A lesson in Comparison and Special Needs Travel

I used to really wonder which child would be more work. Kierra, who can do nothing for herself so needs constant supervision although she is stationary.

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Or Kobe, who whirls through the house and leaves toys flung far and wide  and opens hot oven doors because he just can’t WAIT for his beloved favorite cake.

I woke to the conclusion that as with all other things in life, it is foolish to compare. Each child stands alone in ones own unique personality. Forget the thoughts of ‘he does this, so why can’t she do this?’ or ‘if he would only be tempered a little more like her…’ My kids are each their own very unique personalities, just as my husband and I have our own unique makeup.

I don’t think God meant to make carbon copies. Even in families.  I want to fling my arms and heart wide open and embrace the differences of those around me. Take joy in the brightness and accept the shadows that come with all relationships. ( really, even newborns bring those shadowy 2 AM feedings with them)

When we packed for our 11 day trip to Montana, I knew there would be alot of ‘stuff’.  Traveling with a special needs child literally means moving mountains 🙂 Honestly. I remember staring in nearly rude shock when my In Laws and their two little girls came to visit for a weekend. Each had a small enough suitcase that they didn’t have to check even ONE bag through their flights.

I always realize the huge difference between my kids when we pack up to travel. Kobe needs all the regular little boy things. Changes of clothing, pull ups, coat and mittens and boots, a few toys, a teddy bear, and his wonderful snacks along with his favorite ‘bo bo’ cup.

I finally made a check list of Kierra’s things. The hard part is remembering to stick everything in again that you pulled out of the already packed van because you forgot you would need it one more time 🙂

So if you ever wondered why going away is such a huge chore for folks with special needs…here’s a peek. This is our baggage for one night at a hotel room on our trip. Can you imagine what all else is still in the van 😉

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Staying home looks pretty attractive sometimes:) but then again, getting out and enjoying a change of pace and scenery is nearly always worth it.

It’s not just her clunky oxygen machine that needs to be hauled around, it’s making sure all the back up tanks are full for the travel time. It’s thirty three cans of formula (plus the backup cans for emergencies 🙂 and feeding bags and pampers and wipes and chux pads for accidents. It’s power cords and extension cords (because some motels really have the craziest placed insufficient outlets)  and feeding pump, and IV pole and Pulse Oximeter machine and the back up Suction machine. It’s extra nasal canula, and rolls of tape in every available handy spot and the spare miKey tube and  syringes and extensions and drainage sponges. Then there’s the standard clothing and the coat and the socks.  A whole bag of blankets and pillows for  props so she can sleep comfortably. Not to mention the air mattress that works great for night time and is fairly compact. We can’t forget her meds! All 12 bottles ,or is it 14? And  the container for mixing her formula and the empty bottles to store it in. That ever present roll of paper towels that we use right now for choky episodes. Her nebulizer and vials of medication that go with that.

We throw in handfuls of extra EVERYTHING just because we want to be safe. Even a folder of medical records.

So after we have her all loaded, we have had our work out for the day :0)

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Is there room for me ?:)

The not so great thing is that in some situations you have to do the thing you hate to do… Put a two year old in the front passengers seat.

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Kobe thought he was living the good life! hanging out with Daddy, looking out that big front window…he wanted to pretend to be sleeping for this picture, so i humored him:)

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Thankfully, Kierra travels well usually, but on the way home, she was fighting a cold. I feel better being right beside her to help her if she chokes, or sneezes instead of constantly diving back over the seat and hanging upside down for long periods of time. or missing that tiny window of ‘grab the chokey mucus’ altogether.

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So back to this comparing thing again. How does one compare a lively little boy with a cracker crumb cushioned seat and the cutest expressions about ‘mountains’ and ‘big trucks’ and ‘juice please’ and ‘i need to pee’ and bored fussing noises with this?

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Now you see… it’s not really comparable. They are each darling creations of our Creator with their own sweetness and of course their own not so sweet moments! As different as day and night and as alike as two cuddle bugs.By the way, if it’s not comparable for these two sweethearts…why would it be for anyone else on earth ? 🙂

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Embrace those around you today for exactly the way they are. Sweetness. Hard work. Grouchies. Funniness. Thank God that they are alive and you have the privilege of loving them up.

And while I’m on the subject of loving, i need to brag a bit about my husband :0)

Six years of marriage. Two kids. 7 houses. Cross country move. 3+ jobs. Lots of stress. A wife that can be really —-_ 🙂 And he still surprises me and loves me and believes the best in me through the sunshine and shadows.

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The fragrance of true love. I am so blessed!

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