Spring Break Nearly Broke Me — Traveling with a Special Needs Child
Since the birth of Rachel and her subsequent diagnosis with autism, vacations have taken on a new meaning. Traveling with children always resembles a circus with the parade of blankies and stuffed animals, and a youngster who packs one change of underwear and ten pairs of shoes, but adding a child with special needs seems to take it to a whole new level of … fun.
Our latest trip to my sister’s was no exception.
I was only planning to stay five days, which I reassessed during our first night there as Rachel woke me every 10 or 20 minutes. The next day, while my sister was out with our two oldest children, Rachel became very quiet upstairs. By the time I checked on her, she’d filled the toilet with a quadruple-sized roll of bath tissue. The bathroom was a half inch deep in water.
Could things get worse from there?
Yes. They could and did.
The next day, we flooded the bathroom two more times and left a spot on the guest room carpet. Then that night we took it a step further. Something had made Rachel ill—perhaps playing with the toilet?—and so, we added ruining a dry-clean-only bedspread to our list of woes, along with more carpet.
I spent another sleepless night curled up on a towel, waiting for daylight, so we could leave before we did any more damage to the house. As soon as I heard the other kids up, I got to work packing and put Rachel in the tub. She was doing so well. We’d been working on not splashing for weeks, and I was sure she had it down. I should have known better. Less than five minutes later, my sister’s bathroom was an inch deep in water and the water had started dripping onto the wood floors downstairs. That was a good time to go.
I hugged my sister goodbye and couldn’t keep the tears out of my eyes. When would this stage end? Would we ever be able to go places and not leave behind a wake of damage?
That night after I got home, I took out my Bible and it opened to Psalm 31. As I read, my eyes filled with tears again.
I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness because You have seen my affliction. You have known the anguish of my soul.
So, even though things are difficult, God’s Word showed me that He is right there with me and is not blind to my troubles.
I’ve read over Psalm 31 several times in the last few weeks and will continue to do so whenever I feel discouraged. What a blessing to serve a God who loves us so completely and personally!