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Thursday, August 29, 2013

The trip to Maine---a (mostly) success story!

When the boys were little, we did a lot of little getaway trips.  Not a lot of long vacations to real destinations, but quite of a lot of trips where we'd find a cheap hotel deal and spend a few days in a new location, visiting friends or family.  But for the last five years, we have taken no trips like that.  None.  We have not gone away as a family in that time for more than a few quick, close overnight twice.  We haven't been more than 100 miles from home as a family, or gone more than one night.  About a month ago, when Janey was doing pretty well, I decided I very much wanted to try a little trip.  I grew up in Maine, and Maine in the summer is a special place.  I wanted Janey to at least have a day, or even an afternoon, playing outside in the Maine summer.  My parents live in Maine, and I set my goal at a day at their house.  I reserved a hotel about half an hour from them (because close hotels, near the coast, are out of our price range in the summer), for two nights, and set aside 3 days for the trip.  I wanted us to have a full day for travel both ways, although it's about a 4 hour drive, so that if we needed to stop 50 times, we could.  I wanted to have very, very few plans, so that our main focus could be on letting Janey relax and hopefully enjoy the trip.  I felt like if this went well, and she saw that going away could be fun, it would be a good start to expanding our horizons a little.  But if it didn't, it might be the end of that part of our lives for a good long time.

Then came the hell weeks, which you've probably read about here.  I thought over and over about cancelling the reservations.  I thought there was no way that this would work, that her crying would get us kicked out of the hotel, that she would destroy my parents' house, that her behavior in the car would make us unable to drive.  However, once the new medication had shown a little promise, I thought we might as well give it a try after all.

Well, I'd call it a modest success.  The ride up was quite good.  Janey didn't cry AT ALL until the last 5 miles or so!  She did sleep a lot, still tired from the medication at that point, and she wasn't terribly smiley or happy, but she was not crying.  Here's a picture of her at a rest stop...
having some ice cream.  We made it to the hotel well before I ever thought we would---we only stopped about 3 times, as much for us as for Janey.  I was worried how Janey would react to the hotel, but we kept talking up how we were going to go swimming as soon as we got there, and we did...
The pool was only 4 feet deep, was outside and full of bugs and very cold, but we swam!  Janey was fairly happy to swim---not as excited as that sometimes makes her, but happy.  We spent the rest of that day in the hotel room, just hanging out (although I got to go out to dinner with my dear friend Julie while the rest hung out!).  Tony got to watch baseball with Freddy (we don't have cable at home to see it) and Janey got to go about 5 times to the "chips machine", the vending machine, and get chips.  I figured that if that's what meant vacation to her, then getting a lot of chips (which she wasn't really so much into eating, just getting!) was fine.  She also enjoyed pushing the buttons on the elevator.  She didn't sleep at all well that night, though, probably from sleeping in the car a lot, but she wasn't screaming---just wandering the room and enjoying some cable.

The next day, we went to the hotel breakfast and then to my parents' house, and as I had hoped, it was a beautiful day and Janey had a wonderful time outside.  She was able to wander around their big, wooded yard and to walk down their dirt road, and to pick wildflowers and see all the bugs and just enjoy that smell of Maine in the summer.   Here's a few pictures...

I wish she had been more excited or happier---she seemed subdued, but she wasn't crying, mostly, and I think she was partly subdued just taking it all in.  For a girl that loves outdoors, having that much of it just to look at and walk around in was probably almost overwhelming.  She liked a few of the toys my mother had saved for her---here's her enjoying a Clifford book on the deck...
and overall, I felt very happy that I was able to give her that day, a tiny piece of my summers in Maine.  As soon as we were all getting a little tired, we left, while everyone was still in a good mood.  We went back to the hotel, and lucky me got to AGAIN go out to dinner with my friend---another great part of the trip, getting some time to just talk and laugh and be silly with a dear friend!  Janey slept better that night.

Today when Janey woke up, I saw a Janey I hadn't seen in quite a while, and was very happy to see back---a smiling, laughing, energetic, funny girl.  She was in one of the best moods of the summer---singing her song parodies, thrilled about anything we were doing, even little things like going to the hotel breakfast...
just being the Janey in what we call her "precious" mood---one of the times I can't possible imagine enjoying her more.  They are rare, but I had worried the medication might take them away, make her quieter and more subdued all the time.  I love my lively girl when she's a happy lively girl!  

The drive home wasn't fantastic.  I think Janey had had enough of driving, or maybe she was realizing the "jolly holiday" (a term she picked out of a Mary Poppins sing-a-long song to define our trip) was over.  She cried a fair amount, and we stopped less---perhaps we should have stopped more, but I think we thought by that time just getting home would be best.  Here's a picture from one stop, with a moose...
Janey wasn't in the best mood, but she agreed to pose!  

So I'd say overall, a success.  I wish Janey had been happier more of the time, not just not crying but actually happy, but there were certainly happy times, and we made it!  I was able to get some time out, and my parents were able to see Janey and Freddy (this also marked our first family trip without William, as he is at college, and incidentally having a better time than he ever realized it was possible to have, by his reports).  I think we'll try to do it again fairly soon.  It felt good to be a little back on the road again.

3 comments:

Sabrina said...

This is good, and I'm happy for you all! How nice that your parents got to see Janey, and that she seemed to have fun.

P.S. I love her skirt, the color is great and the ruffles are so cute :)

Sophie's Trains said...

It sounds like she did very well! And it seems that the medication is doing what its supposed to at this point. Hopefully more days like this are in your future.

oscarmayer said...

Suzanne,
I have been following your blog for over a year now and have been meaning to comment for quite some time. Your stories are inspiring and your writing is impeccable. I also think you are a truly wonderful person and mother. I just want to say thank you for sharing your stories about Janey. I've laughed, I've cried, I've wanted to reach through my computer screen and give you a hug. I'm so glad you and your family were able to get away and enjoy a vacation! Take care, and as long as you keep writing I will keep reading. Xoxo, Cristy