We are really lucky. In the last few months life has gotten a bit easier. Asher and Abby Kate are rocking school and Amelia’s ABA therapy has really started making a difference in how she interacts with the world around her. If you take out me breaking my leg, life would have been pretty amazing and even with the broken leg it has still been so much better than life was this time last year.
One big change happened when we started receiving respite care. 40 hours a month of babysitting thanks to the US Navy almost makes up for the premature wrinkles and gray hairs the same Navy has given me over the last 9 years. Enter K, our amazing respite provider. I knew when I talked to her on the phone the first time that it was going to be a fit and my kids freaking adore her. I thought I would feel guilty leaving them to go do my own thing, but they’re more excited than I am to have K time, which makes dates even more enjoyable.
Today was my first day using respite time to do my own thing instead of going out on a date. Husband is on duty which means he works overnight so I thought it would be a good time to have some me time and do some studying.
There is no fear quite like when the phone rings and it’s the babysitter. We text back and forth most of the time, this was actually the first time she ever called me when I was away from the house. My heart was racing.
“Don’t panic, everything is okay”
K is a mom, she knows I was panicking from the moment her name popped up on the phone.
“What happened?” because I knew she wouldn’t call if it wasn’t a big deal.
“Amelia figured out the locks on the door. I was sitting at the table playing with Asher and Abby Kate and she went and very quietly got a toy to stand on and unlocked all the locks. She was so quiet but Winnie started freaking out so I got up and she was on the front porch getting the package that had been delivered. Winnie was right with her and barking for me.”
She had only gotten up from the table a minute before.
I couldn’t help it, even knowing it was all okay, I started crying.
What if Winnie hadn’t been with her? What if she didn’t just want to get the package? What if K wasn’t so on top of it and didn’t get up right away?
What if…. What if….
I thought 3 locks were enough. I thought it was high enough for her not to reach it standing on anything less than a chair (which I would notice if she was dragging through the house). She’s never been too interested in elopement, so I thought we were safe. The only time before today she’s wanted to go outside was when Daddy was out there and she wanted Daddy. Now? Now I “What if”. I also went and bought a child lock for the handle and one of those magnet alarms that screams when the door/window/whatever is opened. It’s even got a 4 digit code so she can’t mess with it without it going off.
I know that all parents “What if” but I never have done it with my two neurotypical kids the way I have since I had my little neurodiverse girl. I “What if” everything I do, because deep down I “What if” if God knew what He was doing when He gave her to me.
At least tonight I know the answer to “What if she manages to get through the child lock on the knob and all three of the other locks?” is that there will be 120 decibels to let me know… and a dog named Winnie.