This past holiday weekend provided a reminder that the places in which our family fits in has changed over the years. Fortunately, although one changed for the worse, another changed for the better.
We attended a large party on Saturday and MJ was looking forward to it all day long. This was not a typical family picnic, but was a very large party with tents, an inflatable slides and a trampoline for the kids and a band for the adults. MJ was very excited, until we got there. When the band started, it got very loud. Strike 1. We knew some family and a few others at the party, but not many. MJ was unable to connect with the cousins and family friends that were running around playing (or maybe he didn’t want to) and was mostly standing around, looking bored and lonely. Strike 2. Lee and I spent almost all of our time watching MJ and SJ. SJ was playing but, for safety’s sake, we didn’t want to let him out of our sight. Strike 3. We did not fit in here. We went home and had a ‘movie night’.
On Monday’s holiday, we faced a choice of what to do. We have extended family with a house on a lake about 40 minutes away. The lake has always been a gathering location for family on the three summer holidays. When MJ’s meltdowns became an issue a few years ago, we began staying away, knowing that the being closer to home in a more controlled environment was for the best. Since then, MJ has matured, and the number of people gathering at the lake have diminished as kids have grown and moved away and some of the older generation has passed on. We decided to try it again.
What a joy it was! We packed some food, I got down my kayaks from the racks for the first time in three years, strapped them car and off we went. We found a welcoming group of about 20 when we arrived. The boys wanted to kayak immediately, so I sat SJ in the kayak with me and put MJ in his own. We paddled for a mile or so, stopping to walk barefoot on an island across the lake. SJ took a few tries at paddling and MJ made the whole trip with enthusiasm and absolutely no complaints about the physical work required. When we returned, the boys swam and played in the water. Their older cousins took them out on a pontoon boat, patiently giving them each a chance to drive. We shared snacks, caught up with family and introduced Stitch to ‘the lake’. The boys were enthusiastic and the others around them were accepting. It was a beautiful day. I wish I had a picture of us returning from our kayaking excursion as being out on the water with MJ and SJ was the highlight of my summer. And to top it off, we had place on shore where we ‘fit in’.