We've been in Florida now for 10 days and I FINALLY have time to sit down and write. It has been a long, exhausting, sickly, good time down here in the sunshine state.
First of all I would like to give a shout out to my boy Jacky Jack. He was totally amazing on the plane ride down. After getting him up at 4:30 a.m., putting him through security, flying 2 hours to Denver, a long, boring 3 ½ hour layover, another 4 hour flight to Orlando, rental car pickup, and 1 ½ hour drive to Vero Beach, the kid had every reason in the book to have numerous meltdowns. But he didn't. It was such a wonderful shock considering that he has spent the last month in misery trying to get his last two second molars in. Instead of having one of the worst days of our lives, we had a relatively easy day of travel. For the first time Jackson was able to actually sit up in his seat (he even had his seat belt on) so we were able to put the Ipad on the tray table, put on his favorite cartoon (Dinosaur Train), feed him and fly toward our destination. The only down side is that he has gotten so big it was hard for him to get comfortable and lay down between us for a nap. For not having a nap all day, he was amazing! We arrived at the grandparents house exhausted but overly pleased.
Two days later we woke up to Jackson's screams. When I rolled over to comfort him, he was on fire. Kevin got all his clothes off and ran him outside while I gave him ibuprofen and got him some cold water. We then brought him in and took his temperature – 103.5! We took his diaper off and let him roll around naked and I began taking his temperature every ½ hour. Jackson fought the fever for about 24 hours reaching a high temperature of 103.7. We obviously knew he was fighting off something but had no idea it was about to attack us all. Before we knew it Jackson wasn't the only sick one, his mom, dad, and grandpa all fell victim to the cold virus. For the most part Jackson has been in pretty happy spirits. But we did have one night when Jackson would not go to sleep. He began screaming around midnight and nothing worked to comfort him. Around 2 a.m. I was at my wit's end. I knew something was wrong with him but I didn't know what and I was ready to go to the emergency room. We tried feeding him before we left thinking maybe he was just hungry. He didn't really seem interested in the food and threw most of it up. So we packed up and headed for the hospital at 2:30 a.m. Once we got in the car Jackson stopped crying and relaxed. By the time we got to the hospital he was fine again. We opted to not go in but head back home and see if he would sleep. Sure enough he did. We never figured out what was wrong, maybe he just wanted to see what it was like to drive around in the middle of the night. In case you were wondering, it's a ghost town at 2:30 a.m. in Vero Beach, Florida.
Despite being sick and tired for the last 10 days, we've also had our highs. Spending time with Kevin's parents has been one of them. They absolutely adore Jackson and just having him in their house makes them smile with joy, which is priceless. Jackson's high has been going for walks on the beach. He LOVES the ocean and is so happy when we go there. Yesterday was particularly windy and if you know Jackson, you know he loves the wind. He was so excited he couldn't hold still and I thought he was going to lunge himself out of the stroller from his wiggling with joy. It's these little weird quirks about Jackson that just make me laugh and make me realize how lucky we are to have a different kind of child. I've had a few highs myself. I almost cried for joy yesterday when I caught a glimpse into Jackson's mouth and saw the last two molars had poked through. It was a Christmas miracle! I had a feeling they may have poked through as Jackson has gone back to being pretty happy and wanting to cuddle up with me again. He hasn't been very lovey dovey towards me for the last month because I think he has sensed my frustration and rattled nerves with the teething. But my biggest high has been that Jackson has acted happy to see me on a few occasions. This is something that he has pretty much only done with Kevin. The other day on the beach Kevin was pushing him in the stroller and I ran up to the side of the stroller and said “Hi Jackson!” He turned towards me, smiled, wiggled a little and reached out for me. That was the first time he ever did that. It was beautiful!
Another high is being around Kevin's family. Kevin has an aunt (who lives one house down from his parents) and 4 cousins who live here in Florida. They all get together at Christmas and last night we went over to see them. It's so heartwarming to me to see all of these people love my son so much. It seems to me like it is a different kind of love they have for Jackson, a very special kind. They never look at him like he is different, they are all interested in his progress and development, they want to be around him and last night showered him with wonderful Christmas presents. I think if Jackson was your neurotypical child he would not mean so much to people. My special son is certainly a special gift.
Hmmm it appears that I have more highs than lows. When I sat down to write I was sure I had more lows than highs. It's amazing what happens when you start focusing on the good things. I suppose on this Christmas day when I am missing my Dad pretty bad that maybe I should focus on the highs. Maybe we all should. Merry Christmas everyone!
On a side note for those of you who read my blog and have a disabled child, if you are flying on Southwest airlines, go up to the counter before boarding and tell them your child has special needs they will hand you a blue boarding pass. This little blue boarding pass allows you to board the plane first before all the other passengers. It was wonderful getting the seats in the front for a change!