familypic
 
JessPlusMess

Limited Edition

Autographed Copy

Sunlight Burning at Midnight a memoir by Jessica Ronne

 

Subscribe to Blog

Your Name:
Your Email:

Search

Just some random, irrelevant, humorous, and hopefully inspiring musings on life, love, faith, widowhood, remarriage, adoption, blended families, caring for a handicapped child, mothering seven children, chickens, cooking, grief, over-coming grief, and everything else in between. Just Keep Livin!!

Part Two of Worst Travel Companion Ever...

  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Subscribe to this entry
  • Print

We made it home with spackle and partial sanity in hand where we eagerly awaited our departure for the airport at 1:00. Once at the airport, I was pleased to discover that there were a few unexpected perks to traveling with a special needs child, the main perk being that I was invited to the front of the line for everything. Boarding passes, pat downs, and first in line to board the plane (which really wasn’t such a great perk I discovered once it was too late and we were comfortably seated within the confines of the plane). After my pat down, they passed on Luke deciding instead to swipe his hands with a cotton swap type thing which was met with a big smile and multiple head turns, his way of saying there was something very entertaining about this action. We easily found our gate, glanced around, and discovered two open seats in the far corner of the room. Hastily walking towards them, I tried desperately to keep Luke’s long, curious appendages at bay as we passed numerous onlookers. He has a tendency to reach out and grab anything or anyone that may hold the slightest bit of interest, especially if he happens to notice something worthy of going in his mouth, when suddenly I heard, LUCAS!!. I turned in the general direction of the voice, surprised to find that someone actually knew Luke in the airport. It turned out to be the speech therapist from his school! What a blessing, to end up sitting right next to not only someone who worked at a special needs school and would be extremely comfortable with a child like him, but someone who actually knew Luke and his odd tendencies! Thank you Lord I thought as I settled in for about 5 minutes getting comfortable with our surroundings and hoping that Luke would do the same.

airport1Luke hanging out

I began to relax the muscles in my body, breath slowly exiting my lungs as I exhaled, enjoying the peace of the moment and then it started…he began growing restless, flailing his arms, extending his legs above his head (the child is incredibly flexible), and saying, MORE!, MORE!!, MORE!!! as loudly as possible. Generally when he says this, and there’s nothing that he’s receiving in the moment, he is in fact saying, “I’m bored and unless you soothe my boredom in the next 2 seconds, I will in fact provide your environment with such a display of discontentment that you will wish that the Lord himself would return in all of His mighty glory and splendor to transport you immediately out of your current condition.” At least that’s what I imagine goes through his thought process. Out came the gigantic bag of popcorn I brought, my recent nighttime craving of Skinny Pop that I had noticed immediately before our departure and thought, that will make a clean, non - filling snack for Luke (and me) throughout the day. I began dishing it out to his eager, outreached hands, one kernel at a time, hoping to make it last throughout the duration of our day.

airport2SkinnyPop - hopefully the cure for all ailments...

It kept his interest for about 20 minutes and then I heard the welcoming beckon of, “Those who need additional assistance are now welcome to board.” Yay for having a disabled travel companion - we were officially Tennessee bound! I wheeled Luke up to the plane entrance to be assisted by two extremely helpful flight attendants who not only took all of my luggage and bags, but the pilot also came out and personally offered to fold up his wheelchair. I was extremely impressed with the customer service I received in Grand Rapids. Chicago would turn out to be a different story. Luke and I settled into our seats in the exit row, a wonderful perk because he was unable to bother anyone in front of him. He was fascinated by his new surroundings and was actually very entertained by the fact that he could lift the window shade up and down, over and over again, almost in effect creating his own movie by watching the comings and goings of the crew down below. The first 5 minutes this seemed to entertain him and then as quickly as it began he was over it. ALL DONE, ALL DONE, ALL DONE!! I won’t type that out as many times as he vocalized it because I’m sure you have better things to do with your day, but he probably said it about 500 times in the next 20 minutes as I sat there wincing, grimacing, gritting my teeth and praying, “Lord, please make him mute as you did to Zechariah for his disbelief, Jesus please seal his lips, just for today!” No matter how hard I mustered my faith for the miraculous to occur, the Lord did not grant my wish. Instead I received a lesson, once again, in patience and not growing weary in running my race.  The plane’s engine started to rev and my sweaty palms took hold of Luke’s shoulders as we braced for take - off. We were air bound and to my absolute amazement, he acted like any other little boy, eyes wide with wonderment basking in all the whirls, clanks, and swishes that go along with a plane taking off!

