March 19, 2016

Off the Clock

We had the storm behind us and sunshine ahead of us and time on our side.

That was the most refreshing part.


Our time, on our terms.

I get exhausted by the tight clock we live on.  It starts at the 0:dark thirty hour we have to get up for the laborious effort to get Bridger ready and is dictated by the final evening hour that his medication must be administered.  The clock is ruled by bus times, by doctor appointments, by meal times, by activity times.  My husband's time is dictated in 7 minute increments for which he is accountable and I am mindful every time I call him at work of how many of those 7 minute increments I take up.  I time our phone conversations to be 6 minutes and 59 seconds.  

We all live on a clock, and that clock gets pretty bossy sometimes.

The luxury of a our spontaneous getaway was that we didn't tell the clock we were going.  We didn't pack it and we didn't let it follow us.  We left the clock at home.

The only requirements of our time was that I knew we would have to eat. . . at some point.  I knew that we would have to sleep. . . at some point.  And I knew that I would have to change Bridger's diaper. . . at many points.

It felt incredibly liberating.

We dilly dallied our way down to Orlando.

When we saw the Hot light on as we passed a roadside Krispy Kreme, we stopped for a break. When we decided that the boys were looking a little shaggy, we stopped at a barber.  When we stopped at the hotel for the night, we requested a late check out and lingered as long as we wanted the next morning.  We stopped en route to Orlando at the charming city of St. Augustine and wandered, off the clock, until we felt inclined to continue driving.

Upon arriving in St. Augustine, we checked into a hotel and gathered around the little coffee table in our room for a picnic of Subway sandwiches.  The excitement was still palpable.  We were having a great adventure.  The hotel lobby greeted us with an eclectic pirate shell lady inviting us for some family crafts -- which is another word for a heap of junk that the kids would think was the most valuable treasure, not to be parted with until it became confetti all over the floor of the van.  But when there is no clock, why not go hang out in the lobby with a table full of shells, dollar store trinkets and a glue gun.

He called it his "masterpiece" and it survived for several days in the car.

That was an especially exciting night for the older kids, as the hotel didn't have adjoining rooms, so Lance, Eva and Bridger had a room all to themselves.  Because of lessons Lance has learned in our Special life, in many ways he is 14 going on 24 and assumes the responsibility of such.  The thought of being the "man of the room" brought out his responsible side (much to my relief).  He sets up Bridger's special needs bed and helps get him ready for bed, he even can administer the meds via g-tube and takes care of his feeding needs.  I checked on them often and tucked them in.  They exercised their independence by turning the lights down low for Bridger to sleep and reading late into the night.


In St. Augustine we toured the Alligator Farm. Some animals didn't like Ty, and Ty didn't like some animals.  Ty wanted to jump in and play with the exotic birds and whined to get on the other side of the glass window.  In the next moment he looked like he was going to lose his breakfast when he had to walk over the boardwalk suspended above the pond swarming with gators eagerly waiting the food pellets we were throwing at them.

Even though Ty couldn't see them it was obvious that he still had a very keen sense of smell.  And he was not keen on what he was smelling.

When Ty feels uneasy, he is sure that Bridger must be feeling the same way.  So he comforts and loves - whether needed or not.

When we had had our fill of the gators, we looked up the best eats in St. Augustine, according to Trip Advisor {insert my love for Trip Advisor} which led us to the north end of town to a food truck.  We dined on fresh shrimp Po' Boys and shrimp bisque soup.  Eliza was in heaven. I am pretty sure her face was just about to melt into her bowl with every scrumptious spoonful.  

Trip Advisor then led us to a delicious Liege waffle shop tucked into the center of town. Not a very handicap accessible center of town, so I found myself an undersized parking space for my oversized van and sat there with Bridger in the van and gave the older kids $20 and told them to come back with whatever looked good.  They excitedly took on their assignment and returned to the car with a sampling of treats that we all enjoyed.  We drove around the historic Fort Mantanzas National Monument and finally decided Orlando was calling.

Bridger was a champ.  For a boy whose functional state requires structure, he was letting his love of novelty and excitement dominate his emotions and was such a delight.

We drove on,

on our terms,

according to our whims.

Off the clock.