As the dust from summer adventures settle, and the rhythm of fall life begins, I feel like I am trying to catch my breath just a little! I tidy corners that need attention, I sift through pictures, and swap out the kids clothes that seem to have outgrown overnight :).
Summer’s flexibility is grand. I am not sure who is more excited on that last day of school — the kids or me! I snuggled in beside Mikayla that evening to do our bible reading/prayer time/book reading routine and we talked about the possibilities that lay ahead. The kids spend a lot of time running in and outside, playing with each other and playing with the neighbors and there is just a bit of a laxa-daisy flow.
It is also a time of “intentional parenting.” More time together also includes more time for squabbling :). (That first week of transition is a bit of a bear! Phew!) Consequently, I had pinned THIS to our fridge. I have sensed a growing need for us to think through our apologies and to learn to take responsibility for our actions that affect others. I got it off a website (if I can find the link I will post it!). And so, for that first while, whenever we had to work this through (and we all got a lot of practice!!!) we would go to the fridge, work through the steps of reconciliation and think things through just a little bit.
Summers with special needs can also be tricky. Kezia is very sensitive to heat and humidity, of which there is quite a bit during the summer months. I found myself struggling with worry each time she went outside to play. Do you keep kids indoors all summer, protected but quarantined? Or let them play, knowing that the heat will have an exhausting effect, but at least they got fresh air and time with friends?
Also, along with most people who have learning disabilities, we rely heavily on routine as a teaching tool. Self care and independence, dietary habits, and development goals we’ve set during the school year can seem to backslide and that can be very discouraging. This year I was more emotionally prepared for some of those gains and what felt like losses, but it still can feel challenging and overwhelming.
And, as we come and go, there are always considerations for Kezia. Is this an activity that will work for her? How can we accommodate her different needs? How can I make sure she has the right foods to eat at the right times?
This year we were blessed to receive an EZ Rider stroller for her through a special needs lending resource. These strollers are heavy duty and are quite costly if you have to purchase one. It was such a gift. We had tried out each stroller we presently have and it was very obvious that Kezia was in need of a new set of wheels :). She felt like she was in a parade as she glided up and down the streets of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania :). She loved it, and it was a good option for us for those days when we needed to do a lot of walking.
Perhaps you are in a situation where special needs carries with it a lot of additional considerations. Medication. Health concerns. Appointments that can quickly fill up the calendar. Adjusted or cancelled plans because things that day are just not working. A back pack full of personal supplies. It becomes “normal,” but “normal” doesn’t mean that it’s not overwhelming or exhausting. I’d love to hear how you find balance in that.
As fall settles in, and we all find our places again, we are a few months older, more practiced at sincere apologies and we’ve collected memories like treasured seashells. And we welcome the rhythm that autumn brings.