airport3waiting for departure

All in all the 30 minute flight to Chicago was a huge success. I didn’t have to resort to using my laptop nor the numerous Veggei Tales DVDs I had packed; the experience was enough to tickle his fancy for the duration of the journey. Once we landed we waited until the very end to depart having an hour to spare before our next flight, or so I thought we had an hour to spare. We arrived at our next gate with about 35 minutes until our flight to Nashville only to discover that we would be delayed an additional hour. Not necessarily the worst case scenario in the scheme of all of the scenarios in the whole wide world, but I knew Luke would get extremely antsy before the end of it all and antsy actually became a bit of an understatement.  We went through the popcorn, and we tried to watch movies which he was not interested in instead his curiosity peeked by all of the buttons on my laptop which he then attempted to destroy by clobbering them with his long, saliva/salt drenched finger tips. We tried going for a walk, which was met with numerous stare downs from strangers, we went potty, in the ladies handicapped stall which was just really, really interesting, we tried gum, something Luke has never had before and was mesmerizing for him, we sang every single song I could think of, we played patty cake, we played patty cake with our feet, which he found highly entertaining, we met some nice new friends, and finally we drank lots and lots of apple juice which would prove to be very problematic in the next few hours.

airport4Watching Veggie Tales

FINALLY, we were called to board. I got in line, handed over my boarding pass and proceeded to run down the aisle onto the awaiting plane. I stopped dead in my tracks at the entrance to the plane, surveying my four bags and eight year old child in a wheelchair that I had to somehow get on a plane to Nashville. I hesitantly left Luke at the entrance and boarded the plane, hoping to find someone who would be able to assist me. I found a flight attendant folding blankets and asked her if she could possibly help with my bags freeing up my arms to carry my son onto the plane. She responded, “That’s not my job, you should have asked someone before you boarded.” I’ll omit the response that my subconscious replied, it wasn’t very Christ like, and the conscious me said, “Then I’ll need to leave my son at the entrance of the plane so that I can carry my bags and then I’ll have to go back and get him.” She replied, “Fine, I guess I can carry your bags if you can get your son.”

I smiled through gritted teeth as we loaded baggage and child. The plane was boarded, Luke was beyond over this day, and we still had about an hour in the air. I tried all of the old stand bys, movies, singing, hissing under my breath, more gum, more popcorn, more juice, and many, many, many prayers. The flight attendant filled Luke’s sippy cup initially with juice and every time she walked by from there on out, in his mind she was the juice distributor, and he would yell out, “MORE, MORE, MORE” and it was about the only thing that made the hollering subside for a bit so I kept allowing him to have more and more juice. About 10 minutes before landing, the point where I was literally counting one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand in my head, I smelled something - something pretty stank and nasty, something sitting really close to me, like probably right next to me. I lifted Luke’s bottom up, patted him down with my hand which lurched away when it discovered not only a sopping wet little boy, but also a sopping wet airplane chair, urine soaking through his shorts and half way up his shirt. The apple juice idea had obviously backfired on me. I did what any mother would have done in that moment, I pretended like absolutely nothing was wrong. I placed him back down upon the urine soaked seat and did my best to entertain him to the point where he didn’t notice how wet he was for the remainder of the flight.

