If there's one thing I have learned about kids over the last three and a half years...it's that they are predictably unpredictable. You just never know how they'll behave, react, enjoy or respond to any situation or circumstance. Tomorrow we leave for a family beach vacation and today I find myself forcibly dialing down my expectations.
The first year we went to the beach, Gavin was 11 months and I was about five months pregnant with Brian. We intended to stay for several days. We lasted overnight. Barely overnight. Gavin hated the sand...the wind...the noise...the heat...and the Merry Go Round. Ed and I were overwhelmed in an unfamiliar environment with this baby that had difficulty eating...severe eczema...sensory issues...you name it. We gave up and went home, defeated. I'm pretty sure I cried all the way back to our house.
The next time we braved the same trip was last July, 2010. We were a little nervous, so we brought reinforcements. My niece, Emily and her then fiancee, Josh, came with us. This time Gavin loved everything! We were shocked. He loved the sand...the wind...the noises...and, Oh my God did he love the rides. The wilder the better!
He and Brian had fun playing on the beach, and Brian even braved the cold water on his toes.
The rides were a different story for Brian. He clung on for dear life and much preferred to chase pigeons on the boardwalk or see the sights from the comfort of his stroller.
I even included Darcy into our trip. It was only two months after delivering her and I wanted to acknowledge her in my own little way.
I don't know what to expect this week. But I've learned to not expect perfection. Having a child with special needs forces you to stay on your toes...but so does life with an average two year old! Everything may be different than last year...but we'll make the best of it. We've come a long way from that first year. And so has Gavin. Those days of defeat and giving up are long gone.