The vacation was, on a scale of 1 to 10, about an 8 with a lot of 1s and 2s in between. Travel with four kids is hard, but add in an angry, impatient, overstimulated bipolar teen and you've got a real adventure. For the most part, she held it together when it mattered. But the plane ride home turned into a little nightmare for about 15 minutes when she decided, in the Dallas airport, that she was not getting back on that plane for anything.
We had risen very early that morning, around 5:30 I think, so she was sleep-deprived and over being squished into an plane seat for hours. Claustrophobia is a major issue for her. Should have thought of that when I picked the seats. Next time I will definitely choose the ones behind the bulkhead where there is more room. Just before boarding the plane home, she began to have the biggest public meltdown, crying and getting that wild look in her eyes she gets when she is totally losing it. The attendents were literally calling the last passengers onboard, when I looked at Bill and said, "She can't get on this plane--we can't risk what might happen if she does this on the plane." I handed him their tickets and shoved the others down the ramp, hoping that she would be able to calm down enough to get on a later flight.
Well, they did, after a few hours of de-stressing in the airport. I am realizing that we were pushing all of her limitations the last two days of the trip, and that we needed to plan more down time the last day, or do a direct flight, or plan more layover time. We are learning.
The kids did have a delightful time swimming with the dolphins at SeaWorld and doing the Disneyland thing. Caroline was able to enjoy herself as long as she could not be tied down by her little sisters, so Bill took her, and I took the others. My sister and her kids met us at Disneyland so that was very helpful to have some extra hands, especially because I felt so sick.
In Riverside, we had some special time with my Mom and my stepdad who has Alzheimers. We spent Easter with them, and for the most part we had a great time. Caroline struggled with boredom at being at a senior community, but we got her through it.
One of my favorite times of the trip was seeing one of my very dearest friends, whose oldest son has Aspergers and is bipolar. We hadn't seen each other in over nine years, maybe ten, and we have been living parallel lives. Having dinner with her and just pouring out our hearts to each other was such a treat. To have a dear friend understand exactly what you deal with day to day is a huge gift.
Our last day of the trip we spent driving down the CA coast from LA to San Diego, stopping at a nature preserve on the beach, where we found out you could rent cottages. There were tidal pools filled with huge starfish and sea anemones which delighted the kids. I just sat there on the beach, looking at the sun setting, feeling sick, but enjoying just being, instead of moving.
Now that we are back, we are still trying to move the RTC process along. I found out that we faxed the application to the wrong person so we have to re-fax everything. This has delayed the process by a week. Bummer. Caroline is edgy and defiant, very bored, wanting to move ahead with this next stage of her life. I am so burned out on working with her that I am not doing anything but whatever I have to do to keep everyone else on schedule, so she is just kind of left to wander right now, but I know that can't last long. She craves structure, so hopefully I can get my ICal up and going and create structure! I am not good at that.
My downstairs looks like a tornado hit it, with clean laundry everywhere, and suitcases, and mail from the week. I hope I can get some time tomorrow to work on the chaos. We'll see.