We landed, I sang a hallelujah under my breath, and we proceeded to wait until every single last person was off that plane and then I, very carefully and discreetly, lifted him up out of his seat, having him walk very swiftly in front of me while I stayed plastered as closely as possible to his backside in hopes of avoiding any additional questions or onlookers inquiries about the wretched urine smell emanating from this child. I managed to put him in his wheelchair, loaded my back up like a mule with our luggage, and found the absolute nearest bathroom possible where I undressed him, diapered him, and put his pj’s on for the night. I was exhausted at this point, near tears, so emotionally and physically drained from the day but happy that we had finally made it. I called Ryan who was supposed to be out front waiting for our arrival, and while we connected, he had to quickly inform me that his phone was dying and he couldn’t talk long. I headed towards what I thought was the entrance, by the rental cars and hotel vans, and he headed towards where he thought he would pick me up, a floor above, by the baggage claim, and Luke just screamed and screamed. He was tired, being in a different time zone, he was hungry, having only had popcorn for most of the day, and he was just sick of it all and as he screamed and as my husband called wondering where I was, and as my phone started dying as well, my sanity officially crumbled, and I just started crying, in the middle of the airport, tears welling in the corners of my eyes as I couldn’t find my husband, as my child kept screaming, as my back was killing me from being a mule all day, and as it seemed like everyone in the whole airport was staring at me. I turned to the first person I found, a gentleman, and asked, do you know where the baggage claim is? Come to find out he didn’t speak English but he did understand the word “baggage” and he pointed towards the elevator telling me to go up. I thanked him and headed up where I immediately saw Caleb and Tate running back and forth trying to find their mom and brother. I exhaled, we had been found.

Once safely in the car we headed home, 90 miles away where Luke fell fast sleep. Upon our arrival at 11:00 p.m., I gently lifted him from the backseat and placed him in his familiar bed in his new room. He never stirred and in fact slept all night long and into half the morning the following day, finally awaking at 10:00 happy as can be. And that’s how Luke and I officially made the move to our new home, a sign of new beginnings and peace, in the hills of Tennessee.

Just keep livin!!

Tagged in: life special needs
  • Guest
    Mary Burt Monday, July 29, 2013

    I swear you are the STRONGEST woman I Know!!! Continued prayers for you!!!

