“Do you like Cheez Its?”
I picked up a pair of scissors to puncture a plastic bag, then turned around to look at Declan’s serious, yet inquisitive face.
“Umm, yes. Yes, I like Cheez Its.”
“Guess what I had for breakfast when I had my sleepover?”
Declan looked down at his device to start a new game of Red Ball.
“Cheez its?” I ventured.
“No,” Declan firmly stated and looked back up at me. “I had icing off a piece of cake.”
“Oh. Was it one of Poppy’s pieces from the freezer in the garage?” One of the places I know my dad stores his extra goodies for his Saturday morning treat to eat while he indulges in his other Saturday morning favorite: Westerns on TV.
“No. Your mother gave it to me.”
“Oh. So, Ninny gave you cake.”
“Yep!” Declan hollered and cantered out of the room to rejoin his game of Red Ball.
We had a first this weekend!
DECLAN’S FIRST SLEEP OVER!
Declan has seen Catelyn go to sleep over with my parents, Ninny and Poppy, on numerous occasions. Lately he had started to ask, “When can I go for a sleep over, too?”
So, my mom and I sat and we talked and we planned.
For my husband and I, getting out is extremely difficult. At least 5 times a year we are invited to a party, or some get together and he will go alone or with the big kids, while I stay at home and watch Declan.
This past year we were invited to a party and we found a friend who is a special needs teacher by day. She was more than willing to come and sit with the kids while I went and said hello at the party and left alone and hour later.
This is a huge step, though. You must remember that Declan was banned from the children’s Sunday school at our last church when he was 2 ½. Two years later, and a lot of progress later, Declan was still not allowed to return to the Sunday school, even with an aide.
For years he was extremely aggressive towards his peers. And at home he had to be monitored every minute as he was also a danger to himself. Declan processed information slower and differently. It was hard to communicate with him. Babysitters were just hard to come by.
And then the day finally came. Declan was ready. My parents were ready. My husband and I were ready.
We were going to give it a try!
On Saturday morning at 5 AM Declan woke me up. I was startled awake and jumped when I opened my eyes to see his eye an inch away.
“Oh good,” he said, “Your eyes are open.”
After a few seconds, I realized Declan was super excited, and that sleep was done for me. So, I got up and started my day.
He talked about it all morning. He stood and waited by the window for Poppy’s car to come pick him up. At 8AM, Declan asked me to just drop him off at their house.
And not just him, it was planned that Bobby would go along to help Ninny and Poppy with Declan. Which, Bobby happily agreed to.
Poppy finally arrived at 12 Noon and Declan and Bobby were off.
Their day was filled with fun family time. Declan got to eat McDonald’s and pizza. I had packed all his favorite snacks and fruit to eat while he watched his you tube videos on his packed computer. And in all his excitement, the melatonin had little effect at night, so he spent the hours from 1-5 in the morning talking to Ninny about the soon to be rising sun. Then Declan went to my parent’s church, with Bobby as his classroom aid. And he had a great time.
My husband and I saw a movie. It was the first time we were out together in four years. The movie was bad, but it wasn’t about the movie. We had time to ourselves.
The time was short, but enjoyable. We picked up Catelyn and took her out to dinner, to the arcade and to play miniature golf.
When we were out we made note – there was no screaming, there was no chasing through parking lots, there was no bargaining, there was no stress. We moved from one activity to another. It was peaceful.
And for the first time in forever, I slept until 7:30AM.
For years I had cried under such stress, asking, “when is this going to end?”
It’s not ending, but things are easier. Declan was ready for a first. My parents were ready, and Lord knows, my husband and I were ready. And everyone had a great time.
And I can’t wait to do it again!