Journal Entry: Tue Aug 26, 2014, 9:42 AM
Welp, on Friday I'm going in for a whole afternoon of fun retaking the GRE, but then on Saturday my family's headed south.
We're stopping in the Chattanooga region in Tennessee for the night, and then the next day we'll be in Florida! Gonna see Disney's Magic Kingdom, Wizarding World at Universal Orlando, and we'll get to see family while we're down there!!
This is a HUGE victory lap for all of us. I may not have mentioned it before, but my brother recently had spinal fusion surgery to correct some really bad scoliosis (curve of 83-- breathing problems start at 90 and it never gets better, only worse over time). We're talking about a severely autistic, nonverbal kid who until this summer, has never had a blood sample taken, never had an IV, did not go under at all the last time he had anesthesia with the highest legal dose, doesn't know what the heck is going on, and cannot be reasoned with when scared. But he completely defied our expectations over the past few months, between staying out the whole time for the surgery, a quick recovery that saw him back home from the Chicago hospital suite within a week, sutures healing up overall properly, and a positive attitude through it all.
A few years ago, we would have never thought it possible. His OCD was at its absolute worst, he wasn't sleeping at night, got upset over everything because he couldn't break out of an OCD snap, and no matter what we tried there seemed to be no calming him down or cheering him up. Those were the "Three Years of Darkness" as my parents started calling them. (It was during this time that we had the notorious Deer Accident during a road trip to New Jersey.)
His condition has not allowed us to take an actual family vacation for the sole purpose of having fun, EVER. Sure we take a trip over to NJ every other year, but it's really just to see relatives, go to reunions, etc. etc. We have had to word insanely hard over his sixteen years of living just to get him to walk outside, get out of the house, sit down at a restaurant, or see people at a family gathering. It is only now at this point that a trip to Disney is even possible.
And man, are we ever ready for this!! Daniel absolutely loves loves, loves Disney, plays lots of the movies more than once a day (he's particularly fond of Ariel and a couple other princesses, plus Monsters Inc., Pooh, Nemo, Mickey and a few others). For well over a month, probably even before I returned from Stone Lab, we've been playing the Disney channel on Pandora, and now everyone's got those songs stuck in our heads. Even my dad can't get the songs from Frozen or Little Mermaid out of his head!!
There will be a couple small state parks on the way there and back, and I'm hoping to get at least a little birding time in. A little deflated that we can't fit Great Smoky Mountains National Park into our schedule (over 100 miles from our rest stop = 2+ hr. drive each way), but there's a good chance we'll see amazing wildlife since we're in the same area. Primaries crossed that I see a red-cockaded woodpecker, an endangered species found in the south, including southern Tennessee!
It's pretty obvious to me that the Holy Spirit of God has been working in and out of all these years. We are emerging victorious from the time of darkness, and since this is my last summer as an undergrad student, the timing could not be more perfect. We have every reason to thank God and put our trust in Him even more given the way He has made good come from the bad with this whole autism situation.
I'm halfway done with the remainder of the next 'Clans' pages, and I'm hoping to upload them all at once before we go, so no one's left hanging. Bit of a challenge since they would have to be completely done before Friday because of the GRE, but we'll see what happens.
Hope those of you who started school are doing well, and for anyone who has yet to start school, good luck!!