Flying by the Seat of Our Pants

I’m not a planner by nature.

I enjoy the chaos of searching for swimsuits 3 minutes before swimming lessons start. It doesn’t bug me that we have to take dirty clothes on our vacation because I forgot to do a load of underwear and there isn’t enough time for laundry before we have to leave (we of course wash them when we get to our destination). I don’t really care that I have to take the tax return to the post office at 11:59 p.m. on April 15th because I didn’t mail it in two months ago when when my husband asked me to.

It’s a darn good thing I’m not a planner.

Because even I, procrastinator extraordinaire, was unprepared for the utter lack of control that I have as the parent of a child with special needs.

What little planning I had done in preparation for the arrival of my precious little girl became obsolete about 24 hours after her birth. Luckily with my son we had a couple years of ignorant bliss before it became evident that the plans we had made for him were also blowing in the wind. And with both of them we quickly discovered that it just wasn’t realistic to plan months, or even days, in advance.

Things changed so quickly, and new things popped up so often, that instead of having expectations for the future we began living day to day. Literally. We couldn’t even plan trips to see Grandma and Grandpa who live 4 hours away because every time we did, Kaitlyn would develop an interesting new issue and we would end up in the hospital again (my personal favorite was when her blood sugar dropped for no apparent reason and she became nearly catatonic for about 24 hours. That time we had 6 of her doctors at the hospital with us, each of them more stymied than the next. And they never found a cause. Good times). In an effort to trick whatever fates were conspiring to keep us from visiting Grandma and Grandpa, we got to the point where we’d look furtively at each other and whisper, “Can we go right now? Good. Forget clothes and toothbrushes – we can get them there. Get in the car. GO GO GO!”

When our son was a toddler, he would have random and amazing crying fits that would sometimes last hours at a time. They were worse when we were in public, which made even a quick trip to the grocery store a fun adventure. I do have to say, though, that sometimes they came in handy for getting out of church early. Did I say that out loud?

But I digress.

We are nothing if not adaptable, so in order to save what little sanity we had left we stopped planning. Anything. This made our lives much less frustrating. When you have no expectations, even a trip to get the oil changed is a special treat.

So to sum up, we are flying by the seat of our pants. No plans, no expectations, no worries. And no disappointment when things don’t go as we want. As we relinquished all control and gave in to the chaos that was our new normal, we discovered that we were much better prepared to handle the challenges that were being shoved down our throats. And that, after all, is half the battle.

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