I have thought long and hard about just what this blog is supposed to be and who my perceived audience would be. How-to books on writing say that if I want to be a writer then I should write a blog that identifies myself as a writer and appeals to my target audience. Who is my target audience? The answer is anyone that enjoys fiction! I know, that answer will be narrowed down, it just isn’t my real point at the moment. Yes, I want to be a writer, but I certainly have no expert advice to share on the subject. I’m learning. Should my blog be about writing only? Does anyone really care about my writing schedule? I didn’t think so. What about parenting a child with emotional needs? I may not be an expert in that field, but I have experience. What then? I thought about the blogs I enjoy reading and they are the ones with the nice, cozy feeling of chatting with a friend. Writing is about life, so life is what I am going to share. Life of writing, life of a parent and life lived by one solitary being. I won’t force anyone to read my random musings. If I bore you, then by all means move on. So now that I have decided not to narrow down my blog with one topic, where do I start? Do I go back eleven years to when a child and mom were born? Do I go back even farther, to my own childhood? True to my nature I am going to jump in somewhere around the middle.
DD and I just got back from vacation and it was spectacular!! This was the first trip we had ever taken just the two of us. It had been so long since I’d planned a vacation I’d nearly forgotten how! Do you want to know what made it so great? We left everything at home. No, I do not mean our suitcases. We did not go to a nudist colony (much to the relief of nudists everywhere!) We left anxiety, fear, worry, stress, apprehension and pre-conceived notions at home. We left behind limitations, frustrations, and expectations. Okay, I told y’all I work part time hours as a waitress. I had to save a long time for this trip. I could not “afford” this trip. I also could not afford to miss the opportunity. My daughter is growing up and I won’t have these chances forever. I saved my change and crumpled dollar bills for well over a year. Almost two. We chose Washington D.C. because DD is at an age to truly appreciate it and her interest in art and history made it perfect. I liked the idea that there was so much available for free! I wanted to go somewhere neither of us had ever been – a true adventure.
Getting into the car the morning we left, DD could hardly contain her excitement. 981 miles is a long car trip. We talked, we laughed, we sang. DD was a first-class navigator. Even when the A/C in my car died halfway TO our destination, we just rolled down the car windows, cursed just a little (okay, that one was all me), poured sweat, drank lots of water, and refused to let it get us down. That took effort because it was HOOTTT!!! True to our promises to ourselves and each other, we concentrated on enjoying our time together. She was not allowed any stressing or talking about things or people back home that upset her, and I was not allowed to worry about expenses or how we “shouldn’t” be doing this. I had saved and planned as carefully as I could. I was also not allowed to let my weight rob me of having fun. I wasn’t going to feel so self-conscious because of my size that I refused to be in photos. We were living with JOY! Did we get aggravated along the way? Sure. We’re only human. Heat, road construction, and a demon possessed GPS that sent me in circles for sheer delight took their toll. Maintenance work on a metro system I was already unfamiliar with along with some extremely rude rush-hour natives left me wanting to scream. May I point out here that most rush-hour natives were lovely. A couple hard lessons about how my daughter’s anxiety feeds off my stress and we were able to shake off bad feelings after a bit and start over. I was a little afraid that DD had looked forward to this trip for so long that it would actually be a let down; that nothing would live up to her expectations. On the way home I asked her if it had been as good as she had hoped. Grinning, she gushed, “It was amazing! Even better than I thought it would be! Thanks Mom for doing this for me .” It was all worth it.
I have to add something about D.C. I had read travel guides and online traveler reviews. I really had no expectations. My daughter is the kind of person that is going to walk up to you, offer a smile and say, “Hi! How are you today?” I don’t think there was a police officer, metro guard, security guard, or store clerk that she didn’t talk to. She didn’t pass one uniformed military man or woman, or one elderly Veteran that she did not walk up to and thank. Each and every person greeted her with enthusiasm. Where people were impatiently going through bag checks in all the buildings, grumbling all the way, she was chatting and swapping jokes with the guards. We held up one line because the guard got so tickled he couldn’t stop laughing. He thanked her for her her humor. We had the unfortunate opportunity to be in Washington when the Lincoln Memorial was vandalized. My daughter’s first glimpse of the majestic statue marred by such a senseless act. Standing there with tears in her eyes, she asked how anyone could be so disrespectful. A guard started talking to her, assuring her they would get it clean and find out who was responsible. None of these people had to go out of their way to be nice to her, but they were all exceptional. From joking security guards checking bags, to museum guards who were telling her what not to miss and asking what she was interested in, to busy metro guards that took the time to smile, wave or offer a kind word or laugh, I thank all of you for making her trip truly memorable.
Next time I will share my list of things I did to help make traveling with an ADHD pre-teen run as smoothly as possible. I’m in no way an expert, it’s just things that worked for us. Maybe something will be helpful for others.