This week I have been remodeling the exterior of my home, as well as the kitchen cabinets.

That wasn’t the original plan for this week. But it’s turned out to be exactly what I needed.

The original plan for fall break was to spend it at the beach with my best friend and her family.

We had been looking forward to it since we left there in March. But since that time Zion has developed an anxiety in the car that would drive a nun to drink. He gets very anxious about cars being behind us on the roadway, too close to us when traffic is stopped, and he chatters about it constantly.

Just the drive from home to his therapy center can be maddening if he’s really in full tilt. Add in Zion’s favorite, Julie Andrews, in the background, singing her arse off…for 30 hours, round-trip, in the car?


There was a time when I would have been the martyr and forced that trip, out of sheer mom guilt.

But if I wanted to be full of resentment and anxiety, I would’ve stayed married.

Ahem. (giant grin)

About a month ago, I started to realize that a 30 hour road trip with Zion in tow would be not fun for me. So I started to research what it would be like to travel by plane with Zion, with one layover. For once, it wasn’t about money. I could afford to go, either way. But as many times as I went on to purchase those tickets….I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

The bottom line is that I didn’t want to take a trip with Zion.

There, I said it.

And I’m still trying to not feel bad about that. But let me be honest about a few things.

I had been dreading it for a long time, because quite honestly, I think we can all admit, that any vacation with kids involved is not truly a vacation. It is a crap ton of work with 647 bags in tow, snacks, electronic devices, beach toys, and a partridge in a pear tree.

Add on top of that a child with autism and severe car anxiety, and I’m sorry, but that is just not a good time for anyone. And since I would be the only driving adult, all of that driving is mine and mine alone.

Yet I felt obligated to my kids to fulfill their second beach vacation in a year.

So in short…I’m letting my new financial ability and Pinterest rule my decision making again.

And that needs to stop.

My friend Sarah always says, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.”

So I had a tough decision to make.

Now of course, I certainly didn’t want to disappoint my best friend and her family. I love and miss them so much, and I crave the very little time we have together.

But I knew in my heart, I did not want to make this trip.

So in true denial form, I waited until the last possible minute to call Kristin to tell her we weren’t coming. My heart was in my belly. I did not want to have that conversation.

Then suddenly, just a few days before we were set to leave, Hurricane Matthew began to materialize and they had to evacuate their home.

I couldn’t help but wonder if my desperate need for an out was powerful enough to summon a hurricane.

You know, like Steve Urkel.

Did I do that?



Kristin sent me a text message fraught with images of the destruction near their home. Thankfully, their home wasn’t destroyed, but many of the dunes and natural habitats most certainly were.

And while yes, I fully realize I did not summon this devastating storm, it was really my own personal confirmation that when I feel like I don’t want to do something, I need to honor those feelings and speak up.

Because the bottom line is this:

The only person’s happiness I’m responsible for is my own.

Say it with me.

The only person’s happiness I’m responsible for is my own. 

Dagummit, I’m such a good mama.

I am constantly putting my kids first.

I pay more than my mortgage to provide ABA therapy for my son when I’d rather be spending that money on boots and jewelry.

I order pizza on Friday nights when I’d rather be going out for Indian food.

I read Cat in the Hat night after night when I’d rather be reading a novel.

I watch Disney’s Robin Hood for the 4,639th time when I’d rather be binge-watching Parenthood.

I make sacrifices every day. As parents, we all do.

So yes, I did cancel our trip. I pulled up my home remodeling to-do list on Pinterest, and planned out my week off of work.

I call it renovation therapy.

Hard work and creativity. It’s a lovely, natural high.

I called Zion’s therapy center to ask if they could cancel his vacation and accommodate his therapy. They obliged.

So instead of making myself crazy by forcing a trip I didn’t have the desire or the heart to make, I chose to do what I wanted and needed to do.

And that’s okay.

Now in the future when I want to get away to see my best friend, I will hop a plane for the weekend and do so.

By myself.

Without feeling guilty.

Because respite is important. For everyone.

But especially for parents of kids with special needs.

So I am going to stop feeling guilty when I just don’t want to make that trip.

Or attend that party.

Or skip the trick-or-treating.

Because vacations and parties and buckets of candy are not a basic need of childhood.

Love is.

And that, my kids have.

In abundance.





  One thought on “Cancelled

  1. Maureen Pugh
    October 16, 2016 at 2:06 pm

    You go girl! I’m so proud of you. You need to take care of you first in order to be good for anyone else. Not saying dismiss the every day to day parenting. We all need a break from each other, kids included.

    I love, love, love, your blog! Look forward to reading it. Thank you for sharing!

  2. October 16, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    Angie you are so on a good roll. Zion is lucky to have both you and Zoe watching out for him.

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