I do believe, it may just be... that Spring has Sprung! Temperatures have been in the 50's here and it is beginning to feel like Spring! Not a moment too soon...The calendar doesn't see Spring starting until next week, but it has definitely begun! (YAY!!!) Windows open, birds chirping, kids wantin to play outside... have I already cheered? The sunlight and longer days sure do make me happy. I wake up earlier and get more done... just this morning, I've already walked the dogs, done two loads of laundry and cleaned and frozen about 15 pounds of strawberries. I'm at the tail end of a migraine hangover, or I would have had more done by now. I just love productive mornings!
So, plans are firming up for our Washington D.C. trip! We leave next Friday... today is already Wednesday, so that means 9 days and we're outta here! Traveling with kids, as I'm sure you know, can me mind numbing... it just seems like so many details. Traveling with a Jonah requires so much more on the detail scale. I think of traveling with Daniel (Jonah's twin... Daniel has Epilepsy as well, but his is treated very well with just vitamin B6 ), and Daniel packs his own clothes (and actually remembers to pack Socks, underwear, swim trunks, and matching clothes, along with a comic book and fantasy baseball magazine to keep him occupied). I have to pack a bottle of B6 when traveling with Danny... I check his backpack, stuff the B6 in there and he's set. (ahhhh... I don't ever intentionally call him the "easy" child in front of him, because I believe he still needs the attention and love that the most difficult child might need... but, really... truly, he is such an easy child... sigh) Jonah on the other hand... (my headache is returning just thinking about this trip with him) he will pack a backpack, even when given instructions on what to pack, he'll pack a pair of swim trunks, a nerf football, 3 airsoft guns with ammo, an orange, a can of root beer, a comic book, a coloring book, his DS and 3 DS games. He'll come downstairs and announce that he's ready to go. He'll ask me if I've packed snacks, ask permission to have a root beer (which he's already packed) and tell me he'll meet me in the car. It always goes the same. It only took one trip of me NOT checking his backpack (and me frantically running to the store to get a couple pairs of sweats and t-shirts for him) to realize that this is his preparation. In his sweet mind... he's set. He's got food (so what if it is just an orange and a can of root beer), he's got swim trunks and some things to keep himself occupied... he's good to go. He'd be ready if we were going to a clothing optional resort (whch I mention only because I found a place nearby that is a nudist campground...a "family friendly" nudist resort. I was looking for the phone number for the bowling alley... and found that... wow, who knew?) Anyhow... packing Jonah's clothes is the least of my concerns... I mean, of course, I have to make sure I've packed seamless socks, sweatpants (with tags removed), tagless t-shirts, three different pairs of dress pants and jeans so that he can try on and choose which pair doesn't bother him on the day that we need to be dressed in normal clothes (i.e. not sweats) and his preferred type of underwear, one size too large as to not bind or constrict unnecessarily. So... once clothes are packed to specification, meds come into play. A week's worth of meds in his pill box, plus extra in their original bottles in case we have an emergency... and, for the sake of transparency and so you can get an idea of the magnitude of traveling with a Jonah... his meds for one week fill a carry on size SUITCASE, not a carry-on toiletry bag... a SUITCASE. Sigh. So, meds packed, now we need to pack ice packs and medical supplies. Syringes, infusion supplies, injectable meds, alcohol wipes and chloraprep dispensers, dressing change kits, masks, gloves, single-use cold packs, bandages, his knee and ankle braces and spoons and applesauce (all natural, no HFCS) to take meds with, inhalers, alcohol free hand sanitizer, baby wipes and petroleum, paraben, dye and frarance-free oatmeal lotion and benedryl cream as well as hydrocortisone cream and benedryl, pepcid and epi-pens. I think that covers his meds for a week. (And I sneak my tylenol in there too... cuz I usually need it!)
So, "We don't travel light.", is an understatement. But, probably, the most mind-numbing part of traveling with a Jonah is trying to see into the future. Making mental contingency plans for all possible bad outcomes that could potentially occur...you all know that the "what if" game is a dangerous playground... and I try not to do too much "what if" in terms of how things could be different, but these mental contingency plans - not only having a solid "Plan A", but a decent "Plan B" and a set of satisfactory "Plans C - T", are vital to surviving with a Jonah. Generally, as long as he's allowed to sleep as much as he needs, he is fed and watered regularly and is granted liberal time in the swimming pool and running around in open fields to his heart's content... he's an easy child... Contingency plans come in handy when we have to be in a conference room at 8 a.m., when we have to leave the hotel at 6:30 a.m., when swim time has to be pushed to the evening and when lunch is delayed because the metro is running late...that's when the orange and can of root beer come in handy.
All the planning, preparations and contingency plans in the world, however, can't begin to surpass the most important part of our journeys. God's grace is always with us. God's grace covers a cranky Jonah who hasn't had enough sleep, and covers cranky Mama who was up with cranky Jonah. His Grace washes us and gives us new beginnings and fresh starts. His Mercy sees to it that even if Plan B doesn't work... Plan C will work just fine. He graciously reminds me that, yes...I need to prepare and have on hand the things that we need, but He's got it all covered. Without fail, my bag of tricks, my mental baggage that I pack to prepare for a journey, is just like Jonah's backpack... I've packed it with things I want... not with things I'll need. He packs that preparatory bag for me...so, for another day, I can get through traveling this journey, being prepared for anything that comes my way. Just as Jonah's grateful that Mama has packed him a toothbrush and clean clothes, I am grateful that God has packed away an extra dose of Grace and Patience for me to use when I most need them.