rainbow

"Someplace where there isn't any trouble.  Do you suppose there is such a place, Toto?  There must be.  It's not a place you can get to by a boat or a train.  It's far, far away.  Beyond the moon -- beyond the rain --" ~Dorothy, "The Wizard of Oz"

On day four, we were feeling a bit brave.  Maybe a bit over confident.  Ryan had, in the past, enjoyed dinners on the river walk, and we thought this was the one thing other than swimming and elevators that the kid could enjoy.  So every night, Eric gave up whatever there was to do and came back to take us to dinner.  This year, it was harder for our little guy to overcome the crowd noise and, well, the differentness.  We didn't try the convention floor, which was hard for me to give up.  But Sunday night, Ryan seemed to be doing so well at the restaurant that we decided we'd try to get a picture of the kids in front of the Alamo.

We're thinking that, given our family's band heritage and the location of both conventions, we'd use pictures in front of the Alamo as a growth chart of sorts.  It's simple.  No biggie, no tickets to buy.  Just walk to the front, take a shot or ten, and walk away.  

Dressed in their matching shirts, we walked away from the Hyatt and our last blue elevator ride of the trip, toward the Alamo.  We heard music, which is not unusual.  When it became apparent that we'd stumbled upon a concert by the Army Reserve Band from Mustang, OK.  

Enter tears in Mama's eyes...

A sing-along even!  

A concert.  A real, live band concert. I never get to hear anyone but our own G-Force, which is great, but getting to hear a concert at TBA means worlds.  Right in front of the Alamo, we plopped down and attempted to listen to the tail-end of the program.  

Please, Mama... don't sing!

Enter anxiety.  Ryan hasn't had to sit through anything like this outside, and certainly not when he should be getting back to the hotel to swim.  He did a lot of hitting his chest and fussing, but since it was an outside concert and just a few minutes longer, we hung out.  Okay, we hung ON.

He managed to pull it together long enough to not bolt when we met the conductor.  After all, they were from Oklahoma, and well, so am I.  Frankly, I was so thankful to hear them that I was determined to shake this man's hand.

Then it was picture time.


Here's the best shot...

Don't let Ryan's smile fool you.  He was fussing hard, and sometimes the camera makes it look like he's grinning.  Richie was beginning to stop fussing.  Maelynn was standing as still as Maelynn stands.  Ryan wasn't hitting himself or screaming for the millisecond it took to take this shot, thankfully.  Wish you could see Richie's face, but we were taking what we could get without driving the rest of the world any crazier than we had to.

This was honestly one of the times I just wanted to curl in a ball and cry.

It's not the picture.  It's not that they weren't particularly interested in sitting still and listening.  I know that typical kids often roll their eyes at what Mom thinks is uber cool.

It's the fact that he was so genuinely upset by the interruption in routine that we couldn't even stop and listen to an outdoor concert for fifteen minutes.

It's the fact that he lives for his next fun fix... HAS to know when it's coming... and cannot understand that he just can't have whatever it is all the time.

It's the fact that when we do take him to do something, before it's over, he wants to know when the next one is coming.  As we walk away from one thing, while the other kids are talking about what they saw or are on to the next thing, Ryan is still asking when we're coming back.  As soon as we mention home, he starts to demand "no home!"

It's the desire to do something fun as a family without worry about when he's going to completely fall apart into a screaming, hitting mess.  It's the desperation to see him enjoy something, knowing that he won't beat his chest and scream all the way home and ask for it a thousand times a day.

We have meltdowns about the hotel.  We do not give in and take the kid to a hotel when he wants to go.  I can honestly say we've never done that.  We do not give him what he wants for fussing.  Period.  But once he likes something, once and activity or place has made it into his repertoire, he has to know when he'll do it again.

Everything is routine.  It's freeing to a point, in that it does give him a way to function.  But everything is a chain of events.  If we do x, he will expect y.  If he doesn't get y, he won't understand.  Not getting y is normally like pulling the wrong piece in a game of Jenga.  But the pieces do not simply fall, tumbling onto one another in a friendly pile.  They explode into fiery chards, piercing the hearts of the ones involved.  With each of his tears, each time his fist pounds hard his small chest, each time his face screws into that tight, fight or flight, angry mask, my own chest tightens.  My own heart hurts with the pangs of helplessness.

We structure our lives to keep our kids safe and happy, yet still challenge them.  We stand up, over and over, under the stress of having a child who is not yet capable of handling something as simple as stopping for fifteen minutes to listen to a concert, then standing for a minute while Dad takes his picture.  We fight to continue the things that are important that are out of his routine.

But sometimes we're tired.

Sometimes the desire of a place where we're guaranteed that the kids will have a great time and leave grateful, not melting down, not getting so attached that he's addicted to one thing becomes so great that it's hard to see beyond that desire.

That's when we have to lay down and admit it's too hard, just for a few minutes.

That's when Eric and I have to remind each other the things we know in our heads to be true.

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised us is faithful."  Hebrews 10:22-24

"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."  Galatians 6:8-10

There is a plan for Ryan's life.  There is a plan for Richie's and Maelynn's lives, too.  The times we're dreading the next step, and just aren't sure we can go on, we have to remember that we're human.  It's going to happen.  We're going to reach that point now and again.  We're going to hit a wall when we desire that one place where there isn't any trouble waiting, no meltdowns looming, and every family picture turns out perfectly.  That's going to happen simply because we are human.  

But we have hope.  We also have the responsibility of extending that hope to each other.  

Dorothy was right.  The place where there isn't any trouble isn't around here.  It's not tangible with your hands.  There are times that the closest we can get is in the moments with giggles and laughs... and when we fall in the arms of those we love, feeling safe to admit we just can't take another step.  It's in being those arms as well.

Honestly, I did fall when I got back to the hotel room.  I did cry.  I did have my own meltdown, fall-apart time over just not being able to do one simple thing.  Over my son suffering as a slave to the routine.  My heart breaks for him so often.

But there is always light.  There is always a way out, and there is always relief... and often it's just enough.

Thanks be to God for hope.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...