I enjoy hearing about my friends’ family vacations. I am not the kind of person who can’t be happy for others – even if it is for something I don’t have for myself or my kids. But when I hear their stories, I am reminded that in the last 19 years, I can only remember taking two vacations with my sons.
The last vacation I had with them was more than 10 years ago. It’s not that I didn’t want to take them anywhere. I would have loved to take them on a road trip or to an amusement park. It would have been such joy to fly them to a resort and enjoy the pleasures of a tropical paradise. But as a single parent working two jobs, having money to take vacations was not something I could afford.
It was also a challenge to travel with 2 kids with disabilities by myself. It can be hard at the airport and in a new place when one of your kids needs his routine. When my older son was able to start traveling by himself, it helped a lot. I could have him fly directly to visit family members and didn’t worry so much. His dad would pay for the flight. That too was a huge help.
Does it bother me that his younger brother only went with him once to see his grandparents and cousins? It sure does. There are no easy answers when you have a child who is very set in his routine and family members don’t understand his needs. If I could have traveled with them, my younger son could have gone to the hotel with me when he needed downtime. But since I had limited time off from work, that was not possible.
Does this mean we never left the house? Absolutely not! I always made sure that my kids enjoyed their summers and school breaks in other ways. I was happy when my older son had his friends over. I always made them feel welcome and had homemade desserts waiting. We also enjoyed going to movies, trying new restaurants and checking out local events together. Fortunately, there’s a lot to do in the Houston area.
Sometimes it’s hard to want more for your children and have to settle for less. But as parents, we often must remind ourselves that we are doing the very best that we can for our children, given our circumstances. For my family, that has meant finding ways to create memories right here in our own community. We have discovered a lot about our city and, best of all, enjoyed spending time together.