  • Please login first in order for you to submit comments

Latest Blogs

Adored {and a giveaway!}
Another book review coming from Mabel Grace. She really enjoys the spotlight (shocking, I know), and loves participating in these reviews on mom’s blog. Lindsay Franklin’s Adored devotional book for young women, was another perfect opportunity for her to showcase how relevant these books are for a young women like herself.     Hi, my name is Mabel. I am here to tell you about an amazing book that helped me with a few things that I am not very good at, well actually not at all. What I mean is that I am not good with patience. The book that I am talking to you about is called Ado...
Continue Reading...
Pizza Dough Tutorial {for a good hearty dough and a good hearty laugh!}
This past Sunday morning, a morning draped in hazy weariness due to the time change the night before, a morning where all the Ronnes were moving just a tad bit slower than usual, a morning like so many of our Sunday mornings where we gather around the table to eat cinnamon rolls, and drink coffee, and I make pizza dough for our traditional Sunday night pizza party.  A morning where I stood in the kitchen at around 10:00 am and realized my house was eerily quiet.   I glanced outside and noticed a few children playing.  I peeked down the stairwell and into the basement where I h...
Continue Reading...
Seeking Simplicity One Seed at a Time {and a giveaway!}
In the last post I detailed my acknowledgement of a social media addiction and the specific steps I have been taking to clear my head.  As these tangible steps have been put into practice, I’ve noticed a fogginess lifting.  I used to contribute the airheadedness (for lack of a better word) to the fact that I have 8 children, and I’m sure this does play a small role, but I do believe social media anxiety has also played a significant role.  Now that my head is clear(er), I find I have time to reinvest in hobbies I haven’t had time for in months or maybe years – such as reading re...
Continue Reading...
Computers, Tablets, Phones OH MY! Help for the addiction.
As a newbie writer I’m repeatedly told that no one will ever read my words if I don’t have a platform, but as a person, I’m not really into the platform concept!  I’m extremely introverted. I get all bunched up in knots if someone doesn’t agree with me or like me anymore.  I don’t so much mind sharing pieces of my life with the world, but I do mind when strangers begin to throw rocks at my words or my family because they don’t agree with something or they are simply in a pattern of self loathing and decide to take it out on me. I do participate in the online world in a pretty large...
Continue Reading...
Love and Loss {And a Giveaway!]
The baby remains absent And grandma starts chemotherapy And the “C” word enters our children’s vocabulary once again Along with the “D” word in regards to their unknown sibling And our eyes spill in response to their tears And children still starve And that woman still aches for a loving spouse And girls are raped again and again And that is the reality of what we call life. And that is why our hearts ache for something purer And bigger And more beautiful We ache for more We need more We yearn for a hereafter Where all the pain is gone And every tear is wiped from our eyes Our hearts screa...
Continue Reading...
PIZZA PARTY!
Anyway…  I needed to do some soul searching due to the information bombardment and what I felt like it was doing to my soul as it was not only sucking me dry mentally, spiritually, and emotionally, it was depriving my family of me – present, engaged, fully in tune me – which isn’t good.  It’s not good for me, and it’s not good for you either. I took stock as I so often do.  I thought about how the information was feeling overwhelming and causing me to be anxious about life which in reality I really shouldn’t be anxious about because we’re all good. We’re healthy thriving peopl...
Continue Reading...
Follow Your Heart {And a Giveaway!}
I have four beautiful daughters ranging in age from 12 on down to 2: Mya, Mabel, Jada, and Annabelle.  Four hearts that I’ve been entrusted to nurture and care for. Four young ladies with strong wills and lots of estrogen. On the one hand, I love having four daughters.  I love watching them learn life skills and grow into their own personalities. I love crafting together and thinking about our future adventures when they’re grown; meeting up somewhere fun to shop till we drop or Ryan and I watching the grandbabies for the weekend so that they can get away with their husbands - goofy...
Continue Reading...
Brave and Beautiful.
One of the best aspects of being a blogger (even a very part time blogger) are the opportunities I have to review new book releases, and I am so excited about this recent opportunity to review Brave Beauty a devotional by Lynn Cowell; a beautiful inspirational book for the young girl in your life.  Brave Beauty encourages spiritual truths that girls of all ages need to hear and be reminded of on a consistent basis. Truths such as the appeal of inner beauty, boldly living your faith, being a friend to those in need, and putting your trust in God. Cowell gently guides the reader, chapter b...
Continue Reading...
Hope Prevails
I walked into the ultrasound room and felt the complete absence of warmth. No beauty relieved the coldness, no picture of a mother holding a child or a sunset over the water. Nothing to remind those who nervously waited of the potential for joy within the world. A large, heavyset woman poked with her stubby fingers at my thin, slightly rounded body. As the silence continued to descend, the air thick­ened with unspoken thoughts. I looked at this doctor, the expert I had been sent to, repeatedly trying to catch her eye, to shake her unmovable countenance. I wanted to see a glimpse of understandi...
Continue Reading...
Mother's Day Sale and Interview
Just a few items for consideration as you go about your week.   First - In honor of all of the wonderful mothers, grandmothers, and motherly figures in the world, I'm offering a Buy One / Get One 1/2 off sale on all autographed copies of Sunlight Burning at Midnight ordered here on the blog and also at Facebook/jessplusthemess.  It's the perfect time to buy one for yourself and then gift another to that special someone in your life. This sale will be honored all the way through to Mother's Day - May 14.  If you'd like the books sent to different ad...
Continue Reading...