Kasper wants us to sit down and plan out a little summer vacation. He’s torn between staying in Brownsville, TX where there’s a zoo and a mall (which we won’t be able to do more than browse through), and going to Houston where there’s a zoo and a few museums he wants to check out. I’m super excited but find that my excitement is hampered by fear and anxiety. I barely leave my house except when necessary. How am I going to travel near half a day away from my house and visit various locations where other people go?
I really want to go so I will but it will not be without struggle, tears, and more than a few breathing exercises in the bathroom where I’m sure I’ll spend a good portion of my time quietly reminding myself that this is for my boys– for us as a family to enjoy our time together. Plus, I love museums.
Just thinking about going gives my left body twitches and brings tears to my eyes. I have the normal, average, every day person concerns: cost, what if we get a flat, or blow a hose, or something else un-affordable happens to the car along the way; what if the boys are complete brats the entire time? What if I only pack half my bathing suit? What if I get my period halfway through the trip which wouldn’t be the end of all things fun but wouldn’t exactly improve the overall ambiance of our trip. And then I have concerns that remind me I am not like every other person looking to forget they have a real life for a few days. I can’t “forget” my real life because I am my real life.
What if there’s no room available on the first floor of an affordable h/motel and there’s no elevator? I still get stuck on small curbs and have panic attacks when approaching anything with more than three stairs to reach the entry. Kasper wants a h/motel with a pool. What if there’s no steps and only ladders for some weird reason? What if the showers are all tubs? Do I have to bring my transfer bench? I’m bringing my cane but should I bring my wheelchair too? I’ve never been anywhere that required so much walking like in a zoo since my stroke. What if I don’t bring my wheelchair, hoof it through the zoo, then find out I’ve used up all of my hip’s stamina and endurance in that one visit and can’t make it anywhere else because of the pain?
I’m so worried. What if I ruin this for Kasper and the boys? It’s supposed to be a surprise for the boys; what if I ruin it that first day? What if I get so stressed I have a migraine the whole time? I don’t want Kasper to go through all this trouble, he’s been hording small amounts of cash to add to what he saved from his income tax refund and I know that’s been a struggle for him. He wants the boys to have memories, the same memories he gets jealous of me for talking about from my childhood because he doesn’t have any from his own. I’m worried I’ll take away from everything he wants and is working for just by being present.
I can’t describe enough how much of a burden I feel, or worry I will be. It fills me with such dread and a weight that is nearly unmovable. If not for my kids, I’m not sure I would agree to go. I spend so much time apologizing for my limited mobility when I’m out in public– for being slow; for stiffening up when I’m crossing a path, road or parking lot because I’m afraid to fall in front of people or just getting in their way in general. It’s awful. I just don’t want to do it, I don’t want to go. I’m very anxious– from my belly to the tips of my fingers, up to my hair. But I have to go and for so many reasons.
I need to show my kids I am more than present in their lives by being an active participant. I need to show them, Kasper, and myself that I am stronger than my disabilities despite how slow they may make me. I need to find out if I can function with my anxiety, not letting it get in my way and appearing as though I choose to sit everything out rather than working on being with everyone, sharing in events and memories. I need to prove to myself that all of this worry is for nothing. I may be “different” from most because of my disabilities but that shouldn’t stop me from spending and enjoying time with my family outside of my house.
I can totally do this.