Sunday, March 6, 2011

Does anyone have directions to the village?

Hilary Clinton was right:  it really does take a village.  This is not big news.  We all know that family, teachers, friends, and neighbors are all important in the life of a child.  I'm talking about a much more immediate need, however. 

We (RockStar and I) are leaving on Thursday to attend a wedding.  It's an adults-only wedding so at first we planned to leave Dylan with his grandma, who lives on the way.  Then we found out about the Saints Experience.

Dylan is a Cub Scout and part of being a Cub Scout is selling popcorn the way that Girl Scouts sell cookies.  The boys have incentives, most of which are Amazon gift cards, but for one of the higher amounts - in this case $750.00 in individual popcorn sales - the boys earned the opportunity to see the NFL Champion Saints training facility. (I realize that that they have lost that title, but it was in effect during the selling season.) 

Dylan determined that he wanted to earn the chance to go to the training facility.  He worked hard, without complaining.  He sold his little heart out.  And did it, with money to spare.  I think his final total was $807.00 or something like that.  The prize was well earned.

As you might guess, the day scheduled for the Saints Experience ended up being the same day as the out-of-town wedding.  We almost couldn't believe the bad luck, but once we got over that, we started thinking of ways around it.  Obviously, Dylan would have to stay here while we went to the wedding.  It would mean three nights at someone else's house away from us. Something he had only done once, after Katrina. 

We had what we thought was an immediate go-to person, although we didn't consider it a shoo-in since it was four whole days.  It was a friend of ours from church, someone who had acted as a surrogate grandmother in the past.  Literally.  She's been to school twice on Grandparent's Day to participate in the school's activities.

We asked if it was possible and she said yes.  Only then, did we ask Dylan to choose - between going with us and staying with grandma, but missing the Saints Experience, or staying with our friend and going to the Saints Experience, but missing seeing grandma. 

Normally, decisions such as this are very hard for Dylan.  I'm sure it is for all kids, but I suspect it is more so for ADHD kids, simply because their concepts of time and future are a little bit different. But he gave it great thought and after a couple of days decided to stay here and go to Saints Experience.  We called our friend and let her know.

Because it would be four days and because we didn't want to put her out more than was necessary, I made arrangements for him to attend camp two of the days.  His school is on break this week due to Mardi Gras.  I also arranged for someone to take him to the Saints Experience, but our friend said that wasn't necessary; that she could do it.

We worried about telling his grandma.  She only sees him a couple of times a year and we knew she would be disappointed.  But when we told her, she was actually relieved.  She is 86 and suffers from bouts of very painful post-shingles neuralgia.  She has been having a lot of spells of it lately and she worried that she wouldn't be able to care for Dylan since she has a hard time simply getting up and about.  We were beginning to feel glad that things had worked out the way that they did. 

That was all a couple of weeks ago.

Yesterday, our friend called and began the conversation with, "I've got disappointing news."  And the conversation started off completely understandable in that her cousin has passed away and the funeral will be on Friday.  I could completely understand how that would change things.  I so wish she had stopped there. 

She went on to say that there was a party on Saturday she had forgotten about.  And a parade on Sunday that she usually liked to go to. 

Suddenly, it wasn't a tragic family emergency.  It was a busy schedule that she had neglected to consider when we first asked.  And now, days before we were set to leave, she was changing plans.

Again, I have to stress that if her focus had been all on the funeral, I wouldn't be feeling this awful feeling I have right now.  She could have even bent the truth if she felt the need, saying that she would be spending time with her grieving family.  That's so much easier to take than a party and a parade she forgot about. 

She said that she imagined Dylan would just have to go stay with his grandma.  But of course, that was no longer an option.  On top of that, Dylan had now chosen the Saints Experience, something he had worked hard for. 

So now, we are really and truly scrambling.  We leave in four days.  If our friend was Plan A, we are now on Plan C, having asked one person who couldn't do it because her kids are away with their dad and this is her non-kid time (something I understand).  We are waiting to hear from another family.  Their kids are friends with Dylan.  But they have just moved and, more importantly, our families differ in some very key ways.  They are extremely all-natural.  I'm not just saying they buy organic milk, but they are a gluten-free, sugar-free, Whole Foods only family.  I applaud that.  But not only does Dylan hate eating 'not eating' at their house, I suspect that giving Dylan medication will be a moral issue with them.  I put it out there, because I didn't want to surprise them with it, but it might kill the deal.  They may also worry about the not eating thing - even for play dates, Dylan will barely eat a grape at their house.  After one birthday party, he was convinced he didn't like chocolate cake anymore because he didn't like their chocolate cake, which was really carob cake. 

I have more names on the list, but my spirits are sinking.  We leave just days from now.  Most people we know are out reveling, enjoying all that Mardi Gras has to offer.  Contacting people during these four days could be rough.  And, families that might have been an option weeks ago, may have now made plans that will interfere.  I just called the Plan C family and left a message and I'm trying to figure out when to move to Plan D because I can't wait forever to hear from them. 

Another concern is that most of these alternate plans involve families with children.  Short-term, this is a great thing for Dylan.  But for four concerns me.  On meds, he'll be pretty fine.  But night after night after the meds wear off with other kids' needs and desires in their own family.  Well, I'm concerned.  He's had some sleepovers, but not more than overnight only. 

Of course, the final plan will be to bring him with us and get babysitters when we go to the adults-only activities.  We'll lose the $100.00 we've spent on the camp (the cancellation date passed last week) and we'll pay more for hotel babysitters that we won't even know.  I don't expect a lot of other kids at the wedding in the same situation because the bride and groom are quite young and our friends are all long past the age of having kids. 

But the biggest loss will be to Dylan.  He worked hard for something and earned it.  That doesn't happen very often for him.  Not with grades or academic awards, certainly.  Cub Scouts is very important to him and he worked hard to make this happen.

Of course, another option is for me to stay here with him and I'm suffering from incredible guilt over that.  Part of it - a lot of it - is that we are already spending a lot of money (for us) to go to this wedding.  Money we don't really have, but the friendship is well worth it.  I would feel a great deal of resentment if my husband (they are his friends) got to go stay at this nice resort and I didn't.  I feel so childish over it, but that's what the imbalance in our relationship has caused.  With my husband's underemployment, we will likely not have any kind of vacation this year.  We never go out to eat anymore.  This trip was going to be a little perk, a little break from a life that has become all about getting through:  getting through homework, getting through the week, getting through the month, getting through the paycheck. 

On top of that, I thought the 10 hours in the car might give us the opportunity to talk - really talk - and come to some understanding about our life together.  I'm resentful for more than just this trip.  I resent that I'm working awfully darn hard to keep us financially afloat with very little input and return from him.  Maybe all that time in the car would give us an opportunity to figure it out.  Or maybe I could at least convince him to see someone about his own undiagnosed ADHD.

I guess I'm feeling like I have no one to turn to.  No one to lean on.  No village. I want the village. 

1 comment:

  1. I hope one of the families pan out. Have you talked to the Pack leader(s)? They might be able to help you out or at least give you some ideas.