Noah has never been on a road trip or visited relatives out of town, due to the pandemic. He has never slept in a pack and play at someone else’s house, and all he knows is his crib or his cot at daycare.
As we are all vaccinated and opening our circles just a little bit more, we have started taking Noah to a couple stores and even a restaurant this past weekend. My husband and I want Noah to be able to see what the inside of a grocery store is like, or how to sit at a restaurant. We are still very cautious when doing this and pick stores that are larger and less crowded, we try and stay away from people, and choose restaurants that are less frequented (such as our neighborhood golf course restaurant).
We took our first road trip this past weekend to visit my husband’s Grandparent’s, Noah’s Great Grandparent’s, that live about an hour and fifteen minutes away.
We packed all of his snacks, lunch, water, toys, books, and my husband mounted an Amazon Fire tablet on the seatback for Noah to watch a favorite show in case he got grumpy. I was so focused on making sure that we had Noah all set, that I forgot my own water for the ride, and I was soo thirsty.
Taking our first road trip was both exciting and terrifying. I was excited to see Noah’s Great Grandparent’s, but I was anxious about the ride and how the day would unfold.
On the way there, Noah played with toys and stuffed animals for a little while and ended up falling asleep for about forty minutes. On the way home, he was a bit fussier and we put a show on the tablet for him to watch. Of course, Noah fell asleep fifteen minutes from home. My husband was able to take him out of the car, take off his sweatshirt, and put him in his crib for a nap. He only fussed for a few seconds and passed right back out.
As a blind Mom, the difficult part is when we are anywhere but our own house. Yes, I understand that I cannot drive, so my husband and I are unable to take turns sitting with Noah if he needed us to, but there is more to my anxiety or fear than the car rides.
After you read this blog, close your eyes, and try to picture what I am describing or how it might feel. I am in no way looking for pity but only asking you to think outside of the box and explain my daily struggles.
In our house, we have gates set up so that Noah cannot go up or down the stairs. We have all of the outlets covered, bathroom doors are shut, and cabinets are locked or unsafe items are relocated to higher cupboards.
Changing stations are ready to go with all of the necessities, food or pouches are labeled with braille and are in their specific spots in the refrigerator or freezer, and bowls/plates/utensils are located with ease.
Clothes are in their drawers or in the closet, books are in cloth bins, and I know how to work our television remotes to put on one of his favorite shows.
The floor is vacuumed often so Noah cannot put items in his mouth, lamps are secure or out of reach, and I know where everything is in terms of furniture.
I am able to sit on the couch or at the kitchen table and know that even if Noah is in the other room, he is most likely playing with toys or reading books, and not getting into anything that he shouldn’t be.
When at someone else’s house or even at a park, the situation is completely different.
I think of it as my senses are constantly on over drive and it is physically and mentally exhausting. I do my best to take a deep breath and stay calm because I want Noah to explore, be adventurous and I don’t want to be touching him at all times. I do not want to be a helicopter Mom and I never ever want to hold him back.
I feel as if my independence is stripped and my ability to be a mother is put on pause. I want to be able to see Noah if he is getting into something that he is not supposed to, such as cat food at my sister’s house. I want to be able to use a microwave at a friend’s house to heat up his lunch and not ask for help. I want to relax and sit on a deck chair without worrying constantly about Noah and if he is going to fall down the steps. I want to be able to keep him safe from outlets or drawers with sharp or unsafe objects in them. These are all of the things that every parent worries about, but times ten.
I am beyond grateful and lucky that I have family and friends who take on the role of a parent when we are together, but it is still an internal struggle that I am not able to do these things myself.
Like everything else in life, I need to just figure it out, rely on others and teach Noah right from wrong, so that when we are not home, he treats it as if we are at home.
No matter what, there will always be challenges and struggles. Finding ways to positively overcome these struggles is what makes us successful.