As I wrote about in my last post, it’s amazing the difference that a year makes.
Last summer, the three of us were pretty much strangers, trying to figure each other out and get a handle on our new roles. While John was at work all day, I was DJ’s primary playmate. He refused to meet any of the neighborhood kids. My attempts to establish any semblance of a routine were met with anxiety or anger or both. He didn’t want to go the pool or read or play board games–all of the the things that I enjoyed as a kid. Instead of being the fun and carefree summer that I had planned, most days left me feeling drained emotionally and physically.
Of course, his behavior made perfect sense considering everything that he must’ve been feeling during those early months. His reluctance to make new friends an obvious attempt to protect himself from the inevitable goodbyes that would have to be made when he left for yet another new house. His refusal to try new things most likely the result of him struggling to adjust to his move across the country from everyone and everything he had ever known. The urban landscape intensifying his feelings of being a foreigner in a strange land. How lost and frightened he must’ve felt some days despite our best efforts to welcome him into our lives.
Not that everything is perfect now, but this summer is much more what I had envisioned when DJ first came to us last June: days at the pool, reading together on the couch, going to Kennywood (yes, I splurged on a season pass for DJ and me), the occasional craft or art activity, and even some summer learning.
One of the highlights of the summer has been our first family vacation. We tried to keep it pretty basic and resisted the urge to plan some grand trip to Disney World or the like. DJ is still prone to at least one meltdown a day, especially when things are out of our routine so a really elaborate vacation just didn’t make sense.
Instead, we drove about two hours away to Presque Isle, off of Lake Erie. My sister and her husband very kindly allowed us to bring our niece, who is DJ’s age, along for the trip. I’m so thankful we did because she was a great companion.
So without further ado, here are some pics from our very first family vacation.
The hotel pool was a big hit with the kids.