On Friday I found myself down to two children…something that almost never happens. Grace was working at the Philly Pretzel Factory and Ozzie is currently inpatient at Mercy Hospital right now receiving more intensive trauma therapy.
Rusty was also gone for the week.
On Sunday night, as we were driving home from the Homestead (following Gracie’s graduation celebration with Mimi and Pop Pop) we received a phone call from friends asking us if Rusty would be interested in attending Boy Scout camp with their son up in New York. Their troop had a few last-minute drop outs and Rusty was invited to join them in place of one of the missing boys. The cost was already covered which meant Rusty could attend for free. It was an awesome opportunity to earn 6 more merit badges and enjoy another week at Boy Scout Camp, and all the fun it entails.
He was a bit nervous leaving for New York with a group of leaders and boys he didn’t know well, but he said, “yes.” We were very proud of him. A few years ago I don’t know that he could have pushed through his anxiety to go, but this week he pushed himself out of his comfort zone and decided to join this other troop.
We arrived home from the Homestead around 8:00 pm and began washing all our gear from the Trek camping experience (that we got home from the day before) and packed Rusty up to head out again for a week in New York, which he will return home from with just enough time for another load of laundry before we leave for Texas.
From Virginia to New York to Texas in a week’s time. Russ has become quite the world traveler!
He had a good time. His favorite merit badge class he attended was Basketry, where he learned to weave baskets. He brought home these two completed projects.
We had a lot of excitement in his absence…more negative than positive, but we ended the week on a high note when I found myself home with just Tyler and Molly.
The day started out hard for Tyler. He has been struggling with debilitating fears that cause him to shut down and push him into the “freeze” fear response. This is very concerning for us and we are trying to work through what is triggering this new, more primitive, fear response.
On Friday we had a doctor’s appointment. Before we could get ready to go, however, Tyler went into freeze mode, triggered (I believe) by the arrival of two therapists from Glade Run Family Based Services that came out to talk to me about whether their services would be a good fit for Ozzie and our family, upon his release from the hospital. While they were there Tyler shut down and remained in shut down mode for the next 5 hours. We missed our doctor’s appointment and all the packing and preparations I had planned for the trip were placed on hold as I worked to help Tyler regulate.
It was at that point I set aside all my plans for the day and declared it a play day (aka: mental health day!)
After a hard, high-stress week my two most emotionally sensitive kids needed to enjoy some light hearted, happy fun, so that is what we did.
We started with a trip to the Dollar Tree so I could get some treats and games to make fun travel bags for our 46-hour road trip. While there Tyler spotted a combination lock that he desperately wanted. I saw in it an awesome new fidget toy, so I bought it for him. As I taught him how to unlock it (spinning it right, left, right) I was transported back to my high school hallway locker.
He has loved this silly, $1.oo gadget. So much so that I keep finding everyday items locked up around the house.
No one will be stealing his shorts!
The day got better for Tyler but the evidence of his heighted level of anxiety was present even in the midst of our evening fun.
We started by heading to the pool for “Flick and Float.”
Toby was working late trying to finish up the job he was on before we left for Texas the next day, so I headed to the pool with just Molly and Tyler. When we arrived, I scoped out a seat by the pool while Molly headed into the girls’ locker room to change and Tyler headed to the boys’ locker room. Molly came out minutes later and then we waited for Tyler…
And waited and waited and waited.
Finally, we walked over to the door of the locker room to check on him. From the door, we could see him balled up and hiding in the corner. He had stepped out of the locker room and hadn’t spotted us in the crowd of swimmers. He panicked, thinking we had left him.
It breaks my heart to see my boy, who has always been so fearless, fearful of everything…
He finally made it into the pool and had a wonderful time playing water volleyball with Molly.
The “flick” part of “Flick and Float” never happened. There were technical difficulties with the projector, so we floated without flicking.
Toby arrived home around 8:00pm so we headed back home to change into dry clothes and the four of us headed over to our local fireman’s fair to let Molly and Tyler ride some rides.
Tyler’s anxiety level decreased significantly with Toby’s arrival home. Toby really is Tyler’s greatest source of security and felt safety.
We had a fun evening soaking up the festive atmosphere of the summer carnival.
There is something magical about the glow of neon lights, the sound of carnival barkers, and smell of funnel cakes.
We ended the night with sweet carnival treats. Cotton Candy for the kids and I and a funnel cake for Toby.
It has been a hard, heart-breaking week at Patchwork Farm. I have felt so sad. This special time with Tyler and Molly was just what I needed, and just what they needed.
Tomorrow we leave for Fredericksburg, Texas, with stops in St. Louis, Oklahoma City, Ft. Worth and San Antonio.
I pray things only get better from here.
Travis and Krista, here